Team Talk: Wilsden 1930/31 and a future England international

The Keighley area has a rich history of local football. 
There might have been a lack of ‘big’ teams in relation to regional competition in the past but there have been plenty of successful (and not so successful!) teams who have made their mark over the years.
Following the tribute to Trevor Hockey earlier in the week, another of Keighley’s international stars, who also made his name at Birmingham City, features today.

Despite this being a picture of the double-winning Wilsden team of the 1930/31 season, it includes someone who was playing for England 26 years later.
The tiny tot in the middle of the picture is Jeff Hall. Although born in Scunthorpe, Jeff was brought up in the Keighley area and went on to play for Bradford Park Avenue and Birmingham City, where he won the Second Division title in 1955 and appeared in the 1956 FA Cup final. The full-back also won 17 caps for England and was a regular in Walter Winterbottom’s team, being on the winning side 12 times and losing just once.
Tragically, he died at the age of just 29, 53 years ago this week, from polio. However, his death sparked a massive take-up of polio vaccinations and saved many young lives.

Can you tell us more about the Wilsden team and the club’s history? What are the trophies in the picture?
The present day Wilsden team play at Marley and Harden but have no base in the village. Where did this team of 80 years ago play?
Do you, or your dad/grandad, remember watching Jeff Hall play? His name is commemorated in the Jeff Hall Cup, which was competed for in the Keighley and Aire Valley Sunday Alliance. The present holders are Keighley Victoria Hotel, who beat Keighley Cushions in the 2010 final. The league has been in abeyance since then.

Read more about Jeff Hall’s career, here.

  • Add your comments below or send an email to Keighley Kicks
  • This picture and many more will appear in Rob Grillo’s forthcoming ‘Keighley’s Soccer History’ book. It is due to be published in June and will include details of the town’s footballing heritage from the very earliest days right up to the current season. Read more about it, here.
  • Keighley Kicks readers can pre-order the book and save £2 before June 1. The discounted cost will be £12 plus £2 postage for the book, which will stretch to well over 300 pages. You can order online at www.robgrillo.co.uk

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