Player profile

Walter Wadsworth

Walter Wadsworth

Birthdate: 7 October 1890
Birthplace: Bootle, Liverpool, England
Date of death: 6 October 1951
Other clubs: Lingdale (1910-11), Ormskirk (1911-12), Bristol City (1926-28), Flint Town (1928-29), New Brighton (1929-30), Oswestry Town (1930-31)
Bought from: Ormskirk
Signed for LFC: April 1912
Liverpool debut: 20.03.1915
Last appearance: 03.04.1926
Debut goal: 28.08.1920
Last goal: 21.10.1922
Contract expiry: 14.05.1926
Win ratio: 48.35% W:117 D:66 L:59
Honours: League Championship 1921/22, 1922/23
Wartime games/goals: 114 / 9
LFC league games/goals: 218 / 7
Total LFC games/goals: 242 / 8

Player profile

Before the likes of Gerry Byrne, Ron Yeats, Tommy Smith and Jamie Carragher, the defender who had his opponents shaking in their boots was Liverpool's original hard man, Walter Wadsworth from Bootle. After reading through several match reports at the time it becomes quite evident that Wadsworth was the quintessential tough man who referees had on quite a few occasions give a talking to because of the severity of his challenges. Wadsworth wasn't though just going around kicking people and was quite an accomplished footballer. Wadsworth was at the heart of one of the best defences in the history of the club with Elisha Scott, full-backs Ephraim Longworth and Donald Mackinlay and his fellow half-backs Jock McNab and Tom Bromilow. Equipped with this excellent back five Liverpool won and retained the League championship in 1922 and 1923.


Wadsworth's temper tended to boil over on the field to his opposition players' suffering, but the fans of his adversaries also had to watch out. Spectators gave the players an ear-bashing as well back then and in one particular game against Sheffield United on 1 December 1923 at Bramall Lane Wadsworth snapped when goaded by a United fan. Wadsworth was unrepentant about this incident as evident by his article in the Topical Times, which was published the following week: "Let me state here and now that I hit a spectator, I admit it. I think I was justified because a spectator called me something that I will allow no man to call me. It must not be imagined that because a spectator has paid his bob that he can, willy-nilly, help himself in the epithets department. He has no justification for something worse than swearing at the players. He has not the right to shout vile words at them. I hope the action I took will lead to the offenders realising that they cannot lean over the railings and offer vile insults at footballers. After the match I begged the people of Sheffield to bring the man to the dressing room to see me. No-one came, I am sorry to say, and I am more than sorry that the man has not gone to court, for then the facts would be published and it would be seen by all in the game of football how some spectators carry on."

Wadsworth portrayed as tackling a bit high in this instance!
In his obituary it was said that one of his slogans were: "Ball may pass me, but man never!"

Wadsworth's career low came on 14 February 1925 at Anfield. Newcastle's Urwin threw mud at Wadsworth who in return punched him in the face. Wadsworth was banned by the League for the remainder of the season and only made a further four appearances for Liverpool before signing in May 1926 for Alex Raisbeck's Bristol City at the ripe old age of 36. He became Bristol City's captain which won Third Division South and also featured in 27 second division games. He played into his 40's with Oswestry Town. A tremendous competitor who never gave in for Liverpool's or any other team's cause! Sunderland legend and England player Charlie Buchan described Wadsworth as the most difficult half-back he had faced. "You never know what he's going to do next. He's so unorthodox and seems to 'get there' without disclosing his intentions." 


At one time P.N.E. looked dangerous so Wadsworth met them and bowled the lot into the net. (Click pic to enlarge)

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 218 23 0 0 1 242
1914-1915 1 0 0 0 0 1
1919-1920 33 5 0 0 0 38
1920-1921 42 3 0 0 0 45
1921-1922 38 3 0 0 1 42
1922-1923 37 4 0 0 0 41
1923-1924 37 5 0 0 0 42
1924-1925 25 3 0 0 0 28
1925-1926 5 0 0 0 0 5

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
14 Sunderland
13 Bolton Wanderers
13 WBA
13 Arsenal
12 Everton
12 Huddersfield Town
12 Blackburn Rovers
11 Newcastle United
11 Preston North End
10 Middlesbrough
10 Manchester City
10 Burnley
9 Birmingham City
9 Tottenham
9 Sheffield United
8 Oldham Athletic
7 Chelsea
7 Cardiff City
7 Aston Villa
7 Bradford City
6 Notts County
5 Nottingham Forest
5 Manchester United
4 Bradford Park Avenue
3 Derby
3 West Ham United
2 Southampton
2 Stoke City
2 Gateshead
2 Sheffield Wednesday
1 Wolves
1 Bristol City
1 Leeds United
1 Luton Town
Total Competition
218 League
23 FA Cup
1 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 7 1 0 0 0 8
1914-1915 0 0 0 0 0 0
1919-1920 0 0 0 0 0 0
1920-1921 5 0 0 0 0 5
1921-1922 0 1 0 0 0 1
1922-1923 2 0 0 0 0 2
1923-1924 0 0 0 0 0 0
1924-1925 0 0 0 0 0 0
1925-1926 0 0 0 0 0 0

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Competition
7 League
1 FA Cup
Total Open play/Penalty
8 Open play

Wartime Appearances / Goals

Season Appearances Goals
1915-1916 20 2
1916-1917 30 2
1917-1918 30 3
1918-1919 34 2

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 20.03.1915 Middlesbrough Ayresome Park League
50 23.10.1920 Everton Anfield League
100 26.11.1921 Middlesbrough Ayresome Park League
150 06.01.1923 Chelsea Anfield League
200 12.03.1924 Bolton Wanderers Burnden Park League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 0 28.08.1920 Manchester City Anfield League

Related Articles

Liverpool: The Complete Record review from Well Red

Review of Liverpool: The Complete Record by Jacqueline Wadsworth, granddaughter of Liverpool hard man, Walter Wadsworth, from the excellent Well Red magazine. More

No love on St. Valentine’s Day

Nottingham Evening Post on 3 March 1925.More

Big Waddy on a cigarette card

Walter Wadsworth was a commanding centre-half who played in 74 out of a maximum 84 matches when Liverpool won and then retained the League championship in 1922 & 1923.More

Read all about Liverpool!

This review of The Liverpool Encyclopedia is by Jacqueline Wadsworth, granddaughter of Liverpool hard man, Walter Wadsworth. Published in the sadly defunct Well Red magazine December 2013. More

Related Quotes

"As a centre-half Wadsworth is now one of the hardest nuts an opposing forward can expect to meet."

The Liverpool Echo on Walter Wadsworth

"I think the game was tougher in my day. I remember one match in the early twenties when Wadsworth injured a leg and I saw blood coming out of his boot. I told him to get some attention to it and his reply was: “Who’s blood is it, yours or mine?’ and went on playing."

63-year-old Donald Mackinlay, former captain of Liverpool, remembers Walter Wadsworth in an interview in 1955.

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Lingdale 1910-1911 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ormskirk 1911-1912 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Bristol City 1926-1927 England Third Division South 40 0 40 0
Bristol City 1927-1928 England Second Division 27 1 28 1
Flint Town 1928-1929 Wales N/A N/A N/A N/A
New Brighton 1928-1929 England Third Division North 20 2 20 2
New Brighton 1929-1930 England Third Division North 35 1 37 1
Oswestry Town 1930-1931 Birmingham & District League N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total 122 4 125 4
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