Holmes, Walter

Born at Willington, Co. Durham, he became a teacher whose practical concern as a Christian was expressed by his service for many years as a headmaster in the slums of Middlesbrough. He became most widely known as a professional footballer, signing for 1st Division Middlesbrough FC in 1914. His doubts about becoming a local preacher were overcome through the influence of a fellow preacher, Thomas Metcalfe.


'For Hall, football was a pleasant way to earn a living, but it took second place to his vocation as God's witness...

'Before matches he would pray publicly in the dressing room and during the match he refused to resort to any kind of foul play. Nevertheless, the force of his fervour, the strength of his personality and the quality of his football won over a number of his team mates who eventually accompanied him on Sundays to Sportsman's Services at local chapels and took an active part in them... He was an effective speaker. His directness, sincerity and humility were compelling. His homilies were homespun, unpretentious parables for his down-to-earth listeners.'

Gender, Body and Sport, pp.152-3)

  • Bandy, Susan J. et al., Gender, Body and Sport in Historical and Transnational Perspectives (2008) pp.151-55


See also

Category: Person
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