Over the past few weeks Linfieldfc.com has launched a new ‘Monday morning memory lane image’ feature in which we focus on two separate photos and the interesting story behind the photos.
Today’s first contribution features the great Joe Bambrick scoring for Linfield in front of a packed unreserved terracing (where the North Stand is today).
Bambrick scored both goals in this 2-0 win on September 12, 1931 with Linfield lining up as follows - Lawson, Pyper, Curran, Edwards, Jones, McCleery, Houston, McCracken, Bambrick, Pollock and McCaw.
What’s interesting about this photo is the story behind the glove protecting a serious injury sustained on the star striker’s hand.
Writing in the Linfield centenary book Malcolm Brodie described how “Bambrick’s career, however, was almost prematurely ended on December 8, 1930. He had resumed training after treatment for an ankle injury and coming out of the bath after training, slipped, his hand going through a glass window. A wrist nerve was almost severed, only an immediate operation saved the hand. He had to miss the Gold cup final against Celtic two days later and an indication of his popularity can be judged by the daily bulletins on his condition issued from the Royal Victoria Hospital. “Bambrick improves”... “Satisfactory progress by Joe” .. “Sympathy sent from Celtic” ... Those were some of the headlines as he recuperated.
Joe suffered an ankle injury in a 2-1 home league win against Bangor on November 15, 1930 and he was in training, hoping to return to action in the Gold Cup final at Grosvenor Park on December 10 when he suffered the serious hand injury described above by Malcolm Brodie.
Linfield won the Gold Cup final 6-1 with 2 goals each for Jones, Grice and Hewitt.
Injury kept Bambrick out of action until April 27, 1931 when he scored in a 4-1 friendly home defeat by Manchester City.
He returned to competitive action scoring twice in a 5-2 home win on May 2, 1931 in the final group game of the City cup campaign.
He scored a hat trick in a 6-0 Charity cup home win against Crusaders on May 6, 1931 and scored once in the 3-2 semi final defeat by Distillery at Celtic Park on May 9.
He also played in two friendly games before the season ended - scoring a hat trick in a 3-0 win away to Castlewellan on May 7 and scoring once in a 5-3 win against Glentoran at Grosvenor park on May 18 in Tom McKeague’s benefit game.