Frank Womack, 1936-1939
As a player, Sheffield-born Womack amassed a club record 515 league and Cup appearances for Birmingham City between 1908 and 1928. He set another club record when he became their oldest ever player in 1928, aged 39 years and 207 days. He skippered the Club for 17 consecutive seasons. He won two Football League caps. One oddity as a player was his habit of clapping his hands whenever he was about to head a ball!
After a spell as player-manager at non-league Worcester City between 1928 and 1930, when he won the Birmingham League title, Womack spent two seasons as manager of Third Division South side Torquay United, where he had some inconsistent results, both winning and losing games by some big scores.
His move to Grimsby Town in May 1932 heralded the start of his purple patch as a manager. He took over when Grimsby had just been relegated from the old First Division. His first season at Blundell Park ended with an unbeaten run of 11 games, a good omen for the future.
Frank worked miracles when he took over at Leicester City in October 1936.
The next season, Womack’s side easily won the Second Division title. The following season they finished fifth in the top flight and the season after that they narrowly lost to Arsenal in the 1936 FA Cup Final.
Womack was a systems manager who tailored the abilities of the players to his concept of the game. He carefully analysed opponents and was a great theorist who worked out strategies to beat opponents.
In October 1936, Leicester City, languishing in 21st place in Division Two, persuaded Womack to take over at Filbert Street.
What happened next was little short of a miracle.
He brought in Derby’s ex-England international centre-forward Jack Bowers and Nottingham Forest’s outside-left Eric Stubbs. Bowers scored 33 goals in the remaining 27 games of the season and Leicester City were promoted as Second Division Champions!
Life back in the top flight proved to be tough with Leicester City finishing 16th in 1938, three points clear of relegation. The following season, the last full season before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the Second World War, Womack’s side was relegated in bottom place.
Leicester City 1937/38
The Foxes finished in 16th position at the end of the 1937/38 season.
Womack resigned. Worse was to follow. In 1940 he was suspended from football for a year, along with several Leicester City directors and players, for being involved in some financial irregularities during his time at Filbert Street.
He briefly took charge of Notts County in 1942/43. In February 1945 he beat 60 applicants to become manager at Oldham Athletic but resigned at the end of the first post-war season with Oldham near the foot of the old Third Division North.
His final spell as a manager was in a caretaker capacity when he returned to Grimsby Town between January and May 1951 but he couldn’t prevent their relegation from Division Two.
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