Arthur Betts (footballer, born 1917)

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Arthur Betts
Personal information
Date of birth (1917-05-17)17 May 1917
Place of birth Sutton-in-Ashfield, England
Date of death 15 June 1978(1978-06-15) (aged 61)
Place of death Sutton-in-Ashfield, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
Sutton Boys
Hucknall Colts
Sutton Junction F.C.
Huthwaite CWS.
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1936–1939 & 1944 Nottingham Forest 68 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Arthur Betts (born 1917) was a professional Association Footballer who played for Nottingham Forest F.C.

Professional career[edit]

Betts was a winger (number 7 & 11) whose Football League career lasted from 1936 – 1939. His promising playing career was cut short due to injury (rupture to the internal lateral ligament of the right knee) in a match versus Coventry City. Betts was paid compensation by the league's insurers in 1941 having been told by doctors he would never play again, following major surgery to his injured knee. After convalescing, Betts regained fitness through a determined personal effort and expensive remedial physiotherapy. After an extraordinary recovery, regardless of medical opinion, Betts was asked to play again for Forest, having been spotted by an official excelling in the field at Cricket. Betts played in reserve team matches and one first team match, against Chesterfield F.C. in the 1944 war time Football League-North First Championship, over 5 years after his last first class match for Forest. Nevertheless, hopes of a long term comeback for Betts were dashed as league rules, which prevented a player from returning after receiving compensation, were imposed. Irrespective of his offer to repay his £350 compensation payment, the league's rules were upheld and Betts's professional career came to a premature end.

Early career[edit]

Arthur Betts was born in Huthwaite, Sutton-in-Ashfield into a mining family. He excelled at sport at school and district level and at 14 was a member of the 1931 Sutton and District team that won the Cobbin Cup, beating Nottingham at Sutton Junction's ground. At 15 Betts had trials with Mansfield Town F.C. whilst with Hucknall Colts F.C. his first youth team. Betts was employed, after leaving school at 14, at New Hucknall Colliery in the lamp cabin. During the season 1934/35 Betts signed for Birmingham City F.C. as an amateur, and played "A" team matches for the club. Another club interested in Betts as an amateur was Sheffield United F.C. and he played an "A" team match against Bradford City F.C. "A" in 1935 whilst having changed employment, working for Co-operative Whole Sale (CWS) at Huthwaite in the hosiery industry. Betts also played for the CWS works team at this time. Like another exceptional local player of the time, Horace Burrows, Betts also turned out in junior football for Sutton Junction F.C. In 1936 Betts was offered a professional contract with Mansfield Town F.C. managed by Harold Wightman. Betts refused initially due to concern over leaving secure full-time employment. However, he committed to Wightman in September later that year when Wightman became the manager of Nottingham Forest. Betts signed professional terms in September 1936, making his debut against Bradford City on 28/12/36.

Post injury career[edit]

Arthur Betts played cricket to a high level as an all-rounder for Huthwaite CWS, New Hucknall Colliery and Notts Club and Ground which was the nursery team of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. He played against Harold Larwood and Bill Voce in a benefit match for Larwood, the Notts and England Ashes winning bowler. Betts founded New Hucknall Colliery Boys' Club (Football, Cricket, Youth Club) with whom he served as treasurer, secretary, coach and trainer over a 23-year period. He was also Assistant Manager with Sutton Town F.C.. Betts also managed the Notts F.A. youth team and worked on the Mansfield Youth Football League committee for many seasons. During the war years Betts was a member of the Home Guard. When his work as a knitter in hosiery with CWS (Cooperative Wholesale Limited) ended, Betts earned a living as a payroll officer and part-time groundsman, for New Hucknall Colliery, supporting his wife and family until his death in 1978.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ Mellor K. Forest Road. Temple Printing (Nottingham)Ltd. 1986. Photographs and caption pages 48 and 50.
  2. ^ Smales K. Forest The First 125 Years. The Official Statistical Record of Nottingham Forest Football Club. 1991. Published by Temple Printing (Nottingham) Ltd.ISBN 1 870010 09 4. Pages 122–126. Page 138. Page 242.(NB the DOB in this record is incorrect – reads 17 May 1916. It also alludes to a non-existent middle name initial (R), also incorrect, as verified by the birth certificate for Arthur Betts)
  3. ^ Arthur Betts's personal scrap book; unpublished
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mansfield, Sutton and Kirkby Chronicle, Cobbin Cup Final Team Sheet, printed and published by F. Willman, "Chronicle" Office, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Wednesday 24 April 1931.
  6. ^ Peterborough United Football Club, Official Programme, no.995, 8 September 1934; Petney & Sons, Printer, Peterborough.
  7. ^ Nottingham Forest Football Club, Forest Review, Official Match Day Magazine of Nottingham Forest F.C. Vol. 9, No. 14, 20 November 1976 p.14
  8. ^ The Sutton-in-Ashfield Larwood Benefit Committee, Souvenir Programme, Teams page 10 June 1936.
  9. ^ Chronicle Advertiser (Mansfield) 26 March 2001.(121, Newgate Lane, Mansfield, Notts NG18 2PA) p.6 photograph.