clapton players, heros & icons
Walter Daniel John Tull was born in Folkestone on 28th April 1888. His father was a carpenter from Barbados who had moved to Folkestone and married a local woman.
By the age of nine, Walter had lost both his parents, and when he was 10 he and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist orphanage in Bethnal Green. His brother left the orphanage two years later, was adopted by a Scottish family and became a dentist. Meanwhile, Walter played for the orphanage football team, and in 1908, began playing for Clapton FC.
It has been widely, and mistakenly, reported in articles in both football and national press that Walter played for Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient). Other reports state that Clapton FC were a local team and infers that the Tons were a mere 'bunch of amateurs'. How wrong they are.
Amateur they may have been, however the Clapton team of this era were one of the best non-professional outfits in England. Whilst playing for the Clapton FC, Walter Tull won winner's medals in the FA Amateur Cup, London County Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup. He, and Clapton FC, were certainly no 'bunch of amateurs'.
However, Walter Tull had been identified as a player of great skill and, in March 1909, the Football Star called him 'the catch of the season'. In the photo (above) of the FA Amateur Cup winning team of 1909, Walter Tull is in the front row, one from the right.
In 1909 he signed as a professional for
Tottenham Hotspur and whilst with the
Spurs he experienced, for the first
time, spectator racism when his team
travelled to play Bristol City.
According to one observer, 'a section of
the spectators made a cowardly attack on
him in language lower than
Billingsgate.' The correspondent
"Let me tell those Bristol hooligans
that Tull is so clean in mind and method
as to be a model for all white men who
play football whether they be amateur or
professional. In point of ability, if
not actual achievement, Tull was the
best forward on the field"
HEROS & ICONS
W.R. (Reginald) Davies