Tom Bromilow

The Managers: Tom Bromilow, 1939-1945

Tom Bromilow became Leicester City’s manager in July 1939, following the Club’s relegation from the top flight.
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As a player, he made 375 appearances at left-half for Liverpool between 1919 and 1930, winning two League titles and five England caps.

In 1931 he took a coaching position in Amsterdam before taking over as Burnley’s manager in October 1932. Narrowly avoiding relegation from the Second Division at the end of that season, his next two seasons at Turf Moor saw his team reach mid-table positions and progress to the 1935 FA Cup semi-finals.

In July 1935 he became Crystal Palace’s manager.  After one season, he fell out with the directors and resigned. However he was reappointed at in December 1936, and led his team to promotion to the Second Division in 1938/39. 

This prompted Leicester City to appoint him as their manager in July 1939. However three matches into the new season the Football League was suspended until 1946 due to the Second World War. The FA Cup was also suspended for the duration of the War.

For the next seven seasons, Bromilow’s Leicester City competed in regional wartime league and cup competitions as well as the in the national League War Cup.

Bromilow stayed at Filbert Street until May 1945, helping to guide the club through the turmoil of the War.  Amongst other things, there was a financial scandal which resulted in the suspension of many players and directors in 1940, Filbert Street was bombed in 1941 and the Main Stand caught fire in 1942. Gates were small. There were huge financial difficulties which at one point almost resulted in the Club’s liquidation.

One feature of wartime football was the extensive use by all clubs of guest players.  In the Leicester City archives there are two letters, dated September and October 1939. These were written by Bromilow’s former Burnley protégé, the Everton and England star Tommy Lawton whose offer to appear as a guest for Leicester City resulted in him playing three games and scoring five goals for the City that season. Other letters in the Club’s archives relate to two future England internationals who also guested for Leicester City. These were the young Wolverhampton Wanderers players Billy Wright (the future England captain) and Jimmy Mullen.

Bromilow’s Leicester City won two wartime competitions in 1941. These were the Midland Cup and the War League South. These trophies are on display at King Power Stadium. The team also came to within one match of playing at Wembley for the first time in the Club’s history when they narrowly lost to Arsenal in the two-legged semi-final of the 1941 League War Cup.

Tom Bromilow left Filbert Street in May 1945, to take up a coaching position in Holland. This was followed by a four year spell as Newport County’s manager.  He returned to Filbert Street as chief scout and trainer in July 1950, posts which he held until 1959 when he sadly he died on a train in Nuneaton whilst returning from Wales after watching a game.

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