Steve Bloomer: Wikis


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Steve Bloomer
Personal information
Full name Stephen Bloomer
Date of birth 20 January 1874(1874-01-20)
Place of birth    Cradley, Worcestershire, England
Date of death    16 April 1938 (aged 64)
Place of death    Derby, England
Playing position Forward
Youth career
St. James' School
Derby Swifts
Tutbury Hawthorn
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Derby County
Derby County
375 (238)
125 0(61)
098 0(53)   
National team
1895–1907 England 023 0(28)
Teams managed
Britannia Berlin 92
Real Unión
Derby Reserves

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

Steve Bloomer (20 January 1874, Cradley, Worcestershire – 16 April 1938, Derby) was an English footballer and manager who played for Derby County, Middlesbrough and England during the 1890s and 1900s. Bloomer remains a legend at Derby County and the club anthem, Steve Bloomer's Watchin', is played before every home game. On 17 January 2009 a bust of Bloomer was unveiled next to the home dugout at Pride Park Stadium.[1]

During his career Bloomer was a prolific goalscorer for both club and country. Although possessing only a slight frame, he was a menace to defenders due to his quick thinking. He was also able to shoot powerfully and accurately with either foot and his speciality was the daisy cutter - a low shot, hit with great power, speed and accuracy. In 536 English First Division games he scored 317 goals and, after Jimmy Greaves, he is the second highest all-time goalscorer in the first division. He also scored 28 goals in 23 appearances for England. In his last international against Scotland in 1907 he scored a stunning goal.

Bloomer also played baseball for Derby County Baseball Club and helped them become British champions three times in the 1890s. He also played cricket at an amateur level. After retiring as a footballer he became a coach and worked with clubs in Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. During the First World War he was interned at Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp. The highlight of his coaching career came in 1924 when he guided Real Unión to victory in the Copa del Rey. After returning to England he served as player-coach with Derby Reserves, worked as a newspaper columnist and as a grounds man at the Baseball Ground. In late 1937, while severely ill, Derby County paid for him to go on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. He died three weeks after returning home in April 1938. His grave can been seen in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Derby.


Family life

Although Bloomer was born in Worcestershire his parents, Caleb Bloomer and Merab Dunn, moved to Normanton, Derbyshire and then Pear Tree. Bloomer’s brother, Philip also briefly played for Derby County. However he only played one first team game and died of peritonitis in May 1896. The same year saw Steve Bloomer marry Sarah Walker. They subsequently had 4 daughters; two of whom died before they reached the age of 18; one died in 1917 while he was still in Ruhleben. Another, Hetty, married Alf Quantrill,[2] who played for Derby County and England as an outside-left. Bloomer lived with another of his daughters, Doris Richards, toward the end of his life, after the death of his wife in 1936. Mrs Richards' son, Steve Richards, is a journalist. Bloomer's nephew, Ted Measures, signed for Arsenal F.C. in 1932.

Playing career


Early years

As a youth he played football for St. James' School in the Derbyshire Minor Football League and on one occasion scored 14 goals in a single game. He then played for Derby Swifts between 1888 and 1891, before briefly playing for Tutbury Hawthorn in April 1892. However his appearance for this club in a cup competition against Gresley Rovers F.C. was declared illegal as he had already signed professional forms with Derby County.

Derby County

Bloomer spent the majority of his playing career at Derby County, where together with John Goodall and Archie Goodall, he formed the backbone of a County side that regularly challenged for top honours during the 1890s and early 1900s. Bloomer scored four times on his County debut, against Darley Dale. He made his English First Division debut on 3 September 1892 in a 3-1 away win against Stoke City and scored his first league goal for County on 24 September 1892 in a home game against West Bromwich Albion.

While at Derby he was top scorer in the First Division on five occasions in 1896, 1897, 1899, 1901 and 1904. In 1896, together with John Campbell of Aston Villa, he was also the top goalscorer in any European league. He was also the leading Rams scorer for 14 consecutive seasons and scored 17 hat-tricks in the league. One of his best seasons came in 1896-97 when he scored 31 goals, including five hat-tricks, in 33 League and FA Cup games. Between 14 November 1896 and 5 April 1897 he scored 21 goals in 20 games. He also scored six goals for the club in a game against Sheffield Wednesday in January 1899.

Bloomer’s goals helped Derby finish runners-up in the First Division in 1896 and helped them reach three FA Cup finals in 1898, 1899 and 1903. He scored in the 1898 final, a 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest. On 3 September 1900 Bloomer scored the first-ever goal at The Hawthorns, the 1–1 draw against West Bromwich Albion being the first match played at the ground.[3] After four years at Middlesbrough he returned to the Rams in 1910 and helped them win the Second Division title in 1912. He scored his last league goal for Derby against Sheffield United on 6 September 1913 and his last match was against Burnley on 31 January 1914 when he was 40 years and 11 days.


In March 1906 Bloomer joined Middlesbrough for a fee of £750. Among team mates at his new club were Alf Common, the first £1,000 footballer, and Fred Pentland. He was topscorer at Middlesbrough in both the 1906-07 and 1907-08 seasons. He also scored four goals in a game against Woolwich Arsenal on 5 January 1907.

England international

Between 1895 and 1907, Bloomer also made 23 England appearances. He scored twice on his debut in 3 March 1895 in a 9-0 win against Ireland. He subsequently scored 19 times in his first 10 matches for England and eventually finished his international career with 28 goals. On 16 March 1896 Bloomer scored 5 goals for England against Wales and on 18 March 1901 he scored four goals against the same opposition. Bloomer thus became the first player to score two hat-tricks for England and was also the first to score four goals for England twice. During his international career Bloomer’s team mates included his County team mate John Goodall as well as Frank Becton, Jack Reynolds, Ernest Needham, Fred Spiksley, Samuel Wolstenholme and Vivian Woodward. Bloomer helped England win the British Home Championship eight times.

Prisoner in Germany

After retiring as a player Bloomer went to Germany in July 1914 to coach Britannia Berlin 92. However within three weeks of arriving the First World War broke out and he found himself interned at Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp in the Spandau district of Berlin. Bloomer was one of several former professional footballers among the detainees. Others included his former England colleagues Fred Spiksley and Samuel Wolstenholme, his former Middlesbrough team mate Fred Pentland, a Scotland international, John Cameron, John Brearley, once of Everton and Tottenham Hotspur and a German international Edwin Dutton who had previously played for Britannia Berlin 92.

The camp contained between 4,000 and 5,500 prisoners. Gradually a mini-society evolved and football became a popular activity. The Ruhleben Football Association was formed and cup and league competitions were organised with as many as 1,000 attending the bigger games. The teams adopted the names of established teams and in November 1914, Bloomer captained a Tottenham Hotspur XI, that also included Dutton, to victory in a cup final against an Oldham Athletic XI. Spiksley also played in the game, refereed by Wolstenholme, although it is uncertain which team he played for. On 2 May 1915 an England XI featuring Pentland, Wolstenholme, Brearley and Bloomer played a World XI captained by Cameron. Bloomer also played cricket at the camp and in May 1915 a Rubleben XI, featuring Bloomer and Brearley, played a Varsities XI in the Rubleban Cricket League. In July 1916 a Lancashire XI, featuring Bloomer, beat a Yorkshire XI that included Wolstenholme.

In summer the prisoners turned to cricket on ‘The Oval’, played to packed houses. Bloomer smashed the camp batting record with a cool 204 and once recorded impressive bowling figures of 6 for 15. There was athletics too. Bloomer won the ‘Old Age Handicap’ at the Ruhleben Olympics, sprinting the 75 yards in 9.6 seconds. Everybody in camp knew ‘Steve’. When he finally left Ruhleben in March 1918, a farewell football match was staged in his honour.

Coaching career

Immediately after the war Bloomer coached briefly in The Netherlands. In 1923 he became coach of Real Unión in Spain and in 1924 he guided them to victory in the Copa del Rey. During the 1920s the Copa was effectively a play-off to decide the Spanish champions. Teams qualified by winning their regional titles and Real Unión represented Guipuzcoa. Nine other regional champions also qualified and in the first round of the competition Real beat Sevilla FC, the champions of Andalusia, 3-1 on aggregate. In the semi-final they faced the Catalan champions, FC Barcelona, coached by another Englishman, Jack Greenwell. Greenwall’s squad included the likes of Paulino Alcántara, Sagibarba and Josep Samitier. Despite this Real beat FC Barcelona 5-1 after a replay and went on to beat Real Madrid, the champions of central Spain, 1-0 in the final.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup Total
1892–93 Derby County First Division 28 11 28 11
1893–94 25 18 2 0 27 18
1894–95 29 9 1 0 30 9
1895–96 25 22 5 5 30 27
1896–97 29 24 4 7 33 31
1897–98 23 15 3 5 26 20
1898–99 28 24 5 6 33 30
1899–1900 28 19 2 0 30 19
1900–01 36 12 5 2 41 14
1901–02 28 15 7 3 35 18
1902–03 24 12 2 1 26 13
1904–05 29 13 1 0 30 13
1905–06 23 12 3 0 26 12
Career Total 355 206 40 29 395 235
1905–06 Middlesbrough First Division 9 6 9 6
1906–07 34 17 2 0 36 17
1907–08 34 14 1 0 35 14
1908–09 28 16 28 16
1909–10 20 8 2 1 22 9
Career Total 125 61 5 1 130 62
1910–11 Derby County Second Division 28 20 4 4 32 24
1911–12 36 18 2 1 38 19
1912–13 First Division 29 13 1 1 30 14
1913–14 5 2 1 0 6 2
Career Total 98 53 8 6 96 59




England Derby County


Real Unión

  • Campeonato de Guipuzcoa: 1
    • 1923-24

Baseball Player

Derby County Baseball Club


  1. ^ "Now Steve Bloomer really is watching". Derby Evening Telegraph. 
  2. ^ "Bloomer, Sarah - Steve's wife was the first WAG!". Bygone Derbyshire.,_Sarah_-_Steve's_wife_was_the_first_'WAG'!. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  3. ^ Matthews, Tony (2005). The Who's Who of West Bromwich Albion. Breedon Books. p. 214. ISBN 1-85983-474-4. 

External links


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