Our Non League Days

In this sub-section of the museum we share with you photo’s, details etc. of players, and managers of the Posh who were cult heroes of the club during our non league days.

Let us know (at enquiries@theposhtrust.co.uk) of any other players / managers (and the reason why) you think they were cult heroes of our club in our non league days. If you put a good case forward we may include them in the future.

Please note some cult heroes from this era may be in ‘The 1960’s’ section if they continued to be involved with the club during the 60’s.

Page last updated: 27th June 2017

Andy Donaldson

Born 22 March 1925 in Newcastle upon Tyne – died 1987

Signed from Middlesbrough in 1951, Andy soon established himself as a fans favourite. In his first season at the Posh Andy scored 17 goals in 28 League appearances. In his second season he wasn’t as prolific and only managed 7 goals in 27 appearances and at the end of the season left Posh for Football League side Exeter City.

However in 1955 Andy returned to the Posh and his goal scoring feats helped the Posh to 4 Midland League titles. During this spell Andy made 105 league appearances scoring 73 goals.

His FA Cup record was impressive too – 10 goals in 21 appearances.

Did you know: Andy’s last goal for the Posh came at London Road on the 26th April 1958 against Denaby Utd which Posh won 9-0.

Dennis Emery

Born 4 October 1933 in Sandy Bedfordshire – died 1st May 1986.

To many of those old enough to have seen the great Dennis Emery play, he was not just a cult hero, but the best player ever to play for the Posh. Dennis played for the Posh from the 1954/55 season to the 1962/63 season winning the Midland League Championship 5 times and the 4th Division title in Posh’s first season in the Football League.

It was Dennis who scored Posh’s first ever goal in the Football League – at London Road in the 24th minute of the club’s first game of the season on Saturday the 20th August 1960 against Wrexham.

Involved in a collision with a lorry on the day of Posh’s FA Cup 2nd replay against Colchester Utd in 1961, Dennis suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken leg. Although he recovered from these injuries he never regained the form he showed before the accident.

In  total Dennis made 205 Midland League, 68 Football League, 33 FA Cup and 2 FL Cup appearances for the Posh, scoring an amazing 171 Midland League, 29 Football League and 31 FA Cup goals.

Did you know: Dennis left Posh for Bedford Town in July 1963 for £1,500.00.

Jack Fairbother

Born on 16 August 1917 in Burton upon Trent – died 20th October 1999.

Jack’s association with the Posh started on the 4th June 1952 when it was announced that the ex Newcastle Utd goalkeeper was to replace Bob Gurney as Posh manager.

That summer Jack brought in a number of experienced players including Paddy Sloan, Johnny Anderson and Al Woodward which saw large crowds attending Jack’s early games as Manager. Jack still playing made 60 Midland League apperances for the Posh during the 1952/53 and 1953/54 seasons. In the FA Cup, Jack took the Posh to the 2nd Round Proper in the 1952/53 season and went one better the following season when the Posh reached the 3rd Round Proper. However, after being knocked out of the cup by Cardiff City Jack left the Posh to become manager of Football League club Coventry City.

Jack came back to the Posh as the club’s second ‘Football League’ Manager in January 1963. He  was in post as Manager for fourteen months until February 1964, at which point he retired from football.

Did you know: Jack won the FA Cup with Newcastle Utd in 1951 when they beat Blackpool 2-0 at Wembley.

Sam Haden

Born 17th January 1902 in Royston, Yorkshire – died 31st December 1973.

Sam became Posh’s first player-manager in 1938 taking over from departing manager Bert Poulter and then the club’s first full-time manager in 1939.

Although he brought a successful and new style of management to the Posh – with good professional players joining the club, his managerial start didn’t get off that well – his Posh side lost their first five games. However that season (1938/39) he guided Posh to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup (where we played Bristol Rovers who were the first Football League side the Posh had taken on) and the club finished a respectable 10th out of 24 teams in the Midland League. Though a veteran, Haden’s performances in the FA Cup run were awesome. It was reported in the local papers that Sam was our most consistent player, showed amazing stamina and the accuracy of his passes was excellent.

After the war Sam led the Posh to two 9th and a 6th place finish in the Midland League and the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup in 1946/47.

Did you know: Sam played for Arsenal and Notts County in the Football League before joining the Posh.

Jimmy Hagan

Born 21 January 1918 in Washington, County Durham – died 26th February 1998.

Jimmy’s cult hero status was achieved by managing the Posh to three league titles in consecutive seasons, two in the Midland League (1958/59 & 1959/60) and the 4th Division title in our first season in the Football League in 1960/61.

In his first season in charge (1958/59) the Posh went undefeated throughout the whole of the Midland league season and in the 1960/61 season Posh scored 134 goals, this remains the record number of goals scored in one season in the English Football League.

Did you know: Jimmy went on to further success at WBA where he won the League Cup as manager and at Benfica he led the club between 1970 and 1973 to three successive Portuguese championships and once to the national cup.


Billy Hails

Born 19 February 1935 in Nettlesworth

Billy, a star of Posh’s all conquering Midland League sides of the late 1950’s, was a diminutive winger and was signed by Posh Manager George Swindon from Lincoln City.

After helping the Posh to 5 Midland League titles, Billy played in every 46 League games in the Posh’s Division 4 Championship winning side of 1960/61.  Part of arguably Posh’s finest ever forward line along with Terry Bly, Dennis Emery, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee. Billy made 94 League, 11 FA Cup and 2 League Cup appearances during the 1960’s scoring 28 league, 3 FA Cup and 2 FL Cup goals.

Billy joined arch rivals Northampton Town in October 1962 helping them to promotion to the 2nd and then 1st Division.

Did you know: Billy was the Posh Manger from November 1978 to February 1979 for 9 games. Sadly the Posh only won 2 games of those games.

George Hair

Born 28th April 1925 in Ryton, Tyne and Wear – died 24th October 1994

Signed by Bob Gurney, George, a left winger, made his Posh debut in the 5-1 win on the opening day of the 1951/52 season.

George helped Posh to their highest finish in the FA Cup in 1954 (at the time) when the Posh reached the 3rd Round Proper for the first time in their history losing to First Division side Cardiff City 3-1 in front of a 38,000 crowd. George played a significant part  in Posh winning their first Midland League title in the 1955/56 season when he played in 42 of the 46 league games scoring 16 goals (3 from the penalty spot).

In total George made 168 Midland League appearances scoring 40 goals as well as making 17 FA Cup appearances scoring 3 goals.

After leaving Peterborough George went to Boston United for a season then on to Spalding United for several seasons.

Did you know: George was signed from Grimsby Town who had paid Newcastle Utd £6,000 for his services during the 1948/49 season. The majority of George’s Newcastle appearances were in war-time matches.

Jack Kendall

Born 9 October 1905 in Broughton, near Brigg in Lincolnshire – died October 1961.

Not only was Jack the first full-time professional to be signed by the newly formed Peterborough United in 1934 as the club prepared for its first season in the Midland League, Jack was first-choice goalkeeper at the club for four years and put in numerous ‘man of the match’ performances.

In total Jack played 125 games in the Midland League and 9 times in the FA Cup for the Posh.

Did you know: Jack made his Football League debut for Lincoln City on the 2nd September 1922, shortly before his 17th birthday, and kept a clean sheet in the game against Halifax Town in the Third Division North game.

image coming soon

Ken Laxton

Born 30th May 1927 in Oundle, Northamptonshire.

Although Ken only played 9 times for the Posh (7 in the Midland League and 2 in the FA Cup), his cult hero status was achieved on the 6th October 1945.

On that day Posh were playing Rushden Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round FA Cup tie against Rushden Town at Hayden Road, Rushden.

Posh won the game 9-1 (our biggest FA Cup victory) with Ken scoring 6 goals. His goals came in the 30th, 43rd, 50th, 65th, 80th and 89th minute of the game.

Did you know: In the 9 games Ken played for the Posh he scored 9 goals.


Freddie Martin

Born 13th December 1925 in Nottingham – died 1969.

Jack Blood brought Freddie to the Posh from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 1949. At the end of his first season at the Posh Freddie was the club’s top goal scorer having scored 30 league and cup goals in 44 games.

Top goal scorer for the Posh became a bit of a habit for Freddie as he was the club’s top goal scorer again in the 1950/51 and 1952/53 seasons. In the 1951/52 and 1953/54 he only managed to be ‘runner up’ to the top scorer but still managed to score 19 and 27 goals respectively in those seasons.

In total Freddie made 237 Midland League appearances, scoring 124 goals and 20 FA Cup appearances scoring 11 goals.

Did you know: Freddie scored on his Posh Midland League debut (20 Aug 1949) and in his last Midland League game for the Posh (16th April 1956).

Charlie MacCartney

Born 4th February 1910 in Stamford – died 1982

Sadly the war had an impact on Charlie’s footballing career as he only played for the Posh for three seasons; the 1938/39, 1939/40 and 1945/46 seasons.

However during that time he became a real Posh hero. He made 42 Midland League and 6 FA Cup appearances, scoring 29 league and 9 FA Cup goals. He holds the record for the most goals in one FA Cup campaign (9 – 1938/39) and was the first Posh player to score a hat-trick in a FA Cup fixture ( v Rushden Town on the 20th October 1938).

Such was the fans adulation of Charlie, in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup at Spalding Utd when he scored the winning goal eight minutes from the end, excited Posh supporters rushed on to the pitch and slapped him on the back. It was “Mac’s” second goal in a remarkable game of fluctuating fortunes, and as soon as the final whistle sounded the Posh supporters swarmed on to the pitch again, and this time carried him shoulder high to the dressing room.

Did you know: Charlie scored 5 goals in the Posh’s Midland League 12-0 win over Boston Utd on the 31st December 1938.

Norman Rigby

Born 23 May 1923 in Newark-on-Trent – died 21 August 2001.

Norman played for the Posh from the 1951/52 season to the 1961/62 season. He made his Posh debut on the 18th August 1951 when the Posh lost to Notts County Reserves 4-2 in the Midland League.

Norman went on to make 339 appearances for the Posh in the Midland League scoring 1 goal and was the backbone of our defence as the Posh won 5 consecutive Midland League titles. He was captain of the 1960/61record breaking 4th Division Championship side and made 55 Football League appearances for the club.

Although released by the club in summer 1962 Norman was back at the Posh two years later as assistant manager to Gordon Clark and was installed as Manager in September 1967.

Did you know: Whilst manager of the Posh Norman signed future legends of the club Jim Hall and Tommy Robson.

Paddy Sloan

Born 30 April 1920 in Lurgan, County Armagh –  died January 1993.

Paddy’s widely travelled career took him to twenty different clubs in five different countries, including Northern Ireland, England, Italy, Malta and Australia. As a player, his clubs included Manchester United, Arsenal, Milan as well as the Posh!

Although Paddy joined the Posh in the twilight of his career (in 1952), at the age of 32, he was an influential player and made 80 Midland league appearances scoring 13 goals and 12 FA Cup appearances scoring 3 gaols in the two seasons he was at the club.

Did you know: When Paddy began his international career, there were two Ireland teams, chosen by two rival associations. Both associations, the Northern Ireland based FA and the Republic of Ireland, claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Ireland and selected players from the whole island. As a result Paddy was selected for and played for both countries.

Ray Smith

Born 13 Sept 1934 in Hull.

Ray although not such a prolific goal scorer as Dennis Emery or Terry Bly, was an unsung hero of Posh’s 4th Division Championship winning side of 1960/61. He scored 17 league goals that season in 45 appearances which included two hat-tricks.

In our first season in the Third Division, the 1961/62 season, Ray made a further 37 league appearances scoring 11 more goals before surprisingly being placed on the transfer list in October 1962 by Jimmy Hagan and moving to Northampton Town.

Did you know: Ray’s first name wasn’t Ray but Harold. The name Ray came from his middle name – Raymond.

Ellis Stafford

Born 17 August 1929 in Sheffield – died 31st October 2007 .

Signed by George Swindin in the summer of 1954, Ellis made his debut for the Posh on 21 August 1954 against Rotherham Utd Reserves in the Midland League.

In the Midland League Ellis went on to play a total of 182 times scoring 8 goals and was part of the 5 Midland League Championship winning teams.

Ellis also played 17 times in the Football League for the Posh including our first game in the League against Wrexham on 20 August 1960.

In the 1970’s Ellis became both Pools and Commercial Manager of the club.

Did you know: Ellis played alongside his elder brother George for the Posh 19 times between September 1954 and April 1956.

Jack Walls

Born 8 May 1932 in Seaham – died 2 February 2013

Jack, was signed by George Swindin in May 1956 from Barnsley and made his Posh debut on the opening day of the 1956/57 season keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Boston Utd.  Jack was the regular number one in four of the clubs five successive Midland League title wins between 1955-56 and 1959-60.

When Posh were promoted to the Football League Jack continued in goal and was ever-present in the 1960-61 season when the club won the Fourth Division title.

In total Jack made 132 Midland League, 78 Football League and 30 FA Cup appearances for the Posh.

After leaving the Posh in 1962 Jack went on to play for local teams King’s Lynn and Wisbech.

Did you know: The only competitive game Jack wasn’t involved in during the Posh’s first season in the Football League, was Posh’s 4-1 defeat at Preston North End in the League Cup.