Glorious 1911 - The Team
For the FA Cup Final Replay on Wednesday April 26th 1911 at Old Trafford, Manchester, there was only one change from the team which had played in the Final the previous Saturday. Robert Torrance took the place of William Gildea. Captain and goal-scorer Jimmy Speirs has his own page in the Front Room of Fame.
The rest of FA Cup winning team was:
Renowned for his hefty clearances, the popular full-back was one of the stars of the FA Cup triumph. On a tour of Belgium, the locals nicknamed him L’Aime, due to the fact he rarely had a smile off his face. Robert was a fine all-round sportsman, being a keen angler and a professional cricketer with the Clydesdale club.
He retired to Scotland during World War One. He died in Ayr County Hospital in 1931, aged only 49.
He made 51 appearances for the Bantams, but only seven months after the Cup final he joined Burnley for a large fee. At Turf Moor he won the League Championship and another FA Cup in 1914.
Taylor returned to his native Scotland at the end of his playing career, where he became manager of St Johnstone and later Dunfermline. He came back to England to take charge of Carlisle United, before retiring to Perth in 1939. He died at Bridge of Allen in 1950.
Jimmy played in the FA Cup Final of 1911 and captained the side in the days leading up to the First World War. During the war he served in the Royal Field Artillery as a driver.
After the conflict Jimmy never really recovered his form and in May 1920 he signed for Raith Rovers. Sadly, before he had played a game he became ill and died in Batley hospital, aged just 40.
Born 1888, Kirkintilloch, north-east of Glasgow. Robert joined City for a mere £5 from Kirkintilloch Harp in August 1907. He made his debut on 28 November 1908 against Everton at Valley Parade. Though initially a full back, it was in central defence where he made his name.
Robert replaced William Gildea for the FA Cup Final replay against Newcastle United in 1911. He had a magnificent game and was widely acclaimed as the man-of-the-match. Such was his performance that the Football Association went to the almost unprecedented step of striking a medal to mark his decisive contribution.
He went onto establish himself as one of the finest centre-backs in the land. Robert played two international trial matches for Scotland in 1913 and 1914 - when Anglo-Scots met the Home-Scots. Had it not been for the outbreak of War, there’s little doubt that he would have established himself in the Scotland side.
Robert married Mary at Bradford Cathedral on the last day of 1916. Despite being an established first division footballer the couple set up home above Mary’s parents butchers shop at 103 Bridge Street – the shop was opposite the Bedford Arms, it was demolished during the 1960s. The couple later moved to a house near Bradford Moor Golf Course.
Perhaps because of his work with munitions, he became a gunner with ‘A’ battery, 162nd brigade, Royal Field Artillery. During the Germans’ final all-or-nothing offensive of 1918 Robert’s battery was part of the 33rd Division which fought at the Battle of Merville from the 10th-20th April 1918. After heavy fighting the division was relived on the 21st, but the artillery stayed in the line. They were sorely needed, the German offensive was unrelenting as they tried to break through to the Belgian town of Ypres and the Channel ports beyond.
The guns moved to a position on the Reninghelst-Poperinghe road on 22nd April to support the hard pressed 49th West Riding Division. Among the 49 Division were many Bradford soldiers. Indeed, part of their artillery was the 2nd West Riding Battery, who during August 1914 had spent a week based at Valley Parade itself as they awaited the order to move to France. The 1/6th infantry battalion was based at Belle Vue barracks, so doubtless Robert Torrance would have been recognized by many of the men his battery was now supporting.
Two days later on 24 April they were just south and east of Hallebast Crossroads on the west of the Kemmelbeek, with the horse lines at the crossroads. They came under heavy artillery fire, which decimated the batteries. The dead and injured were taken to Renhingelst and some as far back as Proven. Robert was seriously injured and had lost an arm.
Robert died later that day, there are conflicting reports about how he actually died. A comrade found several photographs and other personal effects scattered around the battlefield. He posted them back to Robert’s wife in Bradford along with the news that he had died of his wounds. However, some family members believe he was killed by shelling while being treated at a ‘field hospital’.
His death was reported in his hometown newspaper, the Kirkintilloch Herald, on 15 May.
"The Sporting Chronicle" of Saturday contained information that Bobby Torrance, the famous Bradford City centre half-back, whose smashing up tactics did so much to win the English cup for the Valley Parade club when they met Newcastle United in the replayed final at Old Trafford, in 1911, has been killed in action.
“Torrance belonged to Kirkintilloch, his family residing in Kerr Street. He served his apprenticeship in the boat-building yard of Messrs. J. & J. Hay, and before it was completed he joined the Bradford City team, going there from Kirkintilloch Harp. He was six seasons in England, and after the war broke out he came back to Kirkintilloch, and finished his apprenticeship. Thereafter he returned to Bradford, where he leaves a widow and one child. Up to a year ago he was employed on munitions, but learning of the death in action of James Speirs, the inside right who Captained the Bradford City team, he promptly enlisted in the R.F.A. and he has now died from wounds received on the Western front.”
Unsurprisingly, the report isn’t completely accurate. Jimmy Speirs was in fact still alive and well when Robert joined up in March 1917. Thus the reasons why he enlisted at that time are unknown.
Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, near Ypres, Belgium. Though the Tyne Cot memorial opened in July 1927, Robert’s name wasn’t added, along with 90 others, until 1930 on the addenda panel.
George came to Valley Parade from Nottingham Forest in June 1903. He played in City's first ever match at Grimsby on 1st September 1903. He went on to captain the side to the Second Division championship in 1908 and was vice-captain when City won the FA Cup in 1911.
After the First World War he retired to become City's trainer. It was a position he held until City's relegation from Division One in 1922. His 19-year association with the club had seen him amass 377 appearances and 19 goals. George was an unfussy half-back who was well regarded by the Valley Parade crowds.
Despite being a native of Nottingham, he remained in the city after leaving the club and worked in a garage near Valley Parade. He was a regular supporter till his death aged 67 on 11th March 1945.
He made 60 appearances for the club, scoring 11 goals - one of which was the vital second goal, which broke Blackburn Rovers’ challenge in the Cup semi-final.
He joined Arsenal in 1913 for the huge fee of £1,300. He later played for Shelbourne in Southern Ireland, before returning to his native Scotland and Cowdenbeath. He ended his career where it began with his local side Lochgelly United.
After retiring from the game he worked as a miner and dockyard worker at Rosyth. He lived a long life and was the last of the Cup winners when he died at Lochgelly in 1964.
Logan joined City from Edinburgh amateur club St Bernards in 1908. Though the undoubted highlight of his career was the FA Cup victory, Logan’s 43 goals from midfield made him a darling of the crowds.
After retiring from the game he became the licensee of the Girlington Hotel. He died in the Toller Lane district of the city in 1944 aged 54.
At the outbreak of the First World War Frank drove a taxi in Bradford before joining the Royal Flying Corp.
He retired in June 1926 and returned to Scotland and his native Bargeddie where he died on Christmas Eve 1954 aged 77.
Thompson stayed at Valley Parade only three years, but won seven Irish caps during that time. He departed for Clyde in 1913, where he eventually became their player-manager. Frank later managed Irish club Glentoran. He died in Ayr County Hospital in 1950.