William Foulke (footballer)

William Foulke (footballer)

Infobox Football biography
playername = William Foulke

fullname = William Henry Foulke
dateofbirth = birth date|1874|4|12|df=y
cityofbirth = Dawley, Shropshire
countryofbirth = England
dateofdeath = death date and age|1916|5|1|1874|4|12|df=y
cityofdeath = Sheffield
countryofdeath = England
height = height|ft=6|in=4
weight = weight|st=26|lb=0
nickname = Fatty
position = Goalkeeper
youthyears =
youthclubs = Blackwell Colliery
years = 1894–1905
clubs = Sheffield United
Bradford City
caps(goals) = 299 (0)
034 (0)
022 (0)
nationalyears = 1897
nationalteam = England
nationalcaps(goals) = 001 (0)
manageryears =
managerclubs =

William Henry "Fatty" Foulke (also spelt Foulk or Foulkes) (12 April 1874 – 1 May 1916) was a professional cricketer and football player in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Foulke was renowned for his great size (height|ft=6|in=4 [cite news
title=Can footballers large it?
work=BBC News
] by some estimates) and weight, reaching perhaps 24 stone (150 kg) at the end of his career, although reports on his weight vary.

Playing career

He played four first-class matches for Derbyshire County Cricket Club in 1900, but is remembered primarily as a goalkeeper for Sheffield United although he also played for Chelsea and Bradford City. He also won a single international cap for England in 1897 against Wales.

After being discovered playing for village side Blackwell in a Derbyshire Cup tie at Ilkeston Town, Foulke made his debut for Sheffield United against West Bromwich Albion on September 1, 1894 and led the team to three FA Cup finals (winning two) and a League Championship.

At the end of the first match in the 1902 Cup Final Foulke protested to the officials that Southampton's equalizing goal should not have been allowed. Foulke left his dressing room unclothed and pursued the referee, Fred Kirkham, who took refuge in a broom cupboard. Foulke had to be stopped by a group of F.A. officials from wrenching the cupboard door from its hinges to reach the hapless referee. [An account of the incident by the match linesman J. T. Howcroft suggests this version may be an embellishment of the facts. See "Colossus", p. 79.] In the replay, Sheffield United won 2–1, with Foulke being required to make several saves to keep United in the match. He was also in goal for United when they suffered an FA Cup exit to Second Division Burslem Port Vale in 1898. [ [http://www.freewebs.com/captainbeecher/number63.htm Giant Killers #63] ]

He then moved to Chelsea for a fee of £50 and was made club captain. Foulke, by now was remarkably temperamental. If he thought his defenders were not trying hard enough, he would walk off the field. Opposing forwards who incurred his displeasure would be picked up and thrown bodily into his goal. He was however a great crowd puller, and Chelsea decided to exploit this. To draw even more attention to his size, they placed two small boys behind his goal in an effort to distract the opposition even more. The boys would sometimes run and return the ball when it went out of play, and quite by accident, ball boys came into being. [The Sunday Times "Illustrated History Of Football". Reed International Books Limited. 1996. p16 ISBN 1-856-13341-9] Foulke stayed for just one season before moving to his final club, Bradford City.

Foulke died in 1916. His death certificate gives "cirrhosis" as the major cause of death. [cite book
last = Phythian
first = Graham
title = Colossus, The True Story of William Foulke
publisher = Tempus Publishing
year = 2005
pages =
isbn = 0 7524 3274 5
] The stories of pneumonia caught whilst earning pin money at a "beat the goalie" booth on Blackpool Sands seem to be without foundation.

Foulke appears in the Mitchell and Kenyon films, playing in a match on September 6, 1902.


* The football chant "Who Ate All the Pies?" is said to have originally been about Foulke, although this is generally accepted as an urban myth. [Daily Mirror, [http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2007/11/09/football-legend-inspired-pie-chant-89520-20083992/ Football Legend Inspired Pie Chant] ]
* During the 1896-97 season Foulke brought a First Division game to a halt by hanging off the crossbar when bored and snapping it. [ [http://www.sufc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/YearByYear/0,,10418,00.html Error | Sheffield United | System | Error Page ] at www.sufc.premiumtv.co.uk]
* Foulke's portrait was featured on the cover of the 1902 FA Cup final programme.
* Buried in Burngreave cemetery,Sheffield.

Career stats


Sheffield United

*Football League Division One
**Championship: 1897-98
**Runner-up: 1896-97 and 1899-00

* FA Cup
**Winner: 1899, 1902
**Finalist: 1901


External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3641708 BBC Guide]
*englandstats|id=365|name=William Foulke

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