Sunderland born centre half Alf Young began his football career with Sunderland West End in 1925 and joined Durham City as an amateur spending the first half of 1926-27 on their books without making a first team appearance. First Division Huddersfield Town signed Young, alongside Robert Cowan, as professionals, on 24th January 1927 and he made his Football League debut against Birmingham in January 1930. By January 1931 he was a first team regular and he went on to become club captain and the very definition of a stalwart, playing for Huddersfield throughout the 1930’s until the abandonment of peacetime football due to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.
He played for England nine times between his debut in a 0-0 draw with Wales at The Racecourse Ground Wrexham in November 1932 and his final appearance, also against Wales, in a 4-2 defeat at Ninian Park in October 1938, including playing in the infamous 6-3 “Nazi Salute” win against Germany in Berlin in May 1938. he also made two appearances for The Football League, playing against The Scottish League in a 2-2 draw in Glasgow in October 1935, and in a 3-0 win over The Irish League at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool in October 1937.
He led Huddersfield Town to the 1938 FA Cup Final, however for the third time in a decade The Terriers lost at the Wembley showpiece, going down 1-0 to Preston North End in the Final. The following season they reached the FA Cup semi final, only to lose to eventual winners Portsmouth at Highbury. The advent of the Second World War, by when he had scored 6 goals in 317 appearances for Huddersfield Town, significantly reduced his career. During the War he guested for Tranmere Rovers in early 1941 and then he represented The RAF later in the year and in 1942. He was a guest for Rochdale in 1944. He was transferred to York City on 24th November 1945. After captaining the side in 5 FA Cup ties during the 1945-46 tournament, he retired in 1946 before the resumption of League football.
After his playing retirement he turned his hand to coaching in Denmark between 1946 and 1948, with Køge Bk and Sk Brann. He was then appointed as a coach back at Huddersfield Town in July 1948 until his resignation on 28th May 1952. Young applied for the Barnsley manager’s vacancy, but he proved unsuccessful. After taking time out of the game, he returned to Denmark, as caretaker manager of the National team for one match, against Republic of Ireland, a World Cup qualification match, which they lost 2-1 on 3rd` October 1956, and then with Køge Bk and Esbjerg fB in 1957. He was then appointed manager at Bradford Park Avenue on 30th December 1957 but left in November 1958. He again returned to Huddersfield Town as their coach in December 1960, and later he was appointed as their Chief Scout in 1964 until his retirement in July 1965.
NB This postcard commemorates the infamous “Nazi salute” international between Germany and England in Berlin on 14th May 1938. The match had all the potential for a diplomatic incident. Sir Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador in Germany, had advised the team, through the FA Secretary, Stanley Rous, to give the Nazi salute for the betterment of Anglo-German relations, as a mark of respect, NOT nationalism. The Germans had already decided to respect the English national anthem.
The match was watched by Nazi luminaries such as Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler, up until the day before, was due to be in attendance, but he did not turn up on the day. Before the game, Sproston, during the debate about whether they should salute, famously told Stanley Matthews “I know nowt ’bout politics and t’like. All I knows is football. But t’way I see it, yon ‘Itler fella is an evil little twat”. How right he was! A reluctant England team eventually gave the Nazi salute and they then proceeded to play the Germans off the park, winning 6-3.
The players are:
Vic Woodley (top centre) – Chelsea
Bert Sproston – Leeds United
Eddie Hapgood – Arsenal
Ken Willingham – Huddersfield Town
Alf Young – Huddersfield Town
Don Welsh – Charlton Athletic
Stanley Matthews – Stoke City
Jackie Robinson – Sheffield Wednesday
Frank Broome – Aston Villa
Len Goulden – West Ham United
Cliff Bastin – Arsenal
Jackie Robinson scored twice, with Matthews, Broome, Goulden and Bastin each scoring.