Leicester City Wartime Trophies

Links With The Past: Three Wartime Trophies From 1941

Club Historian John Hutchinson's Links with The Past series continues with a look at trophies won by Leicester City during the Second World War.
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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 manage the Club through the financial scandal of 1940, which threatened Leicester City’s existence, and through the enormous difficulties created by wartime conditions.

From 1932 until 1935, Tom had been the 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 Burnley’s 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 Wartime Cup won in May 1941. Key members of this side were the future Wolverhampton Wanderers and England stars Billy Wright and Jimmy Mullen. The results of the matches are engraved onto the Cup.

Their opponents on the way to the final were Stoke City, Nottingham Forest and Lincoln City. The final was a 2-0 victory over Walsall at Filbert Street. These cup opponents were all in the South Regional League along with Leicester City. Bizarrely, these cup matches also doubled up as league matches.

The second trophy, pictured here on the right, dates from December 1941. This was the Wartime Football League South Championship Cup. Despite Billy Wright and Jimmy Mullen returning to Molineux after their guest season at Filbert Street in 1940/41, the Leicester City team for 1941/42 was strengthened by Sep Smith’s return to the side after a year’s absence.

On Christmas Day, 1941, following a run of eight wins in nine games, a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest secured the Southern Section title for Leicester City, captained by Sep Smith.

As well as Football League South Championship Cup, the players and the manager were also awarded individual miniature cups to mark the achievement. The one pictured here was awarded to Tom Bromilow and now belongs to his grandson Lee Tracy who brought it into the Club to show us, accompanied by his son Glenn.

After the War, Bromilow managed Newport County until 1950 before rejoining Leicester City as a scout and ‘A’ team coach.

He sadly died running for a train in Nuneaton in 1959, returning from a scouting trip at Wrexham.  

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