Savage scores 4 to conclude the Gold cup - the 7th of 7 Trophies on this May 20 date in 1922

Posted : 20th May 2020 at 11:34:42

On this May 20 date in 1922, the Linfield team entered folklore in creating footballing history, by completing the Clean Sweep of winning all 7 available trophies.

It was an incredible feat that was to be repeated 40 years later when another Linfield team achieved legendary status, by winning the Seven Trophies in 1961/62.

Their achievements cannot be equalled, as there are now only 4 trophies available and of course, this club achieved a fantastic Clean Sweep, winning all 4 trophies in 2005/06.

So, here's how our humble 1921/22 players achieved immortality.

Led by their Scots captain Bob Wallace, whose WW1 career in Greece and subsequent career at Nottingham Forest have been extensively featured on this website recently, the 1921/22 team won their first of seven trophies in September, defeating Cliftonville at the Oval to win the Alhambra Cup.

The second of seven trophies was the League title which was won by November.

The third of the seven trophies was the City cup, played on a league basis and won in January.

The fourth of the seven trophies was the County Antrim Shield which was won in March after a replayed final against Distillery at Solitude.

The fifth of the seven trophies was the Irish Cup which was won later in March, after a 2-1 win against Glenavon at the Oval.

The sixth of the seven trophies was the Charity Cup which was won on May 13 after a win against Cliftonville Olympic at the Oval.

And so, the final piece of the jigsaw, the seventh of the Seven Trophies was the Gold Cup which was also played on a league basis and which was completed on this May 20, date in 1922.

And if you are going to enter the record books, no better way than to do it, than with style.

On this May 20, date exactly 98 years ago, here's how Linfield competed the Gold cup campaign to win the seventh trophy to enter football folklore.

5-1 home win against Glentoran

Goals scored by Bill Savage (4) and Sandy McIlreavey.

The team line up was - Harland, Maultsaid, Frame, Wallace, Morgan, McIlveen, Evans, McCracken, Savage, McIlreavey and McGrillen.

So who was this Bill Savage who scored 4 in this final Gold cup game and who had also scored 4 (against Cliftonville) in the final City cup game.

He had also scored the winner in the 2-1 Irish Cup final and he had also scored 2 in the 4-1 win In the County Antrim Shield final.

He was obviously a player for the big occasions and so to find out more about one of our legendary immortals, I turned to the treasure trove of the archive handwritten records of the former chairman, the late David Crawford.

And there was a great story to tell about William Henry Marcus Savage, another of the Great players whose achievements helped make this club the great institution that it has become today.

Bill Savage was born on April 3, 1896 in Chatham, Gillingham in Kent.

He was the son of Henry Daley Savage and Mary June Savage.

He was a red headed centre forward or inside left who served 11 years in the military (Royal Engineers), including 4 years in France during World War 1.

Linfield's military history expert Johnny Jamison has been able to acquire Bill's medal index card which is featured at the end of this article.

David Crawford records that Bill was stationed in Dundalk after the war which would have coincided with a troublesome time in Post war Irish history, with the war of independence taking place at the time. He married a girl from Dundalk and it was while playing for Dundalk FC, that he was spotted by Tom Chambers and this led to his move to Linfield.

Bill who had been on the books of Plymouth and Crewe and who made 4 appearances for Gillingham in 1919/20, signed for Linfield in November 1921, making his debut in a 1-1 home draw against Glentoran in the City cup on November 26, 1921. His first goal was in a 2-1 home win in the City cup against Distillery on December 10, 1921.

Signing at that time was a significant boost for Linfield's ambitions for the season but it also meant that Bill missed out on the first 2 winners medals of the Clean Sweep season - the Alhambra cup and Irish league, which had already been completed by the time Bill joined Linfield. Nevertheless, he went on to win the remaining 5 winners medals in that memorable and historic season.

Bill's nickname was, unsurprisingly perhaps, 'Soldier' and in concluding the notes on his military career, David Crawford writes that he was employed as an army supplies store keeper. It's also recorded thar Bill was stationed at Victoria barracks (although it's unclear whether this was in Belfast or Windsor, England) and David Crawford also writes that Bill was transferred to Aldershot barracks in May 1923.

Bill was the leading scorer in the famous 1921/22 season and with Linfield, he made the following appearances

1921/22 - 29 appearances, scoring 28 goals

1922/23 - 24 appearances, scoring 20 goals

Total - 53 appearances, scoring 48 goals

In addition to the five medals won in the Seven trophy winning season which have already been referenced earlier in this article, Bill also won the following honours in his second and final season with Linfield in 1922/23

Irish League winners medal

Irish Cup winners medal - scoring one in the 2-0 win v Glentoran at Solitude on March 31, 1923.

County Antrim Shield winners medal - scoring 2 in the 4-1 win v Glentoran at Solitude on March 10, 1923

He also picked up an Alhambra cup runners up medal, following a 2-0 defeat by Cliftonville at the Oval on August 30, 1922.

Bill left Linfield on May 23, 1923 signing for Aldershot where he was to be stationed in barracks.

From there he moved 'home' to Chatham FC and then Gillingham in October 1923, where he made 4 appearances in that 1923/24 season.

David Crawford's records reveal that Bill was living at an address at 167 Argyll Avenue in Hounslow in Middlesex but there are no dates.

Bill Savage passed away, aged 79 on October 19, 1975 at his address of 40 Westbrook, Saltdean in Brighton

The club has no known details of children but as we regularly state in these profile articles, we regularly receive correspondence from descendants of former players. Again, we would love to hear from any descendants (if there are any) of Bill Savage who served his club (achieving immortal status as a Clean Sweep winning legend) and who served his country for 11 years, including 4 years in France during the horrors of WW1.

Linfield FC salutes the memory and legacy of Bill Savage and his team mates whose 5-1 Gold Cup win on this exact May 20 date 98 years ago today, ensured their place in the history books for ever more, as one of the Greatest Linfield and Irish League teams of all time.

I trust that this article can do justice and pay adequate tribute to the memory of the enormity of their achievements.

Audaces Fortuna Juvat


In the iconic team photo below, Savage is the second person from the left on the middle row - beside J. Peden wearing the bow tie.

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