Ray Middleton (footballer)
Middleton began his career at North Shields where he attracted the attentions of Chesterfield who signed him for £50. He established himself as first choice keeper but saw his career interrupted by World War II, remaining in the area to work as a miner during the conflict. Highly rated as a player despite not playing top-flight football, he appeared four times for England B and, unusually given their Second Division status, played alongside clubmate Stanley Milburn in one fixture. Off the pitch Middleton ran a grocer shop in Old Whittington and became involved in local Labour Party politics, even becoming the only active Football League player to serve as a Justice of the Peace.
The Spireites' relegation in 1951 saw him leave the club to move to top-flight Derby County, where he made 115 appearances. Released by the club in 1954 he moved to non-league Boston United as a player-manager, even leading the club to a famous 6–2 win over Derby in the FA Cup.
He attracted the attention of Hartlepool United who appointed him as their manager in 1957. He began promisingly with a 2–1 win over Accrington Stanley although his record proved mediocre and after a 5–1 defeat at Doncaster Rovers in October 1959 he left the club.
Middleton returned to Boston, initially for a spell as manager before taking up the post of secretary. He held this position until his death in 1977.