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Fred Tilson
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Personal information
Full name Samuel Frederick Tilson
Date of birth 19 April 1904(1904-04-19)
Place of birth    Swinton, England
Playing position Centre Forward
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Manchester City 264 (110)   
National team
1934-1935 England 04 0(6)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Samuel Frederick "Fred" Tilson (19 April 1904 – 1972) was an association football player for Manchester City and England. He was born in Swinton, South Yorkshire. He was part of the City team that won both the FA Cup and the League Championship (Division 1) in the 1930s. He has been described as 'a quick thinker with an elusive body-swerve'[1].


Early life

Tilson was born in Swinton, South Yorkshire on 19 April 1904. He began his football career at Barnsley Congregationals and was able to play in both inside forward and centre forward positions. He subsequently moved to Barnsley where he played alongside Eric Brook. The form of both players attracted bigger teams and in 1928 they were both transferred to Manchester City for a combined fee of £6,000,[2] the pair making their debuts on 17 March against Grimsby Town[3]. Brook and Tilson joined a strong forward line at the club that included two England internationals in Tommy Johnson and Frank Roberts.

Manchester City

In his first season Tilson made 6 appearances and helped City earn promotion to the first division. Tilson would make 264 league appearances for the team and score 110 goals. In his second season with the team he played 22 times and scored 12 goals making him City's third highest goalscorer behind Tommy Johnson who scored a club record of 38 goals and Eric Brook who scored 14 goals. Injuries restricted his appearances in the football season of 1929-1930 and 1930-1931. He scored 13 league goals in the 1931-1932 football season and 3 FA Cup goals. City managed to reach the semi final of the FA Cup that year but were defeated by Arsenal by 1-0. In the 1932-1933 football season Tilson was the club's leading goalscorer with 23 goals in all competitions. This included 17 league goals and 6 FA Cup goals. In the 1933 FA Cup final Manchester City were defeated three goals to nil by Everton who were captained by England international Dixie Dean. Tilson did not play in the final of that years competition but did play in the 1934 FA Cup final in which he scored twice in a 2-1 victory over Portsmouth. City had been trailing by a goal to nil at half time and City goalkeeper Frank Swift blamed himself for that had given Portsmouth the lead. Tilson in an attempt to console the young keeper 'told him not to worry because he would score a couple in the second half. He was true to his words!'[4]. Tilson's 22 goals in the FA Cup for Manchester City is a club record.

Tilson made his debut for England in a 2-1 defeat to Hungary in May 1934. Tilson scored England's only goal. He won four caps for his country and scored six goals. Tilson may have won more caps for England but suffered with injuries and faced competition from George Camsell, Tom Waring, Ted Drake and others.His second cap was won in a 2-1 defeat to Czechoslovakia in which he scored England's only goal.

In the 1935-1936 football season Tilson was City's top scorer with 18 goals. City finished fourth in the league that season, ten points behind champions Arsenal. In the 1935 British Home Championship Tilson scored twice and Brook and Stanley Matthews both scored once for England in a 4-0 victory against Wales at Ninian Park. England won the Home Championship that year despite suffering a 2-0 defeat against Scotland. In the British Home Championship of 1936, Tilson scored twice and Brook scored once in a 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park. A 1-1 draw with Scotland meant that the latter won the championship that season.

In the 1936-1937 football season Tilson was part of the first Manchester City side to win the League Championship. He scored 15 league goals in that season which included two hat tricks against Charlton Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers in consecutive matches in February that season. In the 1937-1938 football season Tilson was part of the City team that were relegated from the first division despite scoring more goals than any other team. This was to be Tilson's last season with Manchester City. He subsequently played for Northampton Town and York City.


After retiring from playing football Tilson became a coach at Manchester City. He was on the club's staff for 21 years before retiring in 1968.


Tilson has been inducted into the Manchester City FC hall of fame along with Billy Meredith, Tommy Johnson, Sam Cowan, Eric Brook, Frank Swift, Peter Doherty, Roy Clarke, Bert Trautmann, Ken Barnes, Roy Paul, Alan Oakes, Neil Young, Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell, Tony Book, Francis Lee, Joe Corrigan, Paul Lake and Niall Quinn. In 1977 the Manchester City Council named eleven streets in a new estate in Moss Side after famous City players including Tilson, Frank Swift, Eric Brook, Sam Cowan, Horace Barnes, Max Woosnam, Tommy Browell, Jimmy McMullan, Sam Cookson, Billy Meredith and Tommy Johnson[5]. He is listed as the twenty-eighth greatest ever City player on the Times website[6] and eighteenth in Ian Penney's book The Essential History of Manchester City [7].

International goals

Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
10 May 1934 Stadion Üllõi út, Hungary  Hungary 1-2 Friendly match 1 (1)
16 May 1934 Stadión Letná, Zlin  Czechoslovakia 1–2 Friendly match 1 (2)
29 September 1934 Ninian Park  Wales 4–0 British Home Championship 2 (4)
19 October 1935 Windsor Park, Belfast  Ireland 3–1 British Home Championship 2 (6)



As a player

Manchester City


  1. ^ Barrett, Norman (1999). The Daily Telegraph Football Chronicle 4th Edition. Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-85868-884-1.   p65
  2. ^ Clayton, David (2002). Everything under the blue moon: the complete book of Manchester City FC - and more!. Edinburgh: Mainstream publishing. ISBN 1-84018-687-9.   p40
  3. ^ James, Gary (2002). Manchester: The Greatest City. Leicester: Polar. ISBN 978-1-899538-22-5.   140.
  4. ^ Barrett, Norman (1999). The Daily Telegraph Football Chronicle 4th Edition. Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-85868-884-1.   p55
  5. ^ Ward, Andrew (1984). The Manchester City Story. Derby: Breedon Books Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-907969-05-4.   p75
  6. ^
  7. ^ Penney, Ian (2000). The Essential History of Manchester City. Swindon: Headline. ISBN 0-7472-7034-1.   p188

External links


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