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Neil Franklin
Personal information
Full name Cornelius Franklin
Date of birth 24 January 1922(1922-01-24)
Place of birth    Shelton, England
Date of death    9 February 1996 (aged 74)
Place of death    Stoke-on-Trent, England
Playing position Defender
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Stoke City
Independiente Santa Fe
Hull City
Crewe Alexandra
Stockport County
142 (0)
095 (0)
066 (4)
020 (0)   
National team
1946-1950 England 027 (0)
Teams managed
Colchester United

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

Cornelius 'Neil' Franklin (24 January 1922 – 9 February 1996) was an English footballer.


Early career

Franklin turned professional in January 1939, and his career was just about to take off only to be put on hold by the suspension of League football because of the Second World War.

During the war he made 186 appearances for Stoke City in friendly and regional fixtures as well as representing England in wartime internationals.

Move abroad

When peacetime soccer resumed he was generally regarded as the country's best centre-half, and went on to make 142 League and 20 FA Cup appearances for Stoke, as well as winning 27 full England caps. By 1950, however, he was ready to leave Stoke - he was unhappy with the £20 a week maximum wage limit imposed by the FA, and felt the local air was not conducive to healthy living, as the local pottery kilns continually belched out their smoke and fumes. He wanted to move his family away to a cleaner climate, but what no-one envisaged was that would mean not just another club, but another continent.

In the summer of 1950 Franklin broke his contract with Stoke City and left the country for Colombia, to play for Independiente Santa Fe of Bogotá. He was on a £5,000 per year contract, with £35 win bonuses - a small fortune in the 1950s. However, Colombia was outside FIFA jurisdiction and their FA was considered a rebel authority. The situation was further aggravated when Franklin, who had just won his 27th consecutive England cap, declined to join the squad for the 1950 World Cup finals in neighbouring Brazil. Political and social unrest in Colombia made it hard for Franklin and his family to settle, and they returned to England after just four weeks.

Return home

A suspension from league football followed and he never played for Stoke or England again. In February 1951, he moved to Second Division club Hull City for £22,500, at the time a world record fee for a defender. [1]

After leaving Hull, he had brief spells with Crewe Alexandra, Stockport County and Macclesfield Town and also tried management at Colchester United. He later ran a pub called the Dog and Doublet in Sandon, Staffordshire and died in 1996 aged 74.


Billy Wright, when selecting his Dream Team for the 50th Anniversary of the Footballer Of The Year award, had no hesitation in selecting Neil Franklin:

Neil was a superb stylist with an instinctive positional sense. His international career ended when he was suspended for becoming a mercenary in the outlawed Bogotá league. If Neil had been satisfied with the maximum £20 he was earning at Stoke City, he would have played for England for at least another four years, and I often wonder what difference that would have made to my career.

Tom Finney also selected Neil Franklin for his Dream Team:

(Neil Franklin was) the best centre-half I ever played with or against. Just before the 1950 World Cup, he went off to play in Colombia, thinking he was going to make a bit of money, but it didn't work out. When he came back, the FA were furious and clubs wouldn't touch him. He was still good enough to play for England, though. It was very sad.




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