Eric Webber

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Eric Webber
Personal information
Full name Eric Victor Webber
Date of birth (1919-12-22)22 December 1919
Place of birth Shoreham-by-Sea, England
Date of death 10 December 1996(1996-12-10) (aged 76)
Place of death Southampton, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Centre-half
Youth career
Fareham Town
Gosport Borough
Norwich City
1937–1938 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1938–1951 Southampton 182 (0)
1951–1956 Torquay United 149 (2)
Teams managed
1951–1965 Torquay United
1965–1970 Poole Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Eric Victor Webber (22 December 1919 – 10 December 1996) was an English footballer, playing as a centre-half, and manager.

Playing career[edit]

Early days[edit]

Although he was born at Shoreham in West Sussex, Webber's family moved into Hampshire when he was a child and he played for Fareham Senior School, before joining Fareham Town and then Gosport Borough. He had an unsuccessful trial with Portsmouth before Jim Angell recommended him to Tom Parker, the manager of Norwich City.[1] In 1937, he followed Parker to Southampton where he was initially a member of the club's nursery side, playing in the Hampshire League.

Southampton[edit]

He was quickly promoted to the Reserves where his efforts were rewarded by a professional contract in March 1939. He made one appearance in the first team on 15 April 1939 when he took the place of Stan Cutting at right-half for the match at Blackburn Rovers; the match was lost 3–0, and Ray Parkin took over at right-half for the next match.[2] Before he had the chance to establish himself in the first team, normal football was suspended following the outbreak of World War II.

During the war, he served in the R.A.F. but also managed to play wartime football for Mansfield Town and Derby County.

He returned to The Dell in 1945 and immediately became the regular centre-half, being ever-present in 1948–49 and 1949–50. Promotion was narrowly missed in 1947-48 when Saints finished in third place, a feat repeated the following season (despite having an 8 point lead with 8 games to play) whilst in 1949-50 Southampton were to be denied promotion by 0.06 of a goal, missing out on second place to Sheffield United.

In March 1948, Webber came up against George Lowrie in consecutive matches against different clubs. On 6 March, Saints won 1-0 at Coventry City; during the week Lowrie moved to Newcastle United (becoming their most expensive signing in the process), and on 13 March, Saints defeated Newcastle at The Dell 4-2. In both games, Webber marked Lowrie out of the game. Lowrie was to have "revenge" at the end of the season, however, as Newcastle took the second promotion place ahead of The Saints.[3]

According to Holley & Chalk's The Alphabet of the Saints, Webber was "an effective blocker of anything that came his way".[4] He became team captain in 1950, succeeding Bill Rochford, and his leadership qualities were soon to stand him in good stead, when he moved to Torquay as their player-manager.

He played 182 league games for Southampton, plus 10 in the FA Cup.

Torquay United[edit]

In October 1951 he left Southampton to become player-manager at Torquay United.

He continued as a player until 1955, making 149 league appearances for the Gulls.

Management career[edit]

Torquay United[edit]

In January 1955 he managed the club to an historic 4-0 win over Leeds United in the FA Cup.

In the 1956–57 season, he almost took Torquay to promotion from Division Three (South). On the final day of the season they needed to take maximum points from their game against Crystal Palace, but only managed to obtain a draw, so Ipswich Town took the only promotion place then available (on goal average). He did however lead Torquay to promotion from Division Four in 1960, Torquay finishing in 3rd place. Torquay were relegated two years later, again on the last day of the season, but Webber remained at the club until he was surprisingly sacked in May 1965, to be replaced by Frank O'Farrell after Torquay had finished in 12th place at the end of the season. He had spent nearly 14 years as Torquay manager, signing a number of players who would go on to greater things, including Robin Stubbs who he signed from Birmingham City for £6,000.

Poole Town[edit]

After spending 14 years as manager at Plainmoor, Webber spent another 5 years as manager at Poole Town, before retiring from football in 1970.

After football[edit]

In August 1970, he returned to Southampton, where he ran the Manor House pub in Woolston until retiring in April 1984.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bull, David (28 November 2012). "Where Angell Dared". The Southampton Matchday Programme: Southampton vs Norwich City. 
  2. ^ Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. p. 101. ISBN 0-907969-22-4. 
  3. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. p. 8. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X. 
  4. ^ Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 358. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3. 

External links[edit]