Arthur Turner (footballer, born 1909)

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Arthur Turner
Personal information
Full name Arthur Owen Turner
Date of birth (1909-04-01)1 April 1909
Place of birth Chesterton, Staffordshire, England
Date of death 12 January 1994(1994-01-12) (aged 84)
Place of death Sheffield, England
Playing position Centre-half
Youth career
Downing Tileries
Woolstanton PSA
1929–1930 West Bromwich Albion
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1930–1939 Stoke City 290 (17)
1939–1948 Birmingham City 39 (0)
1948 Southport 28 (0)
Total 357 (17)
Teams managed
1948 Southport (player-manager)
1948–1951 Crewe Alexandra
1951–1953 Stoke City (assistant manager)
1954–1958 Birmingham City
1959–1969 Headington United / Oxford United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Arthur Owen Turner (1 April 1909 – 12 January 1994) was an English professional association football player and manager. He played as a centre-half for Stoke City, Birmingham City and Southport. Turner was player-manager of Southport, managed Crewe Alexandra and was assistant at Stoke before joining Birmingham City as manager. He won the Second Division championship in 1954–55, led them the following season to the 1956 FA Cup Final and their highest ever top flight finish, and became the first man to manage an English club side in European competition when he took the club to the semi-final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1958. Turner went on to manage the transformation of Southern League club Headington United into Oxford United of the Second Division of the Football League.

Playing career[edit]

Arthur Turner was born in Chesterton, Staffordshire. Following a spell as an amateur with West Bromwich Albion, he signed professional forms for local club Stoke City of the Second Division in 1930. He was a strong defensive half-back, good in the air and on the ground, reliable and influential.[1] He won a Second Division championship medal with Stoke in the 1932–33 season; the club history described him as one of "the real bedrocks" of the promotion side.[2] He was appointed captain of Stoke, in a side that included Stanley Matthews, and in all competitions played over 300 games for the club. In 1939 he was sold to Birmingham for a fee of £6,000.

His contribution in his first few months at Birmingham was not enough to prevent their relegation from the First Division, and the suspension of league football later that year for the duration of the Second World War seriously disrupted his career. He was 30 when war was declared. During the war Turner played nearly 200 games for Birmingham, captaining them to the championship of the wartime Football League South and to the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup.[3]

Managerial career[edit]

In 1948 Turner joined Southport of the Third Division North as player-manager; he played his last game in October 1948 at the age of 39.[4] He was appointed manager of Crewe Alexandra in October 1948 and stayed there for three years, returning to Stoke City as assistant manager in December 1951 under first Bob McGrory and then Frank Taylor.

Birmingham City[edit]

In November 1954 Turner replaced Bob Brocklebank as manager of former club Birmingham City. Brocklebank had assembled an excellent group of players – including Jeff Hall, Len Boyd, Roy Warhurst, Eddy Brown, Peter Murphy, Alex Govan – but they were not performing to their ability; Turner made them do so. When he joined, the club lay 12th in the Second Division, with one away win to their name; in the rest of the season they lost only once more away from home. They scored 92 league goals, their best goal return since the 19th century, with all five first choice forwards reaching double figures,[5] inflicted a club record 9–1 defeat on Liverpool,[6] and confirmed themselves as champions with a 5–1 win away at Doncaster Rovers.[7]

Birmingham City's official history rated 1955–56 as the club's best season to date. Turner led the team he inherited to their highest league finish, sixth place in the First Division, only four points off runners-up spot.[8] They reached the 1956 FA Cup Final, losing to Manchester City 3–1 in the game best remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a broken bone in his neck. The following year he led them to the FA Cup semifinal, only to lose to Manchester United's "Busby Babes". Also in 1956, Turner became the first manager to take an English club side into European competition when Birmingham City represented the city of Birmingham in the inaugural Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. They reached the semifinal, going out to eventual winners Barcelona in a replay on a neutral ground after the original tie had finished 4–4 on aggregate.[9]

His record in the transfer market was sound. He brought in England under-23 international Dick Neal to replace Len Boyd, bought wingers Harry Hooper and future England player Mike Hellawell, and gave first professional contracts to youngsters Malcolm Beard and Colin Withers.[10]

In January 1958, Pat Beasley joined the club; Beasley had believed he was coming as Turner's assistant, but chairman Harry Morris announced to the press that he was to be appointed joint manager. Turner, who found about this arrangement not from the club but from the press, threatened to resign; he was persuaded to stay "for the time being", but finally left in September 1958.[11]

Oxford United[edit]

Oxford United's club website pinpoints the appointment of Turner as manager of the then Southern League side Headington United as a turning point in the club's history.[12] He joined on New Year's Day 1959. Not long afterwards, First Division club Leeds United approached him to take over as their manager; though favourite to take the job,[13] the Headington directors matched Leeds' salary offer, and Turner chose to stay.[14]

There was no automatic promotion into the Football League in those days; clubs had to be elected, and the likelihood of election depended largely on how the chairmen of other league clubs perceived them. That year, Turner persuaded the directors to change the name of the club to Oxford United, to increase public awareness of the club and to broaden its appeal.[12][14] He employed more professional players, and brought in young players from top clubs. The likes of Graham Atkinson, Cyril Beavon and Maurice Kyle all joined from junior teams of bigger clubs and each went on to play over 300 games for Oxford United. Turner's key signing, the 20-year-old Ron Atkinson, joined from Aston Villa, was soon appointed captain, and went on to play 560 first team games for the club.[15] The combination of Turner's management and Atkinson's captaincy brought two Southern League titles in two years, and when Accrington Stanley went bankrupt in 1962, Oxford United took their place in the Fourth Division of the Football League.[14]

Two years later Turner's team eliminated Blackburn Rovers, who at the time lay second in the First Division, in the fifth round of the FA Cup.[16] They thus became the first Fourth Division side to reach the sixth round.[12] In 1964–65, he led them to promotion from the Fourth Division, and three years later to the championship of the Third. By this time the young players who had been the mainstay of Oxford's rise through the divisions were ageing or retired. Turner had no money to strengthen the side for its Second Division campaign, and struggled with what he had. In April 1969, he became General Manager of the club, leaving the running of the team to Ron Saunders, and in February 1972 he was dismissed[17] when the club admitted they were unable to afford to keep him in post.[18]

Turner remained active in football into the 1980s. He was employed as a scout for Rotherham United[19] and Sheffield Wednesday.[17] He died in Sheffield on 12 January 1994 at the age of 84.

Career statistics[edit]


Club Season League FA Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Stoke City[21] 1930–31 Second Division 7 0 0 0 7 0
1931–32 Second Division 35 0 5 0 40 0
1932–33 Second Division 42 5 2 0 44 5
1933–34 First Division 40 1 4 0 44 1
1934–35 First Division 39 4 1 0 40 4
1935–36 First Division 42 4 5 0 47 4
1936–37 First Division 42 3 2 0 44 3
1937–38 First Division 32 0 3 0 35 0
1938–39 First Division 11 0 0 0 11 0
Total 290 17 22 0 312 17
Birmingham 1938–39[22] First Division 12 0 0 0 12 0
Birmingham City 1945–46[23] War League 10 0 10 0
1946–47[24] Second Division 27 0 4 0 31 0
Total 39 0 14 0 53 0
Southport[4] 1947–48 Third Division North 17 0 0 0 17 0
1948–49 Third Division North 11 0 0 0 11 0
Total 28 0 0 0 28 0
Career total 357 17 36 0 393 17


As player[edit]

As manager[edit]


  1. ^ Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 130. ISBN 1-85983-010-2. 
  2. ^ "History: 1930–1940 Stan's The Man". Stoke City F.C. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, pp. 20–23, 130.
  4. ^ a b "Football League Player List" (PDF). Southport FC Stats. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, pp. 25–27.
  6. ^ "Records: Matches". Liverpool F.C. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 27.
  8. ^ "BCFC Club History". Birmingham City F.C. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Ross, James M. (21 December 2010). "European Cups Archive". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, pp. 61–62.
  11. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 62.
  12. ^ a b c Crabtree, David; Brunt, Heather Jan; Williams, Chris & Brodetsky, Martin (12 October 2011). "A history of Oxford United Football Club". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Managers: Jack Taylor (1959–61)". The Definitive History of Leeds United. The Mighty Mighty Whites. Retrieved 7 October 2007. 
  14. ^ a b c Howland, Andy. "Brief look back: Southern League days: Towards Football League status". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Howland, Andy. "Past Players: Ron Atkinson". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  16. ^ Howland, Andy. "Famous Matches: Oxford United 3 – Blackburn Rovers 0". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Howland, Andy. "Past Managers: Arthur Turner". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Matthews, Tony (October 2000). The Encyclopedia of Birmingham City Football Club 1875–2000. Cradley Heath: Britespot. p. 225. ISBN 0-9539288-0-2. 
  19. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 130.
  20. ^ Arthur Turner profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  21. ^ Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 1-85983-100-1. 
  22. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 181.
  23. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 240.
  24. ^ Matthews, Complete Record, p. 182.

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