Any army footballers turned professional?


Has there been any known soldiers who have turned professional as the result of playing within the army teams?


War Hero
Guy Whittingham (Aston Villa and Portsmouth), Lee Bradbury (Portsmouth, elsewhere, currently Southend), Maik Taylor (Fulham, currently Birmingham), ? Holt (Norwich, currently?).

I'm sure there are others apart from those who are, i think, the higher profile names.


Matt Le Tisier, Southampton and sadly the best England player that Venables etc wouldnt call up!
Maik Taylor (Fulham, currently Birmingham),
Don't forget he is a Northern Ireland hero.

Form has dropped recently, and he is getting on a bit, but he has been a real star for us and will always be a firm favourtie of the GAWA.

REME too I think!
1953 Stan Mortensen scored the only FA Cup final hat trick of the twentieth century yet the game instantly became known as the Matthews Final.

Oh - sorry. He was RAF


Going the other way, from the ARRSEpedia:

The Bolton Artillery are one of the few units which carried on the Great War tradition of "Pals" units. Fifteen professional footballers from Bolton Wanderers joined the Bolton Artillery en mass in 1939 and served together at Dunkirk, El Alemein, Iraq and in Italy. The only fatal casualty was the team captain, Lieutenant Harry Goslin MC KIA in Italy as an FOO. This story, worthy of a boys comic has appeared in a book "The War Time Wanderers".

Wiki link


War Hero
Depends on how you look at it.
As stated by FluffyBunny a lot of sportsmen (and women) joined up and subsequently died. In an era of very few sporting heroes and limited media their deaths were genuinely felt and the high command at the time decided that it was not "good for morale".
Hence during WW2 a lot of sportsmen/personalities who volunteered were moved to positions which would involve limited danger with maximum publicity for the troops and public unless the person totally insisted on "front line duties".
After WW2 with the advent of conscription, well take your pick from thousands and nearly every sportsmen of the day. A lot of professionals were released for weekends training "weeks" etc. (I believe one of the charlton brothers was in a Guards Regiment for example)
Matt Le Tissier was not a serviceman - although he did service Emily Symonds comprehensively!


Cuddles said:
Matt Le Tissier was not a serviceman - although he did service Emily Symonds comprehensively!
The story I was told was that he was bought out PVR'd from RCT or similar after being spotted by a footy coach at a sunday league match near Pompey!. Need to do some research, time for google! Lets face it with a smile like his only the naafi could have done his dentistry!
Seems you are a god amongst mongies our cuddles:Some ugly southampton player!
Gone down in my estimation now! Who fed me that line?
Justin Whittle is another played with Gary Holt at Celtic before they left Parkhead. Current Army keeper is olso getting out in a few weeks to turn pro, don't know where he's going though.


War Hero
Slightly off thread but the only professional footballer to have won the VC was 2Lt Donald Simpson Bell who won it serving with the Green Howards around Contalmaison (part of the Somme) in 1916.

A memorial was unveiled in 2000. Link below!

The Bell Memorial

Edited to add: Wiki Page
Mick Cheetham (28 Sigs and the School of Signals) variously for Cambridge, Chesterfield and a couple of others, also at the same time Steve Welsh, Barnet/Peterborough and Partick Thistle. Both great players.

There was a lad at 21 Sigs in 82, who got out and ended up playing for Sunerland (Paul Lemon I think his name was)

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