When England football was a family affair ...

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HE himself may have been known as the Prince of Full-Backs, but it’s been fascinating to learn that Warney Cresswell belonged to a wider and similarly distinguished footballing family.

South Shields Museum, you may recall, is trying to track down descendants of the famous Shields-born England player, in respect of memorabilia relating to him in its collection.

I’ve since been pleased, though, to have these other photographs of Warney, and the Shields side he played for, from Bob Wray.

He remembers Warney’s son, Corbett Cresswell, who lived in Sunderland Road at Harton. “That was when I knew him well some 20 years ago,” says Bob.

“He was a fine footballer and a commanding centre-half, an amateur with Bishop Auckland in the 1950s, as well as an FA Amateur Cup winner at Wembley, and played for the England amateur international team on seven occasions. He later played professionally with Carlisle United.

“His uncle, Frank, Warney’s’ younger brother, was captain of the England School Boys’ International XI and later with Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.

“Their’s was a most distinguished South Shields football family!” he says.

With the regard to the team photograph that was featured, Bob tells me it was taken at the club’s Horsley Hill Road stadium during September 1919.

“The actual date isn’t known, but it is one of several inaugural Football League Division Two commemorative photographs.

“South Shields’ football league career lasted until 1930.”

Of Warney himself, he says he gained seven full caps during his illustrious career, and was the only South Shields AFC player to be so honoured.

Later in his career he also played for Sunderland and Everton. For the former, he was the subject of a then-record transfer fee of £5,500 from South Shields. This was in 1922.

Says Bob: “South Shields – then nicknamed the Seasiders – had several other international players before and after Cresswell, though with caps gained with other clubs.

“Shieldsman Jack Tinn, originally of St Peter and St Paul’s Rugby Club and later much noted for wearing spats, enjoyed a 20-year management with Portsmouth, after leaving Shields, which included an FA Cup win.”