A local football leagues legend

The Ecclesfield Red Rose 1958-9 treble-winning team
The Ecclesfield Red Rose 1958-9 treble-winning team

Retro reader Mike Lawton has been in touch to celebrate a local football club star who went on to become a professional player.

Retro reader Mike Lawton has been in touch to celebrate a local football club star who went on to become a professional player.

Mike wrote: “There are a number of people who might be classed as a legend in local league football, but few, if any, could claim to be as successful as Frank Bungay, both as a player, and then, a manager. Frank's son, Brian, highlights his father's achievements.                             

“Frank Bungay, along with his brothers, and sister, were born in Ecclesfield, although their parents hailed from the Bournemouth and Christchurch areas.

After leaving school, he played football, first for a youth team, and then, in his late teens, for Ecclesfield Red Rose.He was a centre forward and in one match at Ecclesfield Park, their home ground, he scored 15 goals, which, along with all the goals he had scored in other matches, attracted the attention of professional clubs.                     

“He had his pick of a number of clubs and in 1930 signed for Huddersfield Town, who were then in the old division one, the equivalent of today's Premier League. During his professional career, he also played for Stoke City, and Southend United.

“Whilst at Southend, Bolton Wanderers came in for him but, in a move that would be unheard of in today's game, Midland league team Boston United made a late, but successful bid for him.

“They offered better terms, and a professional contract. It was to prove beneficial to both parties as in his first season at Boston he scored 61 goals, a club record that still stands to this day.

“After his playing days were over, he returned to Ecclesfield Red Rose as secretary in 1956 and was then appointed as manager in 1958. When he took over as manager, he shed all the players from the previous team, then held trials at Thorncliffe Sports Ground, High Green, to form a new team.                   

“In this  team, there were three young lads from Ecclesfield, goalkeeper Graham Lewis, defender Trevor Greaves and winger Terry Lambert, and in their first season, the club won the Amateur League, Division One, the League Cup, then to top it all, the Sheffield Junior Cup.

“Such was the atmosphere created by the club, when they played the Junior Cup final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground, there was an attendance just short of 6,000, a record for that level of local football in Sheffield, which still stands today.                       

“Red Rose then went on to win the Amateur League a further 12 times, before moving up to the Hatchard League, where they were promoted as winners of the second division, then won the first division, and their league cup as well.

“A further promotion took them into the County Senior League, where they emulated the success in previous leagues, by winning the second division, then the first, as well as the league cups, the added to it by winning the Tinsley Charity Shield.                 

“As manager for 20 years, Frank, with his players, won everything they had competed for, 31 trophies in total, which could well be a record for local league football.

“All the players from that 1958-79 period played their part in the club's success, the 'golden era', in the 100-plus years history of Ecclesfield Red Rose. Among them wer, Derek Burden, Jack Fowler, Tony Kenyon, Alf Denial, Dave Bamford, Mickey Williams, Dennis Beevers, Keith Harper, Mick Fidler, Mick Morton, Brian Mellor and many more, too numerous to mention.                       

“Frank left Red Rose in 1979, having gone as far as he could with the team, who could not be promoted any further due to ground restrictions. When he called it a day, many Rose supporters said they would never have as good a manager again, and a record of 31 trophies will certainly take some beating.  Frank Bungay is definitely a ‘local leagues legend'.”