1 February: Tommy Lawton leaves Arsenal for Kettering

1 February 1956 – Tommy Lawton left Arsenal

Tommy Lawton was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, on 6 October 1919 and signed for his first club, Burnley of Division II, in 1935.  In 1937 at the age of 17 he moved on to Everton of Division I for £6500 playing next to Dixie Dean.  He quickly made it into the England team.

During the war he was a PT instructor in the army and after the war joined Chelsea for £11,500. However it is said that he didn’t like London and so moved on – surprisingly to Notts County of Division III for £20,000.

In 1952 he became player manager at Brentford, but unlike his time at Notts County, this didn’t work out for him.  So in November 1953 he was signed by Tom Whittaker, and moved to Arsenal for £10,000.

He played 38 games and scored 15 times before retiring.  During his time the club had come 12th and 9th, and been knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round on each occasion.

After leaving Arsenal Lawton moved on to Kettering Town as manager.  Arsenal had had close links with Kettering for many years, including very close ties during the Chapman era.

Then he moved back to Notts County, but although he had had success at Kettering this did not continue and County were relegated under him, at which point he left football for good apart from being a scout for a short while, instead working as a journalist.

He had one final spell in football as caretaker manager at Kettering Town during the 1963–64 season but Kettering were then relegated.

Tommy Lawton died in November 1996, aged 77.  His ashes are lodged at The National Football Museum and in 2003 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

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