Fred Spiksley

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Fred Spiksley
Personal information
Full name Frederick Spiksley
Date of birth (1870-01-25)25 January 1870
Place of birth Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England
Date of death 28 July 1948(1948-07-28) (aged 78)
Place of death Goodwood Racecourse, England
Playing position Outside Left
Youth career
1883-c.1886 Holy Trinity School, Gainsborough
c. 1884 Eclipse
1887 Gainsborough Jubilee Swifts
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1886 Gainsborough Working Men's Club 2 (0)
1886 Gainsborough Wednesday 6 (?)
1887–1891 Gainsborough Trinity 126 (131)
1891–1903 Sheffield Wednesday 293 (100)
1904 Glossop North End 3 (1)
1905 Leeds City 7 (0)
1905–1906 Southern United ? (?)
1906 Watford 11 (5)
National team
1893–1898 England 7 (5)
Teams managed
1911 AIK Stockholm
1911 Sweden
1913 TSV 1860 München
1913–1914 1. FC Nuremberg
192x Reforma AC
192x Real Club España
1927 1. FC Nuremberg
1928 Lausanne Sports

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Fred Spiksley (25 January 1870, Gainsborough – 28 July 1948, Goodwood) was an English footballer and coach, who played as a forward for Sheffield Wednesday F.C. and England. He also played for Gainsborough Trinity, Glossop North End, Leeds City, Watford and in 1907 became the only professional footballer to play for the Corinthians.[citation needed] After retiring as a player in 1906 he worked as a coach and won national league titles in Sweden, Mexico and Germany. During the First World War he was interned at Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp in Germany.

He died on Ladies' Day at Goodwood Racecourse in 1948.

Early career[edit]

Spiksley initially played as a junior for Gainsborough Jubilee Swifts. In 1887 he helped them reach the semi-finals of the Lincolnshire Junior Cup, finishing the competition as top scorer with 31 goals in 6 games. On 19 March 1887 at the age of 17 he made his senior debut for Gainsborough Trinity in a game against Notts Jardines. Although Trinity lost 3–1, Spiksley created the team's only goal, providing his captain Billy Brown with a simple tap in after a good run. During his first season at Trinity he scored 31 goals in 29 games and was the team's second highest goalscorer behind Jack Madden, later to play for Scotland and Celtic. He also scored twice on both his FA Cup debut, a 7–0 victory over Boston Town, and in the final of the Gainsborough News Charity Cup. In his second season Spiksley scored 28 goals in 21 games and, despite breaking his leg on his 19th birthday in a Gainsborough News Charity cup tie against The Wednesday Football Club, he was the team's leading goal-scorer for the 1888–89 season. During the 1889–90 season Spiksley won a cup double, helping Trinity win both the Lincolnshire F.A. Cup and the Gainsborough News Charity Cup and during the 1890–91 season he was a prominent member of the Trinity team that won the Midland League.

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

In January 1891 he almost signed for Accrington F.C. but asked for time to consider their offer before signing. However while travelling to Accrington he stopped in Sheffield and was persuaded by two directors, John Holmes and Fred Thompson, to sign for Sheffield Wednesday F.C.. He subsequently spent the next eleven seasons at Wednesday scoring 100 goals in 293 league appearances. He also scored a further 14 goals in 28 FA Cup appearances, starting with a brace in a memorable 4–1 victory over League side Bolton Wanderers in 1892.[1] He scored twice in the 1896 FA Cup Final as Wednesday beat Wolves 2–1. Along with his two goals, Spiksley's back-heels stole the show during the final. He also helped them win the English Second Division in 1900 and the English First Division in 1903.

Fred Spiksley – matches for Sheffield Wednesday:

Season: 1891–92 1892–93 1893–94 1894–95 1895–96 1896–97 1897–98 1898–99 1899–1900 1900–01 1901–02 1902–03 Total
Matches: 3 31 33 33 35 28 32 30 34 14 27 34 324
Goals: 2 18 16 10 13 10 17 3 10 4 5 8 116

Southern United[edit]

In the 1905–06 season Fred Joined a new club called Southern United. The club was based in London, but has been lost in history with some sources erroneously stating that Spiksley played for Southend United.

England International[edit]

Spiksley also played 7 times and scored 5 goals for England and helped them win the British Home Championship in both 1893 and 1898. In 1893 he scored a hat-trick on his debut against Wales in a 6–0 win. Other goalscorers on that day included Jack Reynolds and John Goodall. He then scored a further two goals in a 5–2 win over Scotland. In 1894 he scored his fifth goal in three games in 2–2 draw with Ireland. Spiksley's other England team mates included Steve Bloomer and Ernest Needham. On 14 March 1903 Spiksley also scored once for the English League XI in a 3–0 win over the Scottish League XI at Celtic Park.

Spiksley's England goal record has been disputed by several sources. In his book 50 Years of Football 1895–1934, Sir Frederick Wall, secretary of the Football Association, claims that in 1893 Spiksley actually scored a hat-trick against Scotland.

Fred Spiksley – matches for England:

Date: 13 March 1893 1 April 1893 3 March 1894 7 April 1894 7 March 1896 28 March 1898 2 April 1898
Opponent: Wales Scotland Ireland Scotland Ireland Wales Scotland
Result: 6–0 5–2 2–2 2–2 2–0 3–0 3–1

Coaching career[edit]


After retiring as a player in 1906, Spiksley embarked on a well-travelled career as a coach. In 1911 he accepted a position with AIK Stockholm and guided them to the Swedish Championship. He was briefly appointed coach of Swedish national team. However his spell was cut short following a dispute between two rival factions within the Swedish Football Association. Spiksley was seen as the Stockholm candidate and his appointment was opposed by the Gothenburg faction. In 1912 the association offered Spiksley the job once again. However on this occasion he declined.


By 1913 Spiksley was in Germany, first with TSV 1860 München and then 1. FC Nuremberg. However while there, the First World War broke out and Spiksley and his son, Fred Jr, were interned at Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp near Berlin. The camp contained between 4,000 and 5,500 prisoners and gradually a mini-society evolved and football became a popular activity. Spiksley was one of several former professional footballers in the camp. Others included fellow former England internationals Fred Pentland, Samuel Wolstenholme and Steve Bloomer, a Scotland international, John Cameron, a German international Edwin Dutton, and John Brearley, once of Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.

Cup and league competitions were organised and as many as 1,000 attended the bigger games. The teams adopted the names of established teams and on 16 November 1914 Spiksley played in a cup final between an Oldham Athletic team and a Tottenham Hotspur team. It is uncertain which team Spiksley played for but the Oldham team was basically a Public School XI. It is therefore more likely that he played for Tottenham along with Bloomer and Dutton. The game itself was refereed by Wolstenholme. Spiksley escaped from Ruhleben in early 1915 and, after briefly returning to England, he sailed to the United States and worked in a munitions factory in Pittsburgh.

Later coaching career[edit]

By 1918 he was working as a coach in Spain. In 1921 he returned to the United States and eventually made his way to Mexico. While there he coached Reforma AC and Real Club España. Both teams played in the Primera Fuerza, a Mexico City-based league whose champions were also considered to be champions of Mexico. In 1924 Spiksley guided España to the Primera Fuerza title. He then returned to England and between 1924 and 1926 he worked as an assistant coach at Fulham. During his time at Fulham the club embarked on a successful FA Cup run and knocked out an Everton team that included Dixie Dean. He subsequently returned to Germany and rejoined 1. FC Nuremberg whom he led to the German football championship in 1927.

In 1931 Spiksley was invited back to Craven Cottage by Fulham to make a series of training films with two players, Barrett and Oliver. A section of the film has survived. In the film he demonstrates his famous back-heel.

Between 1933 and 1936 Spiksley took over coaching responsibilities for the King Edward VII School football team in Sheffield. During his time there the First XI were unbeaten against school opposition. This achievement was recognised in an unusual way when the 'Ardath Tobacco Company' included the school team of 1935–36 in their Cigarette Card Collection for the season; this was alongside all the top football teams of the day.


Spiksley had several items published;

In 1907, his reminiscences were published
Letters to a Swedish journalist were turned into an early Swedish book on how to play football
In 1920 his Autobiography was written and published as a newspaper serial
In 1928 Fred wrote a serial in a newspaper teaching people how to train and play football, each week looking at a different position or skill.

His autobiography was only discovered in 2007 and is over 56,000 words long.



Gainsborough Trinity

  • Gainsborough News Charity Cup Winner:2
    • 1888, 1890
  • Lincolnshire Football Association Challenge Cup Winner:1
    • 1890

Sheffield Wednesday



AIK Stockholm

Real Club España

1. FC Nuremberg



  • Fred Spiksley: Fred Spiksley's Reminiscences (1907)
  • Fred Spiksley: Fred Spiksley's Autobiography (1920)
  • Sir Frederick Wall: 50 Years of Football 1895–1934 (2005)[1]
  • Richard Sparling: The Romance of the Wednesday (1926)
  • Kieth Farnsworth: Wednesday! (1982)
  • Percy Young: Football in Sheffield (1964)
  • Kieth Farnsworth: Sheffield Wednesday – A Complete Record (1987)
  • Kieth Farnsworth: Sheffield Football – A History Volume one 1857–1961 (1995)
  • Kieth Farnsworth: The Blades and The Owls (1995)
  • Nick Johnson: Images of Sport – Sheffield Wednesday (2003)
  • Jason Dickinson and John Brodie: The Wednesday Boys (2005)
  • Jason Dickinson: One Hundred Years at Hillsborough (1999)
  • Ian Bevan: To the palace for the Cup (1999)
  • The Book of Football (1906)
  • IFFHS: Sweden (1908–1940)
  • Earnest Needham: Association Football (1901)
  • John Goodall: Association Football (1898)
  • Ambrose Langley: Tales of Ambrose Langley (1925)

External links[edit]


Sheffield Wednesday


Leeds City