Leicester City 1937/38

Links With The Past: Wartime Trophies & The Coronation Loving Cup

John Hutchinson uncovers several fascinating tales of the past in the next edition of the Club Historian's Links With The Past feature.
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This week, John explains the significance of an array of trophies and cups which are currently available to the Club and played a big role in City's journey... 

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Coronation Loving Cup
Coronation Loving Cup

This limited edition Coronation Loving Cup was donated to Leicester City Football Club by Sir Francis Joseph, Chairman of Stoke City, in 1937. It was gifted to mark the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on 12 May, 1937. It was one of a very limited edition.

Twenty-two were presented to the clubs in the First Division in the 1936/37 season. Two more were given to the side promoted to the top division in 1937.

These were Second Division champions Leicester City, and runners-up Blackpool. Loving Cups were also presented to the Scottish Football Association, on the occasion of a Great Britain vs. the Rest Of Europe match at Hampden Park, and to Glasgow Rangers, as a tribute to their generosity when they visited Stoke to play a match in support of the Holditch Colliery Disaster Fund.

The Football League and King George VI also each received a Loving Cup. After manufacture, the mould was broken so that the cups could never be replaced.

The idea was for each club to toast the King, football, friendship and the Football League on their first home match of each New Year.

The only clubs that seem to be still observing this tradition are West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Glasgow Rangers and Grimsby Town.

Chelsea’s cup is in their museum and Leicester City’s is on display in King Power Stadium's reception area. The cup itself was presented in a bespoke display case. The three sections of the cup, between each of three handles, are illustrated with an explanatory commemoration explaining the provenance of the cup, a Royal Coat of Arms and a picture of Stoke City playing a team in blue shirts and white shorts.

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Wartime trophies
Wartime trophies

Tom Bromilow is largely forgotten today by Leicester City supporters, but he managed the Club from 1939 until 1945 in what were very difficult circumstances.

Three games into his first season, all football was suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War. He then had to oversee the Club through the financial scandal of 1940, which threatened City’s existence, and through the enormous difficulties created by wartime conditions.

From 1932 until 1935, Tom was also manager of Burnley, following a spell coaching in Amsterdam. At Turf Moor, he discovered Tommy Lawton, who became one of England’s greatest-ever players, promoting him to the first team until he transferred to Everton as a 17-year-old. It was because of this Burnley connection with Bromilow that Lawton played as a guest for Leicester towards the end of 1939.

In the Club’s trophy cabinet are two cups won by Bromilow’s wartime Leicester City sides. The first trophy, pictured on the left, was the Midland KO Wartime Cup, won in May 1941. Key members of this side were the future Wolves and England stars Billy Wright and Jimmy Mullen. The results of the matches are engraved onto the cup.

The second trophy, pictured on the right, dates from December 1941. This was the Wartime Football League South Championship Cup. As well as the cup, the players and the manager were also awarded individual miniature cups. The one pictured belongs to Tom’s grandson, Lee Tracy, who revealed it to the Club with his son Glenn.

After the war, Bromilow managed Newport County until 1950 before rejoining City as a scout and coach. He sadly died in Nuneaton in 1959, returning from a scouting trip in Wrexham.

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