Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Appearance record holders (all competitions)

Appearance Record Holders

597 league appearances, 56 FA Cup appearances, 10 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances, 120 Midland League appearances

50 league goals, 3 FA Cup goals, 0 League Cup goals, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 783 appearances, 53 goals

Mr Scunthorpe United himself hits top spot for the Iron in terms of appearances after spending a staggering 18 years at the club as a player, before retiring and becoming a trainer in 1965.

Over his time at the club, he made a total of 783 appearances, including 120 Midland League appearances before the club were admitted into Division Three North in 1950. The following 15 years would see him make a club-record breaking 597 league appearances - a total that no other Scunthorpe United player has got anywhere near.

He also holds the most number of appearances in the FA Cup (56) and also made it past 50 goals in his stay at the club. It is an impressive goals return for a left-back, even if 52 out of his 53 goals came from the penalty spot.

He had to wait until his seventeenth campaign at the club until he scored his one and only United goal in open play and ironically it would be his penultimate strike for the club. The strike came in a 2-1 defeat at home to Southampton.

Even if you take out Brownsword's 120 Midland League appearances, he still towers above the rest in terms of the club's record appearance holder - making 597 league appearances and totalling 663 appearances including the cup competitions.

From 1946 until 1964, Jack Brownsword dedicated his life to the football club, writes John Staff in his Hall of Fame programme articles. On the field of play, he was a gentleman, never in trouble with referees and always considered to be a complete sportsman. His character could be compared today with that of Gary Lineker.

He was equally courteous off the park and very popular with his teammates, at a time when morale in the dressing room of the Old Show Ground was sky high. Brownsword was described by Bill Shankley as one of the best full-backs outside the First Division, a view he would have formed while manager of Grimsby Town. It was also an opinion probably formed by Manchester City, who had designs on the young left-sided defender in the mid-50s. Brownsword's value was also noted by the representative committee who appointed the team for the annual Third Division North versus Third Division South game, and Jack was given the honour of representing the North's XI.

It is well documended that Jack once held an English record for goals scored by a defender at a time when the backline of players got a nose bleed if they went too far up the field.

For those supporters who never saw a Jack Brownsword penalty, it is worth recalling the tested method he used. 1 - ball on the spot. 2 - a couple of paces back. 3 - on the whistle, gently stroll up to the ball. 4 - calmly place the ball as near the inside of the post with an easy side-foot kick (the ball never leaving the ground by more than a foot). 5 - equally calmly, jog back to the left-back position for the kick-off).

He rarely missed a spot kick and was never ruffled. Even when the Charlton 'keeper Wakeham stood a foot away from the post, leaving a vast expanse for Jack to aim at, it didn't change his formula. The only surprise was that Jack put the ball into the narrower gap as the 'keeper dived into the larger area he expected the penalty taker to put the ball into.

The only problem I can ever remember Brownsword having was at a sodden Old Show Ground on the afternoon of the visit of Bristol City in a 3-3 draw. United won a penalty, but his kick was saved. Fortunately, the referee judged the 'keeper to have moved early. Jack tried again, but with the same result. Once again, to the frustration of the goalkeeper, the referee said the custodian had moved before the ball was kicked. At the third attempt, Jack was rested and Peter Donnelly scored.

Another fact worth mentioning is Brownsword's FA Cup appearance record. From the time that he joined the Iron in 1946, he was never to miss a tie in the competition until his retirement as a player in 1964. It meant an incredible run of 68 consecutive games.

When Jack left the Old Show Ground's playing staff, it was not to be a parting of the ways. For some time later, he was seen in a tracksuit as the club's trainer and, even in his late forties, he had a dynamic turn of speed.

He would still bring a cheer from the crowd if two players were briefly injured and he could race the opposition trainer to be first to his casualty. He always won, no matter how much younger his opponent might have been. 

It was in his days on the club's backroom staff that he influenced the career of a fledgling Kevin Keegan. Much credit is given to Jack for his guidance of Keegan in those early formative years. Jack resided in Burton-on-Stather with his wife Queenie, until his sad passing in 2009 on their 56th wedding anniversary.

368 league appearances, 9 Play-Off appearances, 28 FA Cup appearances, 31 League Cup appearances, 27 Associate Member Cup appearances

0 league goals, 0 FA Cup goals, 0 League Cup goals, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 461 appearances, 0 goals

Unlike most candidates in the Hall of Fame who wore the various colours of Scunthorpe United many years ago, and are only known to supporters of an older generation, Paul will be remembered by a great number of supporters, writes John Staff.

If fate had not ended his playing days early, it is possible that he would have still chosen the licensing trade as his second profession. He certainly looks the part as "Mine Host", especially with the few extra pounds put on since he stopped full time training.

He was signed by Allan Clarke from Barnsley, one of the boss' former clubs, in the summer of 1983. At that point, Longden's appearamces at Oakwell had been limited to a mere handful, but Clarke knew the potential was there. He made his Iron debut at Vale Park in a third division match following United's promotion in the previous campaign. A goalless draw suggested that Longden would fit the bill, despite his youthful, lightweight appearance.

His first year at Scunthorpe was to be a testing time. Relegation was tempered by the excitement of an FA Cup run to the fourth round. Three games against Division Two side Leeds United, two of which watched by over 13,000 people at the Old Show Ground, were a lasting memory. Only defeat at West Bromwich Albion, thanks to a controversial goal, was to halt Scunthorpe's progress. Even then, at the end of 1983-84, Paul Longden had advanced in stature and was able to handle the responsibility placed on his shoulders.

During the rest of the 1980s, he was to become a firm fan favourite. He was equally at home on either flank of the defensive wall. Rarely was he the star performer, but his bad games were as frequent as one million pound Scunthorpe United transfer buys.

Off the field he was a gentleman. He was never a shirker of hard work on the field and one minute he would be supporting the attack as an overlapping full-back, while the next minute he was back rigorously defending the back lines. He was Mr Reliable, and no fewer than four Scunthorpe managers were happy to give him his place in the eleven.

At the end of the 1987-88 season, he would be one of the players who took the Iron into a new era. On the first hand, Scunthorpe United bade a sad farewell to the Old Show Ground.

The responsibility of holding the flag for the club going to a new phase in their history at Glanford Park was down to players like Longden. For Paul, it must have been a thrilling occasion and he had the opportunity to meet royalty when Princess Alexandra opened the new ground on August 13, 1988.

Then, on the second hand, the team won through to the play-offs for the first time. He featured in the team that lost to Torquay and had to bear the disappointment of apparent failure.

Longden's time at Glanford Park must have been quite satisfying. Amongst the surroundings of the best facilities in the basement division, he had matured into an accomplished performer. He had no serious rivals for a place in the team and was by far the most senior club professional.

Further play-off places came and went until the 1991-92 season, where the excitement of semi-final success over Crewe led to a day at Wembley. It is a fact that United lost to Blackpool on penalty kicks but that day 13 heroes wore claret and blue of the Iron.

Bitterly disappointed with the outcome, Paul must've been proud of the part he played that day. Indeed, he was brave enough to take and score a penalty kick - the only time he managed to score apart from the odd own goal!

Paul looked to be going on towards over 500 appearances for United, well on the way towards Jack Brownsword's mammoth total. Unfortunately, short of those figures, Paul's career was ended in an instant in the home game against Gillingham in the 1992-93 season.

371 league appearances, 5 Play-Off appearances, 28 FA Cup appearances, 17 League Cup appearances, 20 Associate Member Cup appearances

40 league goals, 1 FA Cup goal, 1 League Cup goal, 3 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 461 appearances, 45 goals

359 league appearances, 31 FA Cup appearances, 0 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances

12 league goals, 2 FA Cup goals, 0 League Cup goals, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 390 appearances, 14 goals

Until overtaken, Jack Hubbard was second in the table of appearances to Jack Brownsword, his friend and full-back partner for virtually all of his time at Scunthorpe United, writes John Staff.

His early days as a footballer began after the Second World War at Notts County but were largely undistinguished, so much so that the Magpies were content to let him go into non-league football at Scarborough.

The seaside team were of the same Midland League status as United at that time and it was here that Scunthorpe first showed an interest.

However, it was not until the club's first season in the Football League in 1950-51 that manager Leslie Jones made an approach to sign him. He was immediately drafted into the line-up at right-back to steady the ship in that quarter.

Hubbard would soon establish himself as a firm favourite with the crowd. He showed the stubborn determination that could be expected of a true Yorkshireman in each game he played. He was a solid player affectionately known as "Tank" Hubbard, and a strong performer at Third Division North level.

Occasionally, Hubbard and Brownsword would concede a soft goal and there would then followin an embarrassed conversation between the pair as to where the blame might be apportioned.

He remained on Scunthorpe's books throughout the 1950s and therefore played a major part in all of the FA Cup campaigns, as well as the promotion season of 1957-58. During the decade, he averaged almost 40 appearances per season and was an automatice choice for the team at all times.

His reward was a testimonial, which he shared with Brownsword in 1960, when the Distillery team of Eire were invited to visit. It was his just deserts for a for a quality that is so often overlooked by the footballers of today - that of loyalty.

Despite being primarily a full-back, Jack was equally adaptable at half-back, a position he played on a number of occasions. On one half-desperate occasion, he was also tried as an inside-forward. Going too far up the field normally left him feeling dizzy, as full-backs were not expected to cross too far over the halfway line in those days, but on this occasion Jack reslished the opportunity and visitors Hartlepool were made to suffer. He would score no less than four goals as United won 5-1.

It made him the first Scunthorpe player to score four goals in a game, a feat later equalled and then beaten, by Barrie Thomas with five goals against Luton.

What was more remarkable about Hubbard's achievement, however, was that he only scored 12 goals for the club in his entire career.

After the game, the unassuming Hubbard went back to his normal right-back position, wondering what all the excitement was about.

Jack sadly passed away in 2002.

341 league appearances, 26 FA Cup appearances, 11 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances

22 league goals, 4 FA Cup goals, 2 League Cup goals, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 378 appearances, 28 goals

Steve Deere came to the Old Show Ground as a lanky 19-year-old having been signed by Ron Ashman late in 1967, writes John Staff in a Hall of Fame programme article.

Ron had seen the lad's potential playing as an amateur at Norwich, the club Ashman had made a record number of appearances for and later managed. During Steve's first games for the Iron, he was used as a forward but although he managed to score a number of goals, he was not an instant hit and endured some harsh criticism from the terraces.

Ashman decided to drop Deere further back and it worked to good effect. He was able to express himself in a more position manner, taking advantage of his height in a defensive role. As his confidence grew, his game improved. He also loved the opportunity to come forward, doing so at corners and scoring on a number of occasions.

On such headed goal came in an FA Cup third round replay at the Old Show Ground in front of 16,237 fans against West Bromwich Albion. The goal would give Scunthorpe the lead, but the Baggies from the First Division would power through to win 3-1. 

Deere joined the club at a time when Ashman was developing a young and forceful side. Around his backline were players such as Geoff Barnard, John Barker, Graham Foxton and Mick Atkin. The success of Ashman's team was that they kept a regular line-up and rarely needed to make changes. In five-and-a-half years, Deere's name was never off the teamsheet - except for injury.

He would probably point to the 1969-70 season as one of the most enjoyable times he had at Scunthorpe. The climax of the year was, of course, the FA Cup run. There were several classic matches in that series of games with memorable goals by Keegan, Kerr and Heath. There were celebrations from the Donny Road Enders, swirls of toilet rolls flowing at the back of the goal nets and a crescendo of noise vibrating round the stands of the Old Show Ground.

The opposition in the early rounds was Macclesfield and Stockport - but the third round saw Millwall of the second division in Scunthorpe. For Deere there was a memorable 30-yard goal which gave United a lead they would not lose.

Then came the cliffhanger at Sheffield Wednesday when Scunthorpe beat the Owlson their own patch. Deere was on of the 12 muddied heroes that day, proud to be wearing the old red colours of the Iron.

His next chapter of success was to be part of the 1971-72 promotion squad which conceded only 37 goals and kepy 22 clean sheets.

Unfortunately for a club like Scunthorpe, both now and then, it becomes difficult to hang onto the best players. Deere was happy at the time to savour the moment, which included a 15-match unbeaten league run from victory at home to Workington on November 13, 1971 until a defeat by the same club on March 4, 1972.

Sadly, promotion was to be followed by the disappointment of relegation 12 months later. However, as one door closes, another opens and in June 1973, Hull City made a considerable bid for Deere's services. It looked as though the last page had been written on a now very popular player.

He was to enjoy a couple of seasons at Boothferry Park, as well as loan periods at Barnsley and Stockport, before slipping out of the league to join Scarborough. when he was to gain Wembley medals.

Meanwhile, back at the Old Show Ground, United had been rescued by a returning Ron Ashman after some seasons in the doldrums. One of his signings was the ever-reliable Steve Deere.

In his return match in February 1978, Deere scored a crucial goal at Northampton to see the Iron win 2-1. Shoring up the defence, Deere was to assist the club in narrowly avoiding a second consecutive application for re-election from what, at first, had seemed a hopeless situation.

Deere continue to rekindle the memories for another two seasons as he performed as a veteran and set an example to all around him. His swansong was at Hereford in May 1980.

329 league appearances, 31 FA Cup appearances, 0 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances

66 league goals, 5 FA Cup goals, 0 League Cup goals, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 360 appearances, 71 goals

The name Jack Haigh is one that is synonymous with Scunthorpe United's early days in the Third Division North as Jack was top of the pile at the Old Show Ground from 1952 until 1960, writes John Staff in his Hall of Fame programme articles.

It was during this era that he won the respect and admiration of the Scunthorpe supporters, who religiously turned out in vast numbers to cheer the team on.

Haigh was born in Rotherham and, after impressing in local league football, was signed in 1949 as a 21-year-old by Liverpool. As a promising youngster, he did have a chance at Anfield, but 11 games and three goals for the Merseyside giants suggested that the competition for places in the first team squad was very tight.

It was in 1952 that the opportunity to move on arrived when Scunthorpe United's scouts brought the lad's ability to the attention of Iron manager Bill Corkhill.

For Haigh, it was a chance for first team football and career progession and he was not to disappoint his peers. At the end of his first season at the club, he had topped the leading goalscorers from an inside forward position, with 13 goals.

Haigh was to chiefly operate from an inside right or left spot on the field, although he was equally at home playing amongst the half-backs. Quite often the term 'utility man' was associated with his name. Perhaps Jack's strength was in his tall, thin stature, where his long limbs made him awkward to tackle and helped him with the speed to leave defenders behind.

For some strange reason, he was nicknamed 'Dead Legs' by some sections of the crowd, but that was far from the truth. He had style and eye for goal, either with his head or tremendous shot.

Like most of the players in the mid-1950s who played over 100 games or more, Jack won the hearts of the crowd. All fair-minded spectators recognised the efforts that he would be sure to put in. After Jack's first season in claret and blue, the club were to sign two other prolific goalscorers in Jack Gregory and Gordon Brown, forming a trio which became one of the most feared attacks in Division Three North.

Haigh was to turn provider for both of the new recruits, as well as weighing in with a useful contribution himself. One of the memorable moments from the 1953-54 season came when Scunthorpe trounced Boston 9-0 in the FA Cup, but instead of Gregory or Brown heading the goalscorers, it was Jack who was the toast of the town with a well taken hat-trick.

Throughout the 1950s, his name was always linked with the exciting FA Cup ties which United had become associated with. Probably the highlight was during the fourth round at Newcastle Contemporary photographs show a number of angles of Jack rising aboved the striped Magpies defence to head home one of Scunthorpe's goals.

Perhaps the best part of his career would be the 1957-58 season which saw the club win promotion. He worked as hard as anyone to take United into the next division. Ron Suart, the manager, had no hesitation in making Jack an automatic for team selection each week.

By this time, the majority of the club's goals were being scored by the likes of Ronnie Waldock and Eric Davis, but Jack was able to play equally well alongside these other men. Indeed, it was not until towards the end of his Scunthorpe career that competition for places was to leave him on the sidelines, and Tony McShane and Frank Soo used him in their plans as each later became United's manager.

Jack was to enjoy two seasons in Division Two with United. Towards his twilight days at Scunthorpe, he dropped further back to take up a half-back position. However, possibly one of the features of the man was demonstrated during the Christmas home match in 1958 when Scunthorpe played Sunderland, a team trying to adapt to their very first season out of the old First Division.

He was up with the Scunthorpe attack ready to anticipate a header close to the post. Unfortunately, in the melee, he cracked his head against the woodwork and lay prostrate. Unconscious, Haigh was stretchered from the park and not expected to take any further part in the afternoon's proceedings.

Twenty minutes later, much to everyone's surprise, Jack emerged from the tunnel draped in bandages ready to do battle again. That underlined how much this brave warrior thought about his club.

He played for a couple of years at Doncaster Rovers from 1960, but for the regulars at Scunthorpe, we think of Jack Haigh as being one of us. Prior to his sad passing in 2007, he rarely missed an Iron match and viewed the games from just in front of the directors' box.

319 league appearances, 28 FA Cup appearances, 13 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances

45 league goals, 0 FA Cup goals, 1 League Cup goal, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 360 appearances, 46 goals

Over the years, numerous players have left Grimsby Town to sign for Scunthorpe, but because of local rivalry between the two sets of the supporters, it has often been difficult for some to be accepted, writes John Staff in his Hall of Fame articles.

This may, at first, have applied to Angus Davidson, having some critics in the crowd, but with his commitment to the tea, he soon won over most objectors.

Angus was to start his career in the Football League, having left his native Dundee in November 1965, by joining the Mariners for almost four years. He did enough in that time at Blundell Park to gain another contract and made just short of 50 league appearances.

It was in the close season before the start of the 1969-70 season that his availability came to the attention of Scunthorpe manager Ron Ashman. He realised the young 23-year-old had potential and how right he was to be. Angus was essentially a midfield man, but over the years there was virtually no position, except in goal, that he did not cover for Scunthorpe United - a rare commodity indeed.

So what qualities did Davidson possess which made him exceptional at Division Three and Four level? To begin with, he was a typical, fiery Scotsman who never knew when to give in. He would run all day and had a similarity in that respect to the young Alan Ball in the 1966 World Cup Final.

He was not afraid to have a shot at goal and despite his lack of inches, he could compete with the biggest of players. He was often a total nuisance to the opposition and could cause a lot of frustration. 

Davidson's first season at the Old Show Ground saw him as a regular in the squad and he was to be a part of the side that took Hillsborough by storm, when United won their tie against Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the FA Cup. His first season also showed his goalscoring potential. His first goal, at home to Workington, was enough to win the game. At the turn of the year, he netted in three consecutive league games.

One of his best performances - and one of the team's best performances - came at home to already-promoted Port Vale. His non-stop harrassing of opponents ended a long, undefeated run of over 20 games for the visitors as United triumphed 2-1.

While Angus was at Scunthorpe, he was always attracting the attention of scouts from other clubs, but surprisingly noone ever put in a firm bid for the man. Lincoln at one time showed an interest, but nothing ever came of it. Indeed, on one visit of the Imps to the Old Show Ground, a visiting official gingerly enquired in the dressing rooms if Davidson was playing. When the retort came back positive, his face twisted and he uttered: "oh no!".

Scunthorpe won that afternoon and the man's anguish was justified. The climax of Davidson's career was the promotion season of 1971-72. He played a major part in Scunthorpe's engine room that year and was generally one of the star performers.

He will doubtless remember his visit to Southend where he scored two goals for the first and only time. His seven goals in the campaign were a valuable asset to a team that owed more to its stubborn defence that its power in front of goal.

Promotion meant there was considerable honour and attention from the supporters and the press. It was a good time to be at the Old Show Ground as Scunthorpe only managed one season in Division Three before relegation the next year.

After taht, Davidson was to find himself serving under two other managers as Ron Ashman moved onto Angus' former club Grimsby Town and life was to become tougher as United began to struggle.

The 1973-74 season did have some compensation, and Davidson played his full part in supporting an FA Cup run of seven games which culminated with a fourth round replay at home to the mighty Newcastle United.

However, following that run and the arrival of Dickie Rooks to take charge, fortunes changed for the worse. Despite Davidson maintaining his standards, the club had to apply for re-election as the bottom-placed club.

Quite often, Davidson's frustrations would boil over on the pitch, the sign of a true competitor. It was not until the return of Ron Ashman that Scunthorpe got back on the rails, with Davidson once again back to his best.

The 1975-76 season was to be a real backs-to-the-wall campaign at the end as Scunthorpe tried to stave of re-election. Ashman's return coincided with a draw at Cambridge United in which Davidson scored  the equaliser, and two weeks later he netted a vital goal in a 3-2 victory over Workington. Finally, those contributions, and others, saw United survive.

Davidson finally parted company  with Scunthorpe United in 1977 with his record a respectable 360 appearances in all competitions and just short of 50 goals.

0 league appearances, 29 FA Cup appearances, 0 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances, 325 Midland League appearances

TOTAL: 354 appearances

Mal Millington is another name that may not be familiar to those with a Scunthorpe United connection, but he is another Midland League player who more than qualifies an inclusion in a Hall of Fam and goes in at number eight in United's all-time appearance holder.

He played more Midland League games for the club than any other man, writes John Staff in a programme article. He joined Scunthorpe United in 1937 as a young, bruising centre-half from Torquay United. He played at a time when no prisoners were taken, but when there was a certain code of sportsmanship on the field of play. His style was one of no nonsense and no risks.

Being a well-built man, he was known to use his weight in the challenge at a time when a shoulder barge, arm-to-arm, was part and parcel of the game. It was said that his heading ability was tremendous and a real asset to his defensive armoury. Above all, he played with a commitment and passion for the club he loved.

When Millington trotted out at the Old Show Ground, the scene he would have surveyed was not quite that of the ground we remember. Ironically, there would have been far more spectators cheering on for a start.

Gates shortly before the Second World War ranged from 3,000 to 5,000 and peaked beyond that for a local derby or FA Cup confrontation. The Doncaster Road end was no more than a few uncovered steps behind the goal. Opposite Doncaster Road, Fox Street boasted a covering for the back-half of the terrace. Along the length of the ground, Henderson Avenue was largely unchanged, but the East side of the Old Show Ground had an old wooden seated structure, which was to burn down in 1958.

Millington would also have noted an old wooden fence around the pitch instead of the breeze block walls of later days and, typically, supporters were mainly steelworkers in flat caps and rain coats.

Mal made his 354 appearances at a notable time in the club's history. He was part of the team which won Midland League medals in 1938-39 and he was a member of the side which gained a then-record 11-3 FA Cup victory over the locak Lysaught Sports in the same season, and then went onto reach the second round proper of the competition later in the same campaign.

Unfortunately, his career at Scunthorpe was interrupted by the Second World War, but he had the experience of playing war-time football as a guest for Grimsby Town during the period when the Mariners used the Old Show Ground.

Following the hostilities, Mal returned to Scunthorpe's claret and blue colours and was so keen that he would turn out for the reserves to help out.

By this time, he had secured a job as a locomotive driver on the steelworks and, on one famous occasion, he received a message to dash to the ground after work to fill in for a player who had cried off. When he arrived in the full glory of his working clothes, he had not had time to wash.

It was unfortunate that Mal was never able to play in the Football League for Scunthorpe because by 1950, when United were elected to Division Three North, his career was at an end. There is no doubt that if the Iron had gained an entry earlier, Mal would have been a regular.

He remained with the club for a short time looking after the juniors and continued to play himself in local leagues until his mid-fifties.

He sadly passed away in 1989.

0 league appearances, 42 FA Cup appearances, 0 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances, 308 Midland League appearances

TOTAL: 350 appearances

The name of Frank Skull might not be one remembered amongst Scunthorpe United fans, but after eleven years of loyalty, he enters in at number 9 in terms of appearances for the club.

Frank was a United stalwart through the 1920's, during the days of heavy, laced leather balls, hard rounded boots and shorts down to the knees, writes John Staff, in a programme article.

He was in his element at a time when winning the Midland League was a priority, along with a good run in the FA Cup to the first round proper.

Skull first appeared on a Scunthorpe United team sheet when United's secretary Harry Allcock pencilled his name in the right-half position for the home game against York City Reserves on September 29, 1923. The lad acquitted himself in a positive manner after signing from Middlesbrough as the club earned a 4-1 victory.

That was to be the first appearance of 350 for this awkward player of whom legend refers to as being 5'9" tall and 12 stone in weight. His gaunt face and thinning hair was to be a feature of most pre-season team photographs until the 1935-36 season.

What is so remarkable about his career at the Old Show Ground was that at the time of him wearing claret and blue of the Knuts, most players were lucky to be offered more than a one-year contract. Few Midland League players made over 100 appearances for the club.

During his first season, Scunthorpe managed a respectable fourth-placed finish. He made a valuable contribution from right-midfield, an anchorage he was to make exclusively his own, with rare intrusions into other positions on the park. It was reckoned that his left peg was only there for standing on, buut his right was strong and accurate.

He was a brave player - and a reliable one. The Midland League contained the reserve sides of quite a number of First Division Football League teams and the likes of Frank Skull were no mugs to have to survive against the cunning of some of the old lags in these teams. Ironically, during his next season at the Old Show Ground in 1924-25, Skull nearly made his last appearance for Scunthorpe United. Finances were on a knife edge, the Henderson Avenue stand had been reduced to a pile of smouldering embers, and the players were asked to make sacrifices through their pay packets as a result.

United resigned their position as members of the Midland League. Fortunately, the Directors had a last-minute rethink and a whip round in the car park saved the day.

Frank was one of only a couple of players to be retained, being so highly regarded. The justification for carrying on was revealed to all and sundry within a couple of years, as United took the 1926-27 Midland League by storm. Skull was a kingpin, supplying the likes of Johnson, Allen and Simms with the ammunition to score 121 goals and win the championship.

At one stage during the season, supporters would not discuss the fact that Scunthorpe might win. Instead, it was a case of debating how many they would win by, and few predicted that a 10-0 pasting of Sutton could be achieved.

Another highlight of Skull's career came during the 1929-30 campaign. In this instance it was the FA Cup that brought the townsfolk flocking to the Old Show Ground. He assisted Scunthorpe through the preliminary round, followed by four more qualifying rounds. It meant a place in the first round proper for the first time in the club's history.

Hartlepool were the team to visit the Old Show Ground and a 1-0 success had the majority of a then-record 5,300 crowd roaring their approval.

The next game was in front of an increased record of more than 8,000 against Rotherham United. Further progress was denied to the team when they squandered a lead and had to settle for a 3-3 draw. In the replay, the Yorkshire crowd saluted the lads in claret and blue for contributing to an excellent game which ended in a thrilling 4-5 defeat.

The repercussion for Skull was that Rotherham came back at the end of the season and paid a healthy sum for his services. It was a valuable lifeline, as a result of the fee, for Scunthorpe.

Frank was to enjoy four years at Millmoor, but in October 1934, he became available again and the United directors were happy to welcome him back.

He was to finish off the 1934-35 season with United as a regular and he returned as a very experienced campaigner but, as with all players, age was beginning to tell.

By this time, he was well into his thirties and it made the club think he was only worth one more season. Indeed, his last season saw him make only eight appearances before he hung up his boots.

Frank died in 1977.

315 league appearances, 14 FA Cup appearances, 19 League Cup appearances, 0 Associate Member Cup appearances

16 league goals, 0 FA Cup goals, 1 League Cup goal, 0 Associate Member Cup goals

TOTAL: 348 appearances, 17 goals

Bob Oates' place in the Hall of Fame was secured in 1983 when he became one of the rare number of footballers to represent Scunthorpe United in more than 300 Football League games, writes John Staff in his programme notes.

What was also remarkable for this Yorkshire lad was that every one of his league appearances for the Iron were made in the old Fourth Division.

Oates came to Scunthorpe in August 1974, having been recommended to the Iron while playing for junior side Ashley Road FC, a local club in his native Leeds.

He was a tall, well-built youngster with plenty of promise for the defensive role he favoured. To begin with, however, he had to be content with a place in United's reserve team at a time when the Iron, under manager Dickie Rooks, slumped to the bottom of Division Four.

No doubt it was disappoiting for him at the time, although he was called upon to made the odd first team appearance. Eventually, the club's struggles inevitably led to the dismissal of Rooks and the return of Ron Ashman during the winter of 1976. It was at this time that Oates was given a more regular place in the first team and earned the respect of the Old Show Ground faithful.

Ashman gave Oates every encouragement to express himself in the hear of the United defence, usually sporting either the number five or six shirt in the days when the Iron played in all-red.

The secret of Oates' success was that he gave 100 per cent in every game, regardless of the final outcome. He was never a spectacular player, a view which was supported by the fact he was never the subject of an inflated transfer deal, nor did he ever play at a higher level.

His endearing qualities were his effort, attitude and honesty. He may have been a little on the quiet side, but he was well liked by his team mates, and would play to his strengths, being hard in the tackle and strong in the air.

Like most defenders, goalscoring was nothing something he made a habit of, although a total of 17 goals throughout his career suggests that when he did venture upfield, he could pose problems for opposing defences.

Bob scored his first goal for Scunthorpe in the last game of the 1976-77 season when he hit the winner in a 2-1 triumph over fellow strugglers Stockport County. He must have relished the goalscoring feeling and just a few months later, in September 1977, he scored twice in one game against Wimbledon - the only time he managed a brace of goals in his career.

Those United supporters who can recall the game will remember the look of excitement on Bob's face - something of a contrast to the theatrical celebrations we have come to expect nowadays. 

Scunthorpe were usually fighting a rearguard action throughout Bob's career to avoid applying for re-election. Only twice while Bob was on the books did the Iron reach the third round of the FA Cup - and matches against Grimsby and Hereford were hardly glamour ties he might have hoped for.

The promotion campaign of 1982-83 is worthy of a mention, even though the signings of Steve Baines, Les Hunter and Andy Keeley meant competition for places at the back was keen.

Injury did not help Bob's situation and he was restricted to just 16 full games and four appearances as a substitute. Nonetheless, his enthusiasm was still as high as ever and he was to figure in all of the vital matches during the run-in which saw Scunthorpe eventually win promotion in a nail-biting race with Bury.

Unfortunately, Bob's reward was not the new contract he had been hoping for as he was released by the Iron, which led to a move to Rochdale in 1983.

He left the Old Show Ground with many happy memories and I'm sure that Bob, too, enjoyed his time with Scunthorpe United.

  PLAYER APPEARANCES
1 Jack Brownsword 597
2 Matt Sparrow 301 (70)
3 Paul Longden 364 (4)
4 Jack Hubbard 359
5 Steve Deere 337 (4)
6 Jack Haigh 329
7 Barry Horstead 316 (4)
8 Angus Davidson 304 (15)
9 Bob Oates 306 (9)

While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of all statistics, the numbers may be subject to minor inaccuracies where information has been previously recorded incorrectly. If you know of an inaccuracy with the data provided, please contact james.moody@scunthorpe-united.co.uk.