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ALEXANDER GRAHAM DOGGART

Alexander Graham Doggart was born on June 2nd 1897, and is known by some as the 'Father of English football', for his appointment of World Cup winning Manager, Sir Alf Ramsey. 

Born in County Durham, Graham Doggart was educated at Bishop Stortford but before heading to King's College in Cambridge he saw active service during the First World War. After the conflict, while studying at Cambridge University, Doggart was awarded a double blue, representing his university at both football and cricket.

On graduating, Doggart became a prolific forward for the Corinthians, scoring a record 207 goals in just 203 games for the club. Having scored on his debut, in a 2-1 win against Manchester United on the 29th of December, 1920 - Doggart never stopped scoring! 

Playing during the resurgence of the 1920's - one of his 207 goals famously included the winning goal against Blackburn Rovers, which sent Corinthian FC into the second round of the FA Cup, their self imposed ban on playing for prizes lifted in January 1924. 

 

The Corinthian side that faced Blackburn in the FA Cup in 1924. Doggart sits second from right.

In the same season, Doggart gained a full international cap as well, in which he also captained his country. A 2-2 draw against Belgium, the match was held at the Bosuilstadion, home of Royal Antwerp FC on November 1st, 1923

  

 The scene at Bosuilstadion, November 1st 1923 where Belgium and England played a 2-2 draw with Doggart captain of England.

 

For Corinthians again, he scored 3 in a 7-2 win over Derby County, he netted in a 5-0 victory over Southampton... he would score  4, 6 and even 9 goals in a game at times, he was a rare talent.

Having toured Denmark, Holland, France and Switzerland with the club - where he also scored goals against Young Boys of Berne and Grasshoppers - A.G. Doggart played his final game for the Corinthians against Cambridge University in November, 1932.

And all the while at cricket, he played as a right-handed batsman. In two Varsity match appearances he scored 45 and 71, and in his first-class career between 1919 and 1930 he also scored 1,790 runs and took 88 wickets for Cambridge, Durham and Middlesex over an 11 year career. It was quite the sporting life!

 

 The 1922 Cambridge side, including Graham Doggart (Back left)

 

Yet despite his record breaking feats, Alexander Doggart will forever be more remembered for the legacy he created during his post playing career. From 1932, Doggart became a Football Association Councillor and, in 1951, he became vice president of the entire FA program. In 1961, he finally became the FA chairman. Alongside his many duties, Doggart was assigned to the England selection team, and tasked with appointing a successor to Walter Winterbottom, the then England manager.

Walter Winterbottom had extraordinarily been the first recognised manager of the England national team. A position he'd held for 16 years before standing down in 1962. Finding a replacement for such a man would be no easy task. 

In the 8 previous years, Alf Ramsey had taken Ipswich Town from the third tier of English football to winning the first division championship. In 1962, they only narrowly lost out to the eventual European Cup winners, A.C. Milan, after having beaten them 2-1 at home, eventually losing 4-2 on aggregate. 

Winterbottom had never had complete control over the national side, with a "selection committee" picking his team, which just lost out to Brazil in the quarter finals of the 1962 World Cup that summer. Changes were needed to be made and Doggart believed Ramsey to be the man.

Between Doggart and Ramsey a new, revolutionary path was mapped & taken -with Doggart bestowing on Ramsey new powers. The manager was now free to select his own side, and choose his own captain... and in Bobby Moore, Ramsey chose the youngest captain England had ever had.

Tragically though, Doggart would never see the fruits of his vision and labour, as he sadly died suddenly while actually chairing the annual meeting of the Football Association at Lancaster Gate on 7th June, 1963. He was fittingly 66. 

 

Sir Alf Ramsey of course, as he later became, would go on to become the only man to so far win England the World Cup, just three short years later. It would prove to be a testament to the vision of Alexander Doggart and a unique and wonderful legacy for Corinthians record goal scorer.

 

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