Wally Odell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wally Odell
Personal information
Full name Walter Reginald Odell[1]
Date of birth (1912-03-19)19 March 1912[1]
Place of birth Biggleswade, England
Date of death 1971 (aged 59)
Place of death Bedford, England
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[2]
Playing position Left half
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Sandy Albion
1931 Biggleswade Town
1931–1935 Hitchin Town
1935–1937 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (0)
1935–1936Northfleet United (loan)
1937–1939 Wrexham 61 (0)
1939 Darlington[a] 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Walter Reginald Odell (19 March 1912 – 1971) was an English footballer who played as a left half in the Football League for Wrexham. He was on the books of Tottenham Hotspur without playing League football for them, and his only appearances for Darlington were in the 1939–40 Football League season abandoned when war broke out. He played non-league football for Sandy Albion, Biggleswade Town, Hitchin Town and Northfleet United.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Odell was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire,[1] and lived at nearby Upper Caldecote, where he attended the local Church of England school.[3][4] As a young man he worked as a porter at Sandy railway station,[3] played cricket for Caldecote Cricket Club[4] and football for Sandy Albion and Biggleswade Town,[1] before joining Spartan League club Hitchin Town during the 1931–32 season.[3] He played at inside left and at centre forward before settling at left half.[3][5] He was a member of the Hitchin team that won the Herts Senior Cup in 1934, and made 38 appearances in all competitions as Hitchin won the Spartan League title in 1934–35.[6] He was also selected for the Hertfordshire County side that won the Southern Counties Amateur Championship.[7]

Amid interest from other Football League clubs, including nearby Luton Town,[2] for whose reserves he appeared,[8] Odell signed for First Division club Tottenham Hotspur in June 1935.[3] He was one of three members of the 1934–35 Hitchin side who went on to play in the Football League: the others were Cyril Walker and future England international Reg Smith.[9] Odell never appeared in Tottenham's first team.[10] He spent one season with their nursery club, Northfleet, and one with Tottenham's reserve team[11] before being released on a free transfer.[8] He then signed for Wrexham of the Third Division North,[12] for whom he was a regular at left half in his first season, during which he made 40 league appearances. He appeared less frequently in the 1938–39 campaign, and was used at inside left and outside left as well as at left half.[8] An ankle injury kept him out for several weeks towards the end of the season,[13] during which he made 21 league appearances. He was not retained, and moved on to another Northern Section club, Darlington.[8]

Odell scored twice in Darlington's three Northern Section matches before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the Second World War,[1] and then returned to Bedfordshire.[14] During the war he worked in a factory in Letchworth,[7] and kept up his football with Biggleswade Town,[14] occasional appearances for Darlington, and regular guest appearances for Clapton Orient,[15] until a back injury put an end to his playing career.[7]

When competitive football resumed after the war, Letchworth Town, a Hertfordshire County League club, appointed Odell as trainer-coach on the "strong recommendation" of Tottenham Hotspur.[16] He remained in post until May 1950, when he resigned to concentrate on his business as licensee of a pub in nearby Ickleford.[7] His wife Phyllis (née Bygrave), whom he married in 1937,[4] had recently given birth to their second child.[7] Odell returned to football on a part-time basis a year later as trainer-coach of one of his former clubs, Hitchin Town, then playing in the Athenian League.[11] In November 1954, Odell and his wife took over the management of the Craufurd Arms pub in Wolverton, and remained there for more than ten years. After a brief spell running a grocery shop, they returned to the licensed trade at the Embankment Hotel in Bedford.[17]

Odell died in Bedford in 1971 at the age of 59.[1][18]


  1. ^ Odell scored twice from three matches played in the 1939–40 Football League season before the outbreak of the Second World War forced the suspension of competitive football. These matches are not normally included in statistical sources, although Michael Joyce does count them in his Football League Players' Records.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-899468-67-6.
  2. ^ a b 'Argus' (5 June 1935). "Under the Searchlight: Spurs' new player". Sunderland Echo. p. 9 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Caldecote footballer for Tottenham". Bedfordshire Times and Independent. 14 June 1935. p. 13 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ a b c "Caldecote sportsman married". Biggleswade Chronicle. 6 August 1937. p. 4 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Spartan League. Premier Division. Hitchin Town 3, Aylesbury United 1". Bucks Herald. 29 April 1932. p. 7 – via British Newspaper Archive. The home club has ... W. R. O'Dell at inside left vice A. Tasker.
  6. ^ "The trophy cabinet". Hitchin Town F.C. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
    "1934–35: Champions!" (PDF). Hitchin Town F.C. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Wally Odell resigns". Biggleswade Chronicle. 19 May 1950. p. 9 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ a b c d "Odell signs for Darlington". Biggleswade Chronicle. 4 August 1939. p. 6 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ Jensen, Neil (11 January 2007). "Reg is the shining star". The Comet. Stevenage. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  10. ^ "All Spurs players 1908–". Topspurs. Jim Duggan. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Wally Odell comes back". Biggleswade Chronicle. 20 July 1951. p. 9 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Under the searchlight. Wrexham sign Odell". Sunderland Echo. 26 June 1937. p. 9 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Nelson reappears for Wrexham". Liverpool Daily Post. 14 March 1939. p. 14 – via British Newspaper Archive. Savage will play left half, taking the place of Odell, whose injury will disable him for several weeks.
  14. ^ a b "Local professionals to assist Waders". Biggleswade Chronicle. 6 October 1939. p. 10 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ Rollin, Jack (2005). Soccer at War 1939–45. London: Headline. pp. 315–16, 324. ISBN 978-0-7553-1431-7.
  16. ^ "Lawn tennis". Biggleswade Chronicle. 5 July 1946. p. 9 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. ^ Dunleavy, Bryan (19 July 2015). "The Craufurd Arms". Wolverton Past – History before 1970. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Walter Reginald Odell". England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837–2007 – via FamilySearch.