The Hall of Fame crtieria is that inductees will have made an outstanding contribution to the development, and/or success, and/or history of the football club and/or its community. Edwin ‘Eddie’ Mosscrop certainly ticks those boxes.
It is often stated that he was Southport born but this was not the case. He had infact been born in Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield on 16th June 1889. The third child of Samuel and Margaret. Eddie’s father was a travelling salesman and by 1891 the family had moved to 9 Morven Grove, Southport. Samuel became a coal merchant, his two elder brothers joining him in the family business.
Growing up in the town, he started his football career with local side Blowick FC. With aspirations to become a teacher he moved to London for training at St Mark’s College in Chelsea. During that time turned out for Shepherd’s Bush FC and represented Middlesex FA.
His first teaching role was at a school in Salford. He was only there for a short time before he secured a permanent position back home in Southport. He resumed his football with Southport YMCA (who would much later become Southport FC Juniors), before being picked up from local football by Southport Central.
He spent little over a season as a regular with Central, his teaching duties always coming first, but during this time he developed into an impressive outside left and began attracting attention from further afield. It was of no surprise really that his career with Central would only be a short one, as Football League giants Burnley offered him terms as an amateur in July 1912.
At a club that has been the springboard for many successful football careers, Eddie should be considered one of Southport Football Club’s greatest exports.
It was only a matter of months before Burnley realised the value of their acquisition and Mosscrop signed professional. Within two years he had earned two England caps and has been part of the Burnley side that lifted the FA Cup in 1914. His winners medal and shirt are both proudly displayed in the National Football Museum.
As the onset of war loomed, the Government introduced conscription to the armed forces. For various reasons many refused to join the forces, with the beliefs of conscientious objectors often open to public ridicule.
As a hero of Burnleys 1914 FA Cup campaign Eddie appeared before a Military Service Tribunal (MST) in Southport to appeal for exemption from combatant service. There was little criticism in this case and he was posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps where he served in France and Salonika. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, playing football for the RAMC teams whilst abroad before returning to Burnley in 1919. With teaching taking priority, he was in and out of the side on his return, but did enough to earn a winner medal for his role in Burnley’s championship win 1920/21.
He was forced to retire from professional football in November 1922 due to a serious illness and subsequently returned to his adopted hometown of Southport. Having managed his professional football career alongside his regular day-job as a teacher, post football retirement, he become the headmaster of Bury Road Primary School.
A committed teacher in the town for over 40 years, the red-haired, spectacle wearing, slightly built man with a dry sense of humour was ‘Mossy’ to his teammates and Mr Mosscrop to his pupils.
He retired from Bury Road School in 1949, aged 60. A keen all round sportsman, he helped his son Norman set up a cycle shop on Bispham Road a few years later. Mosscrop cycles is still popular to this day, run proudly by his grandchildren.
Upon his death in 1980, he was the last surviving pre-world war I England International, aged 90. At his Funeral held at All Saints Parish Church in Southport, well wishers sang Abide With Me in memory of one of the town’s greatest success stories.
A tree was planted in his memory at St George’s Park the home of the England National team in May 2018, by members of the current England squad.