Len Townsend

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Len Townsend
Personal information
Full name Leonard Francis Townsend[1]
Date of birth (1917-08-31)31 August 1917
Place of birth Brentford, England
Date of death August 1997 (aged 79–80)[1]
Place of death Seaford England
Playing position Inside right
Youth career
Isleworth Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1935–1937 Hayes 52 (64)
1937–1947 Brentford 33 (12)
1940Plymouth Argyle (guest) 7 (10)
1940–1941Leeds United (guest) 11 (11)
Belfast Celtic (guest)
1946Colchester United (guest) 1 (3)
1947–1949 Bristol City 74 (45)
1949–1950 Millwall 5 (1)
1950–1952 Guildford City
National team
1943 Irish League XI 1 (1)
Teams managed
1952 Ashford Town (assistant)
1952–1953 Hayes
1954–1958 Maidenhead United
1958–1961 Slough Town
1964–1969 Maidenhead United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Leonard Francis "Len" Townsend (31 August 1917 – August 1997) was an English football inside right who made over 110 Football League appearances either side of the Second World War for Brentford, Bristol City and Millwall.[1] After dropping into Non-League football he became a manager, serving Hayes, Slough Town and in two spells, Maidenhead United.[2] Townsend's achievements with Maidenhead United saw him added to the club's Hall of Fame in 2005.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Hayes[edit]

An inside right, Townsend joined Athenian League side Hayes from Isleworth Town as a 17-year-old in 1935.[2] He had a prolific two seasons in front of goal for the club, scoring 64 goals in 52 appearances.[2] He departed the club at the end of the 1936–37 season.[2]

Brentford[edit]

Townsend initially joined hometown club Brentford as an amateur in the second half of the 1936–37 season, before signing a professional contract at the end of the campaign.[3] He spent the 1937–38 season in the club's reserve team, scoring 19 goals in his first 15 London Combination appearances.[3] With the first team struggling in Division One during the first half of the 1938–39 season, manager Harry Curtis handed Townsend his professional debut for a match versus Huddersfield Town on Christmas Eve 1938.[4] Townsend capped his debut with the winner in a 2–1 victory.[4] He scored again in the following two games, netting in a 2–2 draw with Portsmouth and scoring both goals in a 2–0 victory over Everton.[4] Townsend made two further appearances in January 1939 without scoring and lost his place in the team to new signing Tommy Cheetham.[3][4] Townsend finished the 1938–39 season with four goals in five games.[4]

The break-out of the Second World War in September 1939 saw competitive football suspended for the duration of the war. During the war, Townsend scored 102 goals in 120 appearances,[3] a record which included four hattricks and one double hattrick.[5] He returned to Football League action in the 1946–47 season, scoring 9 goals in 33 games in a disastrous campaign, which saw the Bees relegation to Division Two for the first time since 1935.[4] Townsend departed Griffin Park at the end of the season, having made 41 competitive appearances and scored 14 goals.[3]

Plymouth Argyle (guest)[edit]

Townsend joined Plymouth Argyle as a guest during the Second World War in January 1940.[6] In a spell lasting until the end of the 1939–40 season, Townsend scored 10 goals in 9 games.[6]

Leeds United (guest)[edit]

Townsend joined Leeds United as a guest in November 1940.[7] In a spell lasting until March 1941, he scored 14 goals in 12 games.[7]

Belfast Celtic (guest)[edit]

While stationed in Northern Ireland, Townsend guested for Belfast Celtic.[3]

Colchester United (guest)[edit]

While stationed at Colchester Garrison in January 1946, Townsend took advantage of a rule which allowed soldiers of the garrison to appear for Colchester United as a guest.[8] He made one appearance at Layer Road, scoring a hattrick in a 3–1 victory over Guildford City on 19 January.[8]

Bristol City[edit]

Townsend and Brentford teammates Dai Hopkins and Frank Clack signed for Division Three South side Bristol City prior to the beginning of the 1947–48 season.[3] He had a happy two seasons with the club, scoring 50 goals in 80 appearances and topping the Division Three South goalscoring charts in his first season.[3][7] He formed a formidable goalscoring partnership with Don Clark, though the pair's exploits failed to bring any success in the league.[9][10]

Millwall[edit]

Townsend joined Division Three South club Millwall in 1949.[3] He made just five appearances and scored one goal during the 1949–50 season.[11]

Guildford City[edit]

Townsend dropped into Non-League football and signed for Southern League side Guildford City in 1950, reuniting with former Bristol City manager Bob Hewison.[2] He departed the club in 1952, after helping the Sweeney to two successive Southern League Cup finals.[9]

Representative career[edit]

While guesting for Belfast Celtic, Townsend appeared for the Irish League representative team in a match against their League of Ireland counterparts on 26 April 1943.[12] He scored in the 2–2 draw.[13]

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Guildford City[edit]

While a player with Guildford City, Townsend combined his playing duties with that of first team coach.[2]

Ashford Town[edit]

Townsend had a short spell as assistant manager at Ashford Town in the early 1950s.[2]

Hayes[edit]

Townsend returned to Hayes as manager in 1952, taking over from former Brentford teammate George Wilkins.[2] He presided over a mediocre 1952–53 Athenian League campaign, before being replaced by Wilkins.[2]

Maidenhead United[edit]

Townsend was appointed manager of Corinthian League side Maidenhead United in 1954.[2] He presided over the first period of success in the club's history,[14] winning two Berks & Bucks Senior Cups, the Corinthian League Memorial Shield and the league title in his final season with the club.[2] Townsend departed the Magpies in 1958.[2]

Slough Town[edit]

Townsend joined Corinthian League side Slough Town as manager in 1958.[2] With a number of his former Maidenhead United players in his squad, Townsend had a frustrating time with the club, failing to challenge in the league and finishing as runners up in the Berks & Bucks Benevolent Cup in 1959–60, though he managed to win the Southern Combination Cup in 1958–59.[15] After finishing bottom of the Corinthian League in the 1960–61 season, Townsend was released as manager.[2]

Return to Maidenhead United[edit]

Townsend rejoined Maidenhead United as manager in 1964.[2] Now managing at Athenian League Premier Division level, Townsend failed to manage the Magpies to success in the league, though he won his third Berks & Bucks Senior Cup with the club in 1966. He resigned in 1969 and was honoured with a place in the club's Hall of Fame in 2005.[2] As of September 2014, Townsend's 473 matches in charge of Maidenhead is more than any other of the club's managers.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Townsend served for six years with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry during and after the Second World War.[2] After retiring from football, Townsend was a London-based sales representative for both Carborundum and Tex Abrasives before retiring in May 1982. Townsend lived in Sleaford before his death in 1997.[9]

Honours[edit]

As a manager[edit]

Maidenhead United

Slough Town

  • Southern Combination Cup (1): 1958–59[15]

As an individual[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League FA Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brentford 1938–39[4] First Division 4 4 1 0 5 4
1945–46[4] 3 1 3 1
1946–47[4] 29 8 4 1 33 9
Total 33 12 8 2 41 14
Colchester United (guest) 1945–46[8] Southern League 1 3 1 3
Millwall 1949–50[18] Third Division South 5 1 0 0 5 1
Career total 39 16 8 2 47 18

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Len Townsend". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Hayes & Yeading United FC: The Official Website". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Haynes, Graham; Coumbe, Frank (2006). Timeless Bees: Brentford F.C. Who's Who 1920–2006. Harefield: Yore Publications. p. 162. ISBN 978-0955294914.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. pp. 375–379. ISBN 0951526200.
  5. ^ Brentford Football Club Official Matchday Magazine versus Bournemouth 04/09/04. 2004. p. 47.
  6. ^ a b "Greens on Screen Database". greensonscreen.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Leeds United F.C. History". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Len Townsend – Players – Colchester United". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Woods, David; Leigh Edwards (1997). Bristol City FC – The First 100 Years. Redcliffe Press. ISBN 1-900178-26-5.
  10. ^ Woods, David (1994). Bristol Babe The First 100 years of Bristol City FC. Yore Publications. ISBN 1-874427-95-X.
  11. ^ "Millwall Players S to Z". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  12. ^ Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. p. 74. ISBN 1 874427 57 7.
  13. ^ "NORTHERN IRELAND REG LG v LEAGUE OF IRELAND, 26 April 1943". 11v11.com. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  14. ^ "History – Abridged Club History 1870 – date – Maidenhead United". Pitchero. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  15. ^ a b "SloughTownFC.net – The Official Website of Slough Town FC – Club Honours". www.sloughtownfc.net. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Drax earns his place in Magpies hall of fame". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Epsom & Ewell Football Club". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Millwall Season 49/50 Stats". www.millwall-history.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2017.