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History

Yesterdays: Owls legend creates international history

18 June 2021

England face Scotland in Euro 2020 on Friday evening and memories of a blue and white flavour will be evoked along the way.

Only three England players have scored a hat-trick against Scotland. The first was Sheffield Wednesday’s Fred Spiksley.

Spiksley won every major honour with The Wednesday and scored both Owls goals as we beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 in the 1896 FA Cup final.

The winger had been signed in 1891 from Gainsborough Trinity, his hometown club, and made his England debut in March 1893 against Wales, scoring three times in a six-nil success. He was subsequently selected to play against Scotland on 1 April 1893.

It was the first time that members of the Royal Family attended an international football match and would see a 24-year-old Princess Mary, who later became Queen in 1910, running along the touchline next to the Owls legend during the game!

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The venue was Richmond Park in South London, which held a capacity of 12,000, but 20,000 supporters were present.

The game was finely poised at 2-2 in the second half when Spiksley noticed the bare footed Princess running next to him on the touchline!

The Wednesday great was not to be distracted, though, and opened his account to put England 3-2 up on 78 minutes.

Outside right Billy Bassett collected the ball and sent over a superb 60-yard pass that Fred met nine yards out, smashing home with his left foot.

On 80 minutes, Bassett hit another long ball out to the left, where Edgar Chadwick and Spiksley combined to send the latter towards goal. The result was inevitable as the Wednesday man doubled his tally.

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Just moments later, Spiksley found himself through once more. His shot from distance was parried by John Lindsay in the Scotland goal and the ball fell to Robert Cotterill, he squared for Spiksley who volleyed home to make it 5-2.

In recognition of becoming the first England player to score a hat-trick against Scotland the FA presented Spiksley with a gold fob watch chain, detailed with a small metal plate that bore an inscription that credited the hat-trick.

Spiksley was to play three times in all against Scotland, winning two and drawing once. He was the man-of-the-match in England’s 3-1 win at Celtic Park in 1898. The England forward line that day is considered by reporters of that period to be the finest fielded by the country before WWI.

A paperback edition of the popular book, ‘Flying over an Olive Grove: The remarkable story of Fred Spiksley’ will soon be available in the Owls Megastore. The new edition includes totally new materials on Spiksley as a coach and reveals him to be a man far ahead of his time.

For more information on one of Wednesday’s all-time greats, please CLICK HERE.


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