Potter, Albert

Birth Date

23rd September 1897

Birthplace

Exeter, England

Occupation

Full-Back

Biographical Text

Albert (“Darkie”) Potter was a local lad born in Exeter in 1897. He served in the First World War signing up for the 8th Devons when aged just 16. In 1915 he was wounded in France before returning for more active service in Mesopotamia where he was involved in the battle for the relief of Kut in 1916. He arrived back in Devon in May 1919.

On his return Potter was spotted playing for Pinhoe and signed for City in 1922. A left half, he made his League debut in 1924 and went on to make 89 League (3 goals) and 5 FA Cup appearances for the Grecians – truly ‘one of our own’.
At 5ft 10 ins and weighing 11st 4 lbs Potter’s playing highlights for Exeter included:

* a Boxing Day goal in a 3-0 win over Plymouth Argyle in front of 14,000 fans at St James Park in 1924.
* scoring in a 6-1 home win over Brentford in 1925 and in a 2-2 draw at Luton in 1927
* being part of the City team that beat Ajax 5-1 in Amsterdam in 1925. A newspaper report described Potter as ‘de spil’ – the lynchpin.
* playing in City’s 1924-5 FA Cup run starting against Newport at Ashton Gate, Bristol in a 5th Qualifying Round 2nd Replay (won 1-0). City reached the first round proper away to Southampton. Potter played and Exeter were losing 5-0 when fog descended and the game was abandoned. City lost 3-1 in the replay four days later, Potter again appearing.
* having to change in a tent before the FA Cup at home to Swansea in 1925. The grandstand had burnt down just eleven days before the game. Potter also changed for the 1926-7 season in the replacement grandstand (now known as the old Grandstand).

Albert signed for Wigan Borough in 1927 making a further 67 League appearances plus 3 FA Cup matches, one of which was played at home against Sheffield Wednesday in front of 30,443 – a record for Springfield Park. Potter moved on to Colwyn Bay United and then returned to Exeter to live and work.

During the war Potter was an Air Raid Warden and it was while on duty where he lived, in Shakespeare Road off Burnthouse Lane, that he was killed in heroic circumstances. Despite the ongoing blitz Albert went to help at a neighbour’s house where a new born baby had arrived. He was hit and died the same day from his injuries in the RD&E Hospital in Southernhay. He was only 44.

Albert is buried in the cemetery at All Saint’s, Whipton and the Supporters Trust History Group has liaised with the Whipton Community Association who have kindly given the grave a spring clean. His Air Raid Warden colleagues provided an inscribed memorial with the dedication “In remembrance of a gallant warden”.

A memorial ceremony was held at the grave on Thursday 4 May. A wreath was laid by Jordan Moore – Taylor, Exeter’s first team captain and like Potter a local lad. Also in attendance was the Past Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Olwen Foggin, Club and Trust Chairs Julian Tagg and Martin Weiler and members and friends of the Potter family. Potter’s daughter Pam Goodrich said “The family are very proud of their link with Exeter City and are really pleased that my father is being remembered by the Club”. Pam, who was seven at the time of her father’s death, was given a holiday in Belgium by the City Council and in 1949 was visited in the new family house by Princess Elizabeth, now The Queen. Pam even managed to secure the Princess’s autograph.

Albert Potter is also honoured on the Second World War Memorial in the Garden of Remembrance at St James Park.

Appearances

89

Goals

3

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Comments

Pamela Anne Goodrich nee Potter:

For completeness sake you might want to mention that Albett Potter left two daughters. June Doreen Wannel (died 3/6/2015) and Pammela Ann Goodrich (born 22/1/1935) who now lives in St.Albans.

Paul D Farley:

DIED: 4th May 1942

Height and weight: 5 ft. 10 ins, 11st 4 lbs.

Devon born left half Albert started his professional career with his home town club, Exeter City in 1923 after being spotted playing for Non League outfit Pinhoe. He stayed at St James’ Park for almost three years and made 89 League appearances and scored 3 goals before arriving at Springfield Park on 3rd August 1927. He made his Wigan Boro League debut on 27th August 1927 in a home game against Hartlepools United that was lost 0-2.

 

He became a stalwart of the side during his two-year spell making 67 League appearances and scoring 3 goals before finishing his football career with Colwyn Bay United.  Whilst at Wigan Boro he also made 4 appearances in both the Lancashire Senior Cup and the Manchester Senior Cup without scoring as well as playing in 3 FA Cup games including the one played in front of Springfield Park’s highest ever attendance (30,443).  He left Springfiedl Park to sign for Colwyn Bay United in July 1929 and he was last heard of plying his trade at the Devon General Bus Company FC, circa 1930.

Paul D Farley:

DIED: 4th May 1942

Height and weight: 5 ft. 10 ins, 11st 4 lbs.

Devon born left half Albert started his professional career with his home town club, Exeter City in 1923 after being spotted playing for Non League outfit Pinhoe. He stayed at St James’ Park for almost three years and made 89 League appearances and scored 3 goals before arriving at Springfield Park on 3rd August 1927. He made his Wigan Boro League debut on 27th August 1927 in a home game against Hartlepools United that was lost 0-2.

 

He became a stalwart of the side during his two-year spell making 67 League appearances and scoring 3 goals before finishing his football career with Colwyn Bay United.  Whilst at Wigan Boro he also made 4 appearances in both the Lancashire Senior Cup and the Manchester Senior Cup without scoring as well as playing in 3 FA Cup games including the one played in front of Springfield Park’s highest ever attendance (30,443).  He left Springfiedl Park to sign for Colwyn Bay United in July 1929 and he was last heard of plying his trade at the Devon General Bus Company FC, circa 1930.

Martin Johnes:

Darkie was a nickname usually given to people who were black or of mixed race. Is there any suggestion of this for Albert?

I have traced his parents, both of whom were from Devon.

In the 1920s Albert is shown on the electoral register as living 2 Brook Cottages. On the 1939 national register his occupation is listed as Concrete Works Labourer Railway Engineering Maintenance & Repair Staff.

His father, Alfred Henry, was a labourer and born in Newton Poppleford in 1858. He died in 1928. His mother Susan was born in Devon in 1862.

He had 6 brothers and sisters listed on the 1901 census. The family was then living at Whipton, Heavitree, St Thomas.

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