Footballer-Cricketers - An Extinct Double Breed

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These days the boundary between the football season and the cricket season is not easy to define. But in the early years of organised sport, the delineation was much more distinct.

In fact it was not until 1919-20 that a Football League season ever began in August - and then only on the 30th of the month – all of which meant that pre-First World War practitioners of the ‘winter game’ could also become active devotees of the ‘summer game’ without undue overlap.

For that reason many early footballers also played cricket at the higher levels - and vice versa - and a number achieved the ultimate 'Derbyshire Double' by playing at least one senior game for both Derby County Football Club and Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

They have been variously labelled ‘crickballers’, ‘bladder and willow’ men, the ‘double breed’, or sometimes just ‘cocky so-and-sos’, but whatever else they may be the nineteen men who have played first-team football for Derby County and first team cricket for Derbyshire are members of an exclusive club which seems unlikely to further expand its ranks.

Here is the roll of honour of men who achieved the 'Derbyshire Double':

ALBERT ALDERMAN - DERBY COUNTY 1927-34 - DERBYSHIRE 1928-48

IAN BUXTON - DERBY COUNTY 1959-67 - DERBYSHIRE 1959-73

RAICH CARTER - DERBY COUNTY 1945-48 - DERBYSHIRE 1946

WILLIAM CHATTERTON - DERBY COUNTY 1884-88 - DERBYSHIRE 1882-1902

WILLIAM CROPPER - DERBY COUNTY 1886 - DERBYSHIRE 1882-88

Read more at Cropper, William - R.I.P. in Brimington

JACK DAVIS - DERBY COUNTY 1905-10 - DERBYSHIRE 1920

PERCY EXHAM - DERBY COUNTY 1884 - DERBYSHIRE 1883

Read more at Exham, Percy - A 'Derbyshire Double'.

THOMAS FLETCHER - DERBY COUNTY 1904-06 - DERBYSHIRE 1906

JOHN GOODALL - DERBY COUNTY 1889-99 - DERBYSHIRE 1895-96

Read more at Goodall, John: Rare tribute to 'Honest John'

IAN HALL - DERBY COUNTY 1958-62 - DERBYSHIRE 1959-72

STUART McMILLAN - DERBY COUNTY 1914 - DERBYSHIRE 1922-24

HAYDN MORLEY - DERBY COUNTY 1884-89 - DERBYSHIRE 1891

Read more at Morley, Haydn - Derby County's First Ever Player

BOB STEPHENSON - DERBY COUNTY 1962-64 - DERBYSHIRE 1967-68

HARRY STORER - DERBY COUNTY 1921-29 - DERBYSHIRE 1920-36

Read more at Storer, Harry: Harry helped Rams climb back up to Division Two

WILLIAM STORER - DERBY COUNTY 1891-93 - DERBYSHIRE 1887-1905

FRANK SUGG - DERBY COUNTY 1884 - DERBYSHIRE 1884-86

Read more at Sugg, Frank - Sporting All Rounder 'par excellence'

RAY SWALLOW - DERBY COUNTY 1958-64 - DERBYSHIRE 1959-63

ARNOLD WARREN - DERBY COUNTY 1901 - DERBYSHIRE 1897-1920

LEVI WRIGHT - DERBY COUNTY 1888 - DERBYSHIRE 1883-1909

Read more at Wright, Levi - A 'Derbyshire Double'


A number excelled at football but were bit-part players at cricket - John Goodall is perhaps the best example, an early Derby County legend and England international whose few games for Derbyshire proved largely uneventful.

Others such as Albert Alderman were the opposite - his 24 games for Derby County were roundly eclipsed by his 318 for Derbyshire, who he helped win their only County Championship in 1936.

Some on the list were merely 'good enough' at both without being 'great' at either, but the truly special talents like Harry Storer could turn heads at both cricket and football with seemingly effortless ease, and for good measure Storer became Derby County manager as well!

That overworked phrase 'we will never see their like again' springs very much to mind, but for once it is probably true. The demands of modern sport are such that the day of the 'Derbyshire Double' looks to be well and truly done.

You can read more about some of the 'Double Breed' listed above by reading their mini-biographies on this site. Where an article has been written about them it is noted below their name above - just click on the link to read the feature.


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