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Gough: Harold C. (Harry)

1918-1918 (Leeds City War-time Guest Player Details)


Born: Newbold, Chesterfield, Derbyshire: 31-12-1890

Debut: v Huddersfield Town (h): 25-12-1918

5' 10", 12st. 0lbs (1915)

Gough was one of a long line of goalkeeper born in Chesterfield that went on to make their mark in English football. Like a number of other North Derbyshire men who became professional footballers, Harry Gough gravitated towards the Yorkshire clubs rather than Derby County. He was the youngest of eight children and began in Non-League Football with Spital Olympic and Castleford Town, before being transferred from the latter, for 30, to Second Division Bradford Park Avenue in March 1910, making three Midland League appearances for them, before rejoining Castleford Town in August 1911. His big break came when he signed for First Division Sheffield United in April 1913, giving him the chance to play the very top teams and over the next ten years he made two hundred and forty-two League appearances for the Blades, and gained an FA Cup winner's medal with them in 1915 when the Blades beat Chelsea 3-0 in the 'Khaki Cup final' at Old Trafford, and made a further nineteen appearances in that competition. During the early war years he was a miner in Castleford at the Fryston Colliery, but despite his being better located to play with Castleford Town or Leeds City he chose Bramall Lane as he was still registered with them. His association with Leeds City had long been mooted as a good subject for war-time guest appearances, when available. In December 1915, the Leeds City programme reported: "The City management, during the week, have had application from a goalkeeper of first class repute for a game with the City. I have heard it whispered that he kept a great goal on the occasion of the last English Cup final, and was mainly instrumental in the Cup once more finding a resting place in Yorkshire. 'Who said Gough?' To which may be queried, why should Sheffield United demur - indeed, have they any real right to object at all? Castleford Town would miss Gough the most. He works in Fryston Colliery, and can play with Leeds City much more conveniently than Sheffield." Such a move, however, would have left the Blades without a recognised keeper, and the rumours came to nothing at that time. Gough continued to play for Sheffield when he was not on duty with the Royal Navy, for which he had just volunteered, giving fine performances over the next couple of years against City, increasing their interest in him. Sheffield United of Division One offered him a chance of top flight football in 1913, and Gough seized the opportunity with both hands, going on make two hundred and forty-two League appearances for the club over the course of the following decade. He won the FA Cup with United in 1915 when the Blades beat Chelsea 3-0 in the 'Khaki Cup final' at Old Trafford, Manchester on 24th April 1915. Goals by James Simmons after thirty-six minutes gave the Blades a half-time lead, and it was not until very late in the game that they made the victory sure with goals from Stanley Fazackerley in the eighty-fourth minute and Joseph Kitchen getting the third with just two minutes remaining. With Gough keeping a clean -sheet it saw United captain, George Utley lift the cup in front of a crowd of 49,557. His association with Leeds City lasted just two days, the home and away Christmas fixtures with Huddersfield Town which resulted in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road and a 1-0 victory for City on Boxing Day 1917. By coincidence Arthur Price was the Leeds scorer and even more unusually they both came from the penalty spot. He had joined the Navy in 1917 and also guested for Hearts of Midlothian and Hibernian of Edinburgh,during the war. Gough continued to shine with Sheffield United after the resumption of peacetime football. He was selected for the F.A. Tour of South Africa in 1920 which saw the team undefeated winning all fourteen fixtures and scoring sixty-four and conceding just ten. Subsequently he was rewarded with a cap for England, against Scotland at Hampden Park on 9th April 1921. He had an unhappy day between the posts with England beaten 3-0. Described as "cool, collected and very tough," Gough was renowned for his bravery and daring between the posts. However, his Blades career ended in controversy. In the summer of 1924, the thirty-three-year-old began preparations for his retirement by buying the Railway Hotel in Castleford. The premises were licensed, provoking a furious response from Sheffield and FA chairman, Charles Clegg, a teetotaller, who ordered him to get rid of the property. Gough claimed to have "acted in ignorance" and offered to repay the wages he had received over the summer, but steadfastly refused to give up the hotel. The United board were equally resolute and in September, Gough was suspended by the FA, and a month later saw his FA registration cancelled. He was left in limbo, with Sheffield United demanding a fee of 2,400 from any potential buyers. Gough's appeal to the Football League for a reduction was rejected and he was told he could not even re-register as an amateur to play for local clubs, though he spent some time with Castleford and Harrogate Town. The decision to become a publican in Castleford broke the conditions of his contract and he was suspended from playing in August 1924 and left Bramall Lane at the end of the 1923-24 season. Gough was suspended by his club and Football Association (both headed by Charlie Clegg) in May 1924 for six months for breaking club rules. He was placed on the transfer list with an almost three thousand pounds asking fee, he would never play for United again. In his final game for United was in the 1923-24 Sheffield and Hallamshire County Cup Final victory over The Wednesday at Hillsborough by 2-0. He had made two hundred and forty-two league appearances. The FA cancelled his professional registration and he was allowed to return to Castleford Town FC of the Midland League again in January 1925 until the end of the season and was rumoured to be joining Newcastle United FC in July 1925. The United Directors reduced their asking price for Gough in November 1925, with The Arsenal FC showing an interest. Then while Gough was playing at Harrogate FC of Yorkshire League, Oldham Athletic FC put in a bid of 500 before they finally paid United 750 on 26th January 1927 for the goalkeeper, they also had to compensate Harrogate. He made four league appearances before being sold to Bolton Wanderers on 30th November 1927 as cover for Dick Pym, who had broken his arm, and Gough made just four league appearances, before joining Torquay United FC on 13th June 1928. He immediately dislodged Archie Bayes as Torquay's first choice goalkeeper, missing just three games in his first season. He played seventeen times the following season, losing his place to Bayes, and retired at the end of the season having played fifty-six League games and four FA Cup games between the summer of 1928 and 1930. He retired through injury, playing his last match against Fulham on 29th March 1930, where he tore a knee ligament. From the 1931, he was on the referees list for the West Riding Football Association. Unfortunately, he had a leg amputated in 1963.One of a line of top-class goalkeepers with links to Chesterfield, he died on 16th June 1970 at the age of seventy-nine.

A series of quotes from Newspapers of the time shows the situation as it progressed and culminated in his departure from Sheffield United.

"Mr. Arthur Robins, captain and team manager of the Castleford Town Football Club, has died at his home, the Railway Hotel, Castleford, after an illness lasting nearly three months." - Wednesday, 19 March 1924, The Yorkshire Evening Post

"Gough, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, has taken over the license of the Railway Hotel at Castleford. This will probably mean the end of his career with the Sheffield team." - Saturday, 23 August 1924, The Derbyshire Times.

"It is understood that Harold Gough, the Sheffield United custodian, met the directors again yesterday, and that their differences have been adjusted. It is understood that Gough has undertaken to repay the sum of 84 summer wages which was claimed from him, and that the club have agreed to place Gough on the transfer list." - Thursday, 11 September 1924, The Yorkshire Post.

"The breach between Sheffield United and Harold Gough has widened so considerably that I doubt if all the oil in the world would smoothen out the troubled waters. You will know that the United have cancelled Gough's agreement, asked for a return of 84 summer wages, and written to the F.A. asking them to debar Gough from taking part in football in the future, either as player or manager. And all because Gough has taken over a licensed house in Castleford. I know Gough rather well, and I have realised that he is a player who will always put club before self. He has done this often enough, and I cannot think that Gough took any unfair advantage last May when he accepted another year's engagement. In fact, I am assured that he did not know anything about a licensed house coming his way until the middle of July, and then he had to act quickly or not at all. When a man is past thirty his mind turns to other things besides football as a means of a livelihood. Gough merely put in a formal application for the position and then reported the matter to his directors.Why, then, have the United taken such drastic and - a good word this - revengeful steps? Why despoil a fine player and club servant of a fine reputation and take measures to hound him out of the game? Bolton Wanderers didn't hound Frank Roberts out of football. They simply placed him on the transfer list, and kept inviolate their club rule." - Saturday, 13 September 1924, The Derby Daily Telegraph.

"The Sheffield United Football Club have taken the important step of placing before the Football Association and the Football League the whole matter between themselves and Harold Gough, their international goalkeeper. It is fairly generally known that the trouble between the Sheffield United club and the player arose over the fact that Gough took over the business of a licensed victualler. This action meant that the player had broken one of the clauses of his agreement, which stipulates that a player shall not live on premises or take part in a business which the club think unsuitable." - The Nottingham Evening Post, Friday, 19 September 1924.

"Was ever a more piquant situation created than that which has arisen through the acceptance by Harold Gough of a licensed house at Castleford? You know what has happened to the player. He has been told that he must repay wages paid him during the summer, and that he will not, if the Sheffield United club can help it, be allowed to take part in future football either as a manager or player. Now, 'tis whispered, Sheffield United mean to seek compenasation from Gough for a breach of contract. As for this latest rumoured development, I can hardly believe that the United will carry the case to the Law Courts, for that is what it would mean. The F.A., and the League have never set clubs an example in this way. They are a law unto themselves, and never have recourse to the other and more costly law." - Saturday, 11 October 1924, The Derby Daily Telegraph

"The Sheffield United Club complained that H. Gough had broken his agreement, thus placing the club in a very diffuclt position. The Council approved the detrmination of the agreement, and decided to cancel the registration of Gough as a professional, and to suspend him until January 1 next. The Chairman intimated that as ths was the first case of the kind the punishment was lenient, but any similar future case would be more severly dealt with. Mr. Clegg did not adjudicate in this matter." - Tuesday, 28 October 1924, The Yorkshire Post.

"The penalty which the F.A. has imposed upon Harold Gough, who is now a licensee in Castleford, is regarded with general satisfaction, because the general opinion seemed to be that the old Castleford Town goalkeeper would get at least 12 months' suspension." - Saturday, 8 November 1924, The Lancashire Daily Post

War-time Guest AppearancesGoals
Principal Tournament 20
Subsidiary Tournament 00
Total 20