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Tommy Lawton (6 October 1919 - 6 November 1996) was an English association footballer who rose to fame a short time before the outbreak of the Second World War and enjoyed a successful career which lasted until well into the 1950s.


Playing career

Born in Farnworth, Lancashiremarker, Lawton's precocious talent won him a trial for the England schoolboy team in which he scored a hat trick but this never led to a junior cap. In 1935, he signed for Second Division club Burnley. Despite flat feet and needing to wear orthotics, as a striker, he rapidly achieved fame for his pace, heading ability and two-footed effectiveness in front of goal.

By the start of 1937, Lawton had been bought by First Division Everton for £6,500 to play alongside the phenomenal, but ageing, Dixie Dean. Exposure and experience in the top flight led to his selection for England in the international against Wales in October 1938, Lawton scoring from the penalty spot in the 4-2 defeat. By the end of the 1938-39 season, he had won three senior caps, scoring 34 goals for Everton in the final season before World War II, helping the club to win the league title.

For the duration of the war, Lawton served in the army as a physical training instructor. He also guested for Chester, scoring five times in a match against a Royal Air Force XI in May 1943.

Post-war, he joined Chelsea for £11,500. He made his debut for Chelsea in their friendly match against touring Sovietmarker side FC Dynamo Moscow in November 1945, scoring with a powerful header in a 3-3 draw. Lawton scored 26 goals in 34 league games in the 1946-47 season, but struggled to settle in London and came into conflict with Chelsea manager Billy Birrell, which resulted in him requesting a transfer.

Despite being at the peak of his playing career, he shocked the football world with a move to Third Division Notts County for a record transfer fee of £20,000, probably attracted by manager Arthur Stollery, who had formerly been physiotherapist at Chelsea. At County, he immediately realised an iconic status and real rapport with the Nottinghammarker public, scoring 103 goals in 166 appearances for the club over five seasons and helping them win promotion to Division Two in 1950. Lawton was capped 23 times for England, scoring 22 goals.

In 1952, Lawton took the player-manager role at Brentford but enjoyed little success. During his time at the club he appeared in the film The Great Game. In November 1953 he joined Arsenal for £10,000 and saw out his professional playing career there. In his two years for the Gunners he scored 15 goals in 38 matches, including one in the Gunners' 1953 Charity Shield win over Stanley Matthews' Blackpool.

Career statistics

[72043]



Later life

A second attempt at the player/manager role at non-league Kettering Townwas more successful but Lawton could hardly resist the opportunity to manage Notts County when it arose. County's dream appointment ended in disappointment and relegation to the Second Division at the end of the season and Lawton decided to retire.

A short-lived appointment as a scout was followed by a period of some financial difficulty, hardly mitigated by fees for a column in the Nottingham Evening Post. Everton arranged a testimonial match for him in 1972.

Lawton's health deteriorated in his old age and he died in November 1996, aged 77, as a result of pneumonia. His ashes are lodged at The National Football Museummarker.In 2003 Lawton was inducted into the English Football Hall of Famein recognition of his talents. The Hall of Fame is also housed at the National Football Museummarker.

Bibliography

  • Lawton, T (1950) Tommy Lawton's all star football book ISBN B0000CHTOA
  • Lawton, T (1954) Soccer the Lawton way ISBN B0000CIYT5
  • Lawton, T (1973) When the Cheering Stopped ISBN 0-901482-17-X
  • McVay, D &, Smith, A (2000) The Complete Centre Forward: The Authorised Biography of Tommy Lawton ISBN 1-899807-09-8
  • Sumner, Chas (1997) On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City F.C. 1885-1997 ISBN 1-874427-52-6


External links



1935-36 Burnley Second Division 7 5
1936-37 18 11
1936-37 Everton First Division 10 3
1937-38 39 28
1938-39 38 34
1939-40 3 4
1946-47 Chelsea First Division 34 26
1947-48 8 4
1947-48 Notts County Third Division South 19 18
1948-49 36 20
1949-50 37 31
1950-51 Second Division 30 9
1951-52 29 12
1951-52 Brentford Second Division 10 2
1952-53 24 13
1953-54 6 2
1953-54 Arsenal First Division 9 1
1954-55 18 6
1955-56 8 6
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