1897–98 Blackpool F.C. season

Blackpool F.C.
Season 1897-98
LeagueDivision Two
League position11th
Top goalscorerJack Cox (12)
Highest home attendance4,000 (v. Burnley, Newton Heath and Darwen)[1]
Lowest home attendance200 (v. Luton Town)[1]
Previous season1896-97
Next season1898-99

The 1897–98 season was Blackpool F.C.'s second consecutive season in the Football League. They competed in the sixteen-team Division Two, then the second tier of English football, finishing eleventh.

New signings for the season included Jack Cox from South Shore, Jack Leadbetter, Frank Wilson, and McHardie. Out had gone Fred Thompson (after making only six appearances the previous season), Tom Bradshaw, and John Clarke.

Cox was the club's top scorer, with twelve goals in seventeen appearances.[2] Goalkeeper William Douglas was ever-present throughout the club's 30 league games for the second consecutive season.

Season review

The season commenced with a trip to local rivals Burnley. The hosts won 5–1, and even Blackpool’s goal was scored by a Clarets player.

Seven days later, the fixture was reversed. Jimmy Martin, Blackpool’s second-top scorer the previous season, scored the home side’s goal in a 1–1 draw.

Three consecutive defeats followed: 2–0 at home to Manchester City, 1–0 at Newton Heath, and 4–1 at Gainsborough Trinity. Laurence Halsall scored Blackpool’s goal in the latter game.

On 9 October, Blackpool recorded their first win of the season, 2–1 at home to Burton Swifts. Jack Cox, in only his second start for the club since his arrival from South Shore, scored both Blackpool goals.

Cox scored another brace in the following game, a 4–1 victory over Small Heath at Stanley Park's Athletic Grounds. John Clarkin and Bob Birkett netted the other goals for the home side.

On 23 October, Blackpool travelled to Newcastle United and returned empty-handed after a 2–0 defeat.

November proved to be a fruitless month, with defeats at Leicester Fosse (4–1), Darwen (3–1), Woolwich Arsenal (2–1) and Luton Town (3–1). Martin scored Blackpool’s goals in the first three losses, and Clarkin in the final one.

After a three-week break, Blackpool beat Gainsborough Trinity 5–0 at the Athletic Grounds. Cox, Harry Stirzaker and Jack Parkinson scored, alongside two own-goals by the visitors.

Cox scored two more in the following game a week later, a 3–2 home defeat by Newcastle.

1897 was closed out with a 6–0 defeat at Walsall.

Blackpool began the New Year with a 3–3 draw at home to Woolwich Arsenal. Cox netted twice, with Birkett also scoring.

On 8 January, Parkinson and Martin combined to lift Blackpool to a 2–1 victory over Leicester Fosse.

Continuing their inconsistent season, the Seasiders lost the following game, their third consecutive home match, 4–0 to Newton Heath.

At the end of the month, Blackpool travelled to Small Heath and recorded a 3–2 victory. Parkinson, Martin and Cox were the scorers.

February began with a defeat, 3–2 at Lincoln City; however, Blackpool exacted revenge six days later in the return match: two goals apiece from Birkett and Cox, plus one more from Parkinson, gave them a 5–0 victory. This was Cox's final appearance for Blackpool before he was sold to Liverpool, but his twelve goals remained unbeaten in the remaining nine games.

Birkett scored in the following game, at Burton Swifts on 26 February, but he could not carry them to victory, Swifts winning 2–1.

Blackpool didn’t play again until 19 March, when they travelled to Grimsby Town. The home side won 3–0.

Seven days later, Blackpool hosted Loughborough. Goals from Birkett and Jack Leadbetter, his first of the season, gave Blackpool a 2–0 victory.

March ended with a 3–3 draw at Manchester City, featuring two goals from Parkinson and one from Clarkin.

Another draw followed, this time 1–1 with Walsall, in the first of five consecutive home games for Blackpool. Martin scored his seventh of the season.

On 8 April, Clarkin scored the only goal of the game as Blackpool beat Darwen.

Eight days later, Leadbetter scored his second goal of the season in a 1–1 draw with Grimsby.

Leadbetter was also one of the scorers as Blackpool completed a double over Loughborough. Parkinson (two) and Birkett scored the other goals of the 4–0 victory. Blackpool started the match a man short.

The season ended with a single-goal victory over Luton, Clarkin scoring his fifth of the campaign.


2Newcastle United[3]30213664322.00045
3Manchester City30159666361.83339
4Newton Heath30166864351.82938
5Woolwich Arsenal30165969491.40837
6Small Heath301641058501.16036
7Leicester Fosse301371046351.31433
8Luton Town301341368501.36030
9Gainsborough Trinity301261250540.92630
12Grimsby Town301041652620.83924
13Burton Swifts30851738690.55121
14Lincoln City30651943820.52417

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points

Player statistics


Players used: 19


Total goals scored: 46 (plus three own-goals)



Date Player From Fee
1897 James BanksUnknownUnknown
1897 G. CardwellUnknownUnknown
1897 Jack CoxSouth ShoreUnknown
1897 Laurence HalsallSouthport CentralUnknown
1897 Bill KeechUnknownUnknown
1897 Jack LeadbetterUnknownUnknown
1897 D. McHardieUnknownUnknown
1897 Frank WilsonUnknownUnknown


The following players left after the final game of the previous season:

Date Player To Fee
1897Fred ThompsonUnknownUnknown
1897Tom BradshawUnknownUnknown
1897John ClarkeUnknownUnknown


  1. 1 2 Attendances were approximated by the reporter at the ground.
  2. Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887-1992, Breedon Books Sport ISBN 1-873626-07-X
  3. 1 2 Promoted to the expanded First Division
  4. Ever-present


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