Southway, Leonard

Birth Date

22nd June 1893


Bristol, England



Biographical Text

Southway signed for his first Football League club, Bristol City in 1916, where he made 27 appearances.

During WW1, Len Southway, a player and later trainer, was missing two fingers so instead of being called up to fight, was sent to work at Avonmouth Docks. He & Billy Wedlock were the only professionals retained by the club during WW1. They arranged fixtures against teams from the docks, factories and the Services. The pair were only paid when City played Rovers. One season they met 12 times and 38 times in total during the four years. As most players were away, City made up the team with anyone who was available, but rivalry remained intense. After one City win at Eastville, Len and Billy had to fight their way through an angry crowd and escaped on a pony & trap.
He was one of two players retained by Bristol City after the war

He moved to Exeter City in the close season of 1922.

The local Press described Southway as follows: ‘Strips like a boxer, keeps the ball on the floor and believes in giving his forward plenty to do. Known as Lemmie to his friends.’

He made his Grecians’ debut against Brighton and Hove Albion in August 1922, but he was to stay at St James’ Park just the one season, before moving on to join Aberdare Athletic.

Playing 32 Third Division South matches for Aberdare, he then moved to near neighbours Merthyr Town for the 1924-25 season and scored one in 22 league appearances.

Southway ended his league playing career back at Bristol City in 1925-26, but never played for the first team in his second spell with the club. He was retained as a trainer.

One night in February 1941 Len Southway arrived to conduct training, in Bristol, but the doors were locked. He tried climbing through a window, but was stopped by a policeman. He explained to Len there were 2 or 3 unexploded bombs in the stand. Later that night they exploded and destroyed half the stand. Len thought that won't happen again, so he parked his car beneath the surviving half. The next night that received a direct hit destroying it and the car. City made up their teams from any footballers who were stationed nearby.

Leonard died in 1982.




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