Archive. Football. Statistic & History
Document |
A document created by for the whole football community
Billy Meredith: Giants of Soccer II.

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-04-13 21:59:18

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Billy Meredith | 14/10/1934 —

In all my football experience — and remember I turned out when I was over forty-eight years of age — I have never met the equal of Robert Crompton, the famous right full back of Blackburn Rovers and an England captain for years.
Football lovers to-day talk of the Crompton-Pennington association as an institution; just in the same way as, in the north, you hear the names of Duckworth, Roberts and Bell linked together as the finest club half-back line that ever played together in the days of Manchester United's more prosperous times.
How I have admired Bob Crompton. Some may say that I have never actually played against him, but in his early days he used to operate on the left flank, and, I'll be candid, I was rather pleased when he crossed to his proper position.
Crompton played on thirty-four occasions for England against Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but actually he was a representative of an England team in all types of games on well over that number.
I might have included Howard Spencer, the Aston Villa right full back, as the "best ever," but Howard, although such a brilliant player, was not, in my humble opinion, quite up to Bob Crompton's standard. They used to call Spencer Gentleman Howard, for he was never known to indulge in a shady trick.
Crompton takes full marks for practically everything that a good right full back should be. His positional play, his skill in clearing a ball — no matter how difficult it came to him — his upstanding carriage, his athletic figure, and his polished and suave way — mannerisms, if you like to call them that — were outstanding characteristics of a brilliant player.
Of course, Crompton had his problems. He often met his match, and in that connection I should think he would agree that Georgie Wall, the Manchester United and England international outside left, presented him with his greatest difficulty.
But what a game it was when those two came up against each other. Talk about a cat watching a mouse. Bob knew that he dare not give an inch of rope to Georgie, and Wall also knew that only by the best of football craft could he hope to get the better of Crompton. It was worth the admission price to see them alone.
Crompton never let either England or Blackburn down. Where is there another player who played so consistently well, and for so many years? A pity England cannot have such an automatic choice to-day. CROMPTON'S RIVALS
I place near rivals to Crompton's honour as first choice as outstanding right full back, to such as Gray (Glasgow Rangers), McNair (Celtic), McCracken (Newcastle), Goodall (Huddersfield) and Cresswell (Everton), but, for the purposes of comparison with Crompton, I think Tom Cooper, the Derby County and England full back, need serious consideration.
In fact, Cooper, in my opinion, is the best right back in the country to-day. Tom, with his fair hair, which makes so conspicuous on the field, has all the essentials necessary for a good defender.
He does not command the height of the brilliance that Bob Crompton did, but for all that Cooper is outstanding.
Cooper thinks and acts simultaneously, and I would urge all young players to watch him closely, because only by studying the masters one learns the finer points of the game.
I have seen Cooper engaged in many exciting games, and, like Crompton, never can it be said that he has let his side down. Enthusiasm oozes from him, and you can see in an instant that he loves the game apart from the livelihood it offers. A footballer who is not in love with his work will get nowhere.