Alfie Harland - 1921/22 Seven Trophy goalkeeper

Posted : 30th March 2020 at 22:56:02

The following Facebook post by the Runcorn Historical society in Cheshire was reproduced recently by the Northern Ireland Football museum Facebook page and is reproduced here with permission.

The article concerns the former Linfield 1921/22 Seven Trophy goalkeeper Alfie Harland who later transferred to Everton.

Alfie won 6 of the 7 trophy winning medals, missing out only on the Alhambra Cup and he also won 3 caps for Ireland as a Linfield player.

He was one of 2 Linfield goalkeepers to be transferred to Everton - the other being Billy Scott, the brother of the famous Liverpool keeper Elisha Scott

Article by Stuart Allen
26 December 2017
Runcorn Cemetery, Greenway Road.


Alfred was born on the 26th November 1897 in Cookstown, a small town in County Tyrone, one of the main centres of the linen industry, west of the River Bann.

He had two brothers - William and Vernon, and five sisters - Loretta, Annie, Florie, Clara and Gertrude.

Alfred married Doris Emily Looker (b.1904) in September 1922 in Prescot, and they had three children: Bessie (b.1926), Alfred Ireland Jnr. (b.1928) and Loreta (known as Reta, b.1939).

He began his career with the junior team Dunmurry FC, winning the Steel & Sons Cup in 1919/20, before moving on to join Linfield FC, with whom he won the Irish Football League in 1921/22 and 1922/23 as well as the Irish Cup in 1921/22.

Signing with Merseyside giants Everton on the 22nd October 1922, Alfred made seventy appearances with the club from the 4th November 1922 until the 3rd October 1925.

He was capped twice for Ireland in 1922, but the team lost on both occasions: away to Norway 2-1 on the 25th May, and away to England 2-0 on the 21st October.

Alfred ended his football career keeping goal for Runcorn Association Football Club with whom he signed on the 26th May 1926. At that time Runcorn were playing in the Cheshire County League, a league which The Linnets won on five occasions: 1919/20, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1939/40 and 1962/63.

After his retirement from football he became the landlord of The Darwell Vaults in Bentinck Street and later The Bridge Hotel in Ashridge Street.

He died on the 20th May 1968, aged 70, at Barrymore Hospital, Great Barrow nr. Chester. At the time of his death he was living in Collier Street. His wife, Doris, died on the 5th April 1992, aged 87.

Alfred's grandson is the former professional footballer, Graham Abel. Beginning his career with Runcorn Association Football Club, he went on to play for the Football League teams, Chester City and Crewe Alexandra.

This piece is dedicated to Alfred's daughter, Bessie Abel.

My thanks to:

Toni Mayers, Johnty Hutchinson, Eric Butterworth and Rod Looker.

Graham Abel, Alfred's grandson and former professional footballer.

Everton Football Club.

Crewe Alexandra Football Club.

Dave Bettley, Trust Secretary of Runcorn Linnets Football Club.

Peter Blackmore, Chairman of The Runcorn & District Historical Society.

The Runcorn & District Historical Society meet on the first Friday of every month at the Church Hall, St John's Church in Weston at 7.30 p.m. New faces are always welcome. It is only £2 for guests to get in on the night or £10 for a full year's membership.

The Runcorn Family History Society meet on the first Wednesday of every month at Churchill Hall in Cooper Street at 7.30 p.m. New faces are always welcome. It is only £2.50 for guests to get in on the night.

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