Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday May 12 2014
It's back to the 1920's and 30's this week where Peverell Green takes a look at the career of Frank Sloan.
FRANK SLOAN - Born 26th December 1904 Chapelhall, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Frank started his football career playing for Shieldmuir Celtic in Scotland before being spotted by one of Argyle's Scottish scouts and recommended to manager Bob Jack.
In the 12 years Frank spent at Home Park he rarely commanded a regular first team spot. He was always up against strikers who would become renowned at the club for their goalscoring feats.
He was competing for a place with the likes of Sammy Black, Raymond Bowden, Jack Cock, Percy Cherrett, Tommy Grozier, Jack Leslie and Jack Vidler who between them would score 676 goals, including four goals in a game on five occasions and nineteen hat tricks for Argyle. It wasn't a lack of technical ability that restricted his appearances as he was a very gifted player.
He often infuriated his manager with his reluctance to drop back and help his defence if required, and when he had the ball would seldom pass to a team mate, preferring to run at the opposition defence until he was eventually tackled.
Frank made his debut on 19th April 1924 in a 2-0 win at home to Aberdare Athletic with Jack Leslie and Percy Cherrett scoring the goals. He scored his first goal three games later when Argyle beat Brighton 3-0 at Home Park, he scored the third goal after Jack Leslie and Billy Baker had got the first two.
In the next game, the last game of the season, also at home Argyle hammered Southend 7-1 with Frank scoring a hat trick and Jack Leslie and Percy Cherrett both scored twice to record a fifth consecutive win.
For the third consecutive season Argyle finished second in the table and with only one team being promoted once again missed out on promotion.
Frank started the 1924-25 season by scoring the Argyle goal in a 1-1 draw at Norwich and continued to score steadily throughout the season, his next came in a 3-0 win at Gillingham with Percy Cherrett scoring the other two.
Two weeks later he again scored the third goal this time in a 3-2 win at Brighton with Jack Leslie scoring the other two. Frank then scored the decisive second goal in a 2-0 win at home to Brighton after Sammy Black had opened the scoring.
In February he scored on three successive Saturday's, he scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Bournemouth and followed that up by scoring in a 1-0 win at home to Brighton, and then scored in a 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers.
Frank's eighth and last goal of the season came in a 3-2 win at home to Charlton with Jack Cock scoring the other two.
After being a regular first team player the previous season Frank only made four appearances in 1925-26 scoring one goal, that came in a 6-3 win at home to Norwich with four goals from Jack Cock almost single handedly beating the visitors, Jack Leslie and Frank were also on the scoresheet.
Frank didn't do much better the following season either, only making seven starts and again scoring once, he got the Argyle goal in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. For the sixth season in a row Argyle finished second.
1927-28 saw Frank make seventeen appearances and score seven goals. He scored his second hat trick in a 4-1 win at home to Bristol Rovers with Sammy Black also scoring.
He scored again in a 3-0 win at home to QPR, Frank scored the third after Jack Leslie and Sammy Black had scored the first two. His next came when he scored the winner in a 2-1 home win over Walsall after Alf Matthews had scored the first goal.
In April Frank scored in a 1-1 draw at Luton and finished the season off by scoring in the last game, a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace, he got the first with goalkeeper Fred Craig making the game safe with a penalty.
1928-29 saw Frank again on the sidelines, only making eleven appearances, he managed to score two goals with the first coming in a 2-2 draw at Luton with Jack Leslie also on the scoresheet. His other goal came in an easy 4-1 win at Highfield Road Coventry with Jimmy Healy, Jack Leslie, Frank and Raymond Bowden all scoring.
After eight years of just missing out on promotion 1929-30 turned out to be Argyle's year, they were unbeaten until Christmas day winning twelve and drawing six of their games.
Home Park proved to be a fortress winning eighteen games and drawing the other three games played there. Frank played a big part in securing the championship playing in 33 games, as many as he had in the previous three seasons. His first goal came in the 5-0 hammering of Torquay at home Park, Jack Leslie scored twice, with Fred McKenzie, Frank and Sammy Black all scoring.
His next also came in a big home win, this time 6-1 over Luton Jack Vidler (2), Tommy Grozier, Frank, Raymond Bowden and Sammy Black all scoring to ruin the Hatters trip to Home Park. With Argyle's unbeaten record coming to an end in a 1-0 defeat at Coventry on Christmas Day, they got their revenge the following day, winning the reverse fixture 3-0 in a game watched by a crowd of 27,975.
Frank got his next goal in a 3-0 win at Merthyr Town, scoring after Raymond Bowden had got the first two. He also scored in the 5-0 rout of Swindon at Home Park, one of eight games where Argyle scored at least four goals in a game that season, Raymond Bowden scored twice and John Pullen, Frank and Jack Vidler also scoring.
He scored another goal in a 3-1 win at Craven Cottage Fulham after John Pullen had scored the first two.
On Good Friday Frank scored two of the goals that helped to beat Newport 3-1 at Home Park with Norman Mackay also scoring. On the next Monday Argyle beat Newport 2-0 away thanks to Sammy Black's two goals, it was Argyle's ninth consecutive win and with three games still to go enough to ensure they were champions of Division 3 South.
Despite being a regular in the promotion winning season Frank only managed a total of thirty three games over the next three seasons, scoring one goal in each of them.
His goal in 1930-31 came in the first away game, a 2-1 defeat at Bristol City.
The following season his goal again came in a 2-1 away defeat, this time at Old Trafford, although Argyle had beaten United 3-1 at Home Park earlier in the season. The goal Frank scored in 1932-33 has been described in the newspapers of the day as the best goal ever scored at Home Park, it came at the end of the Easter games, Argyle had drawn 0-0 at White Hart Lane on Good Friday in front of a crowd of 44,483, Spurs would end the season as runners up to Stoke and be promoted to Division 1.
The reverse fixture was at Home Park on the Monday. Argyle kicked off and the ball was passed to Frank, he dribbled past several Spurs players, in typical fashion ignored his team mates' calls for him to pass as he got nearer the goal, he would often lose the ball now, but on this occasion he blasted the ball past the Spurs goalie, then calmly retrieved the ball from the net and dribbled back to the centre circle.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Eugene Melaniphy scoring the other Argyle goal, but it would be the one Frank scored that would be talked about and live long in the memory of the 21,461 who saw it.
1933-34 saw Frank return to playing in the first team more frequently, playing in just over half of the games and scoring five goals. The first coming in an unusual scoreline, a 5-4 defeat at Hull, Jimmy Cookson (2), Frank and Sammy Black scoring for Argyle. His next two goals came in high scoring games as well, both 4-3 Argyle wins, the first at Bradford City in early December with George Briggs, Frank and two from Jimmy Cookson winning the points.
On Christmas Day Nottingham Forest travelled to Home Park and left empty handed thanks to goals from Jimmy Cookson (2), Eugene Melaniphy and Frank. His next came in a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Lincoln, Frank scored the first and goals from Tommy Grozier and Jimmy Cookson followed. His last for the season came over Easter when he score the goal in a 1-0 win at home to Millwall.
1934-35 saw Frank rarely miss a game, making 35 appearances. He scored his first goal in the first home game of the season, a 6-4 win over Hull with Jack Vidler (3), Frank, Jimmy Cookson and Eugene Melaniphy the scorers. He then got a goal in a 3-1 win at Notts County, scoring in between goals from Eugene Melaniphy and Sammy Black. Frank and Eugene Melaniphy teamed up again when they scored the goals that beat Oldham 2-0 at Home Park. The same two players scored in a 2-2 draw at Bradford Park Avenue in early January. In March Argyle went to Oakwell and easily beat Barnsley 4-1 thanks to goals from Harry Roberts, Frank, Sammy Black and Jack Vidler.
Notts County came to Home Park in March and were beaten 4-0 with Tommy Grozier (2), Frank and Jack Vidler all scoring. Frank scored when Nottingham Forest were the visitors with Argyle winning 5-2 to record four wins over the two Nottingham teams in the same season, After George Briggs had opened the scoring, Jack Vidler and Frank both scored twice.
1935-36 saw Frank used sparingly again, only making nine appearances, although he still scored three goals. His first of the season came against the same team he had got the last, Nottingham Forest, they were once again beaten at Home Park, this time 3-1 with Jimmy Hunter, Jack Vidler and Frank all scoring.
His next came in the last game of 1935 on 28th December at Old Trafford with United winning 3-2 despite Johnny McNeil and Frank both scoring.
Frank's last goal for the club was when he got the third goal in a 3-2 win in the third round of the FA Cup at Stockport, Sammy Black had scored the first goal and Arthur Eggleston the second.
Although it was his thirteenth season at the club it was Frank's first goal in a cup game. He played his last game on 8th February in a 1-0 defeat at home to Hull.
Frank was now thirty one and Argyle had signed Jackie Smith from Barnsley who played in Franks inside forward position and he realised his playing days at Argyle were numbered.
Bob Jack who had been Frank's manager throughout his Argyle career let him move to Luton, although he never settled there and after making four appearances moved back to Home Park to join the ground staff.
Frank passed away in 1974 aged 69.
Date:Monday May 12 2014
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