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A man of great presence and an influential captain, Blackburn Rovers' full-back Bob Crompton was one of English football's star players before the First World War.
Bob Crompton was
born at his parents' home, 1 Harwood Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, on 26
September 1879, the son of Robert Crompton, an innkeeper, and his wife, Alice
Utley. He learned his football on the streets of Blackburn and at his schools,
Moss Street board school and the higher grade school, to which he went in the
1880s. He became an apprentice plumber and was initially spotted playing in the
local Sunday school league. He also played for the Rose and Thistle and
Blackburn Trinity, before joining Blackburn Rovers, for whom he played as an
amateur for two years because he did not want to jeopardize his amateur status
in swimming and water polo.
By the end of
1926 Crompton was team manager and led the team to a surprise victory in the
1928 cup final. He was then an early victim of player discontent and in the
spring of 1931 lost both his job as manager and his seat on the board. He
briefly managed Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic during 1935–6, but when
Blackburn were threatened with relegation to the third division in 1937–8 he
was recalled as ‘honorary’ team manager. The club escaped and in May 1938 he
was back on the payroll. Under his charge Rovers won the championship of the
second division but war then intervened.