THE MOSSLEY AFC 'HALL OF FAME'

SIR WALTER WINTERBOTTOM, OBE, CBE

 

Walter Winterbottom was born in Oldham on 31st January 1913. He began playing football as a youth and was spotted playing for Royton Amateurs and given a trial for Mossley at the end of the 1934-35 season making 1 appearance that season. He impressed enough though to be invited back the following season and was signed on amateur forms by Secretary/Manager Clifford Tarr. A strong and skilful centre half Winterbottom became a regular in the Mossley team the following season and helped Mossley to a mid-table position in the Cheshire League. He made 22 appearances and was then one of four Mossley players to join Football League clubs at the end of the season, the others being Tom Molloy (Halifax Town), Jock Anderson (Rotherham United) and Jack Aspinall (Bolton Wanderers). Winterbottom was spotted by Manchester United talent scout Louis Rocca who considered that he had the potential to be a great half-back. His chance arose in 1936 when he replaced the injured George Vose in the United team and was later to keep him out of the side. However, in the following season 1937-38 Winterbottom suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, a disease of the spine. The disease forced him to retire from the game at an early age, after making only 27 appearances for Manchester United's first team. Before injury forced him out of the game prematurely he was reckoned to be one of the hottest young properties in the game. Whilst pursuing a career in professional football, Winterbottom was also a schoolmaster: 'Before the War there was no floodlit football and league matches were generally played on Saturdays. Thus whilst playing for United, I was able to be a schoolmaster, then a student at Carnegie Physical Education College where subsequently I was appointed lecturer'. Not long after this his teaching skills were noted by the F.A: 'In 1938, the F.A ran a summer school/conference at Carnegie and invited me to join the staff, it was here that Sir Stanley Rous and other F.A. coaching officials first noted my capabilities.' During the Second World War, Walter Winterbottom served in the RAF as a wing commander. On demobilisation he was appointed F.A. Director of Coaching with responsibilities of managing England teams, amateur and professional, a post which he held from 1946 until 1962. Whilst manager of England he guided the team to four World Cup Finals and was awarded the OBE for his services to football. As England manager he set up Englandís youth and under-23 teams. The CBE followed in 1972. In 1978 he was awarded a knighthood in recognition of his services to sport, as director of the Sports Councils and chairman of the Committee of Sport in the Council of Europe.
Sir Walter Winterbottom passed away age 89 in February 2002.