Sheffield Wednesday's top 30 players - Number 6

HITC Sport's countdown of the Owls' greatest ever players continues with Fred Spiksley.

Fred Spiksley is probably the most interesting man ever to have lived. In hindsight, being one of Sheffield Wednesday's greatest ever players pales in comparison to all of his other achievements. Nevertheless, his Hillsborough career is where we'll begin.

Born in Lincolnshire in January 1870, Spiksley signed for Wednesday shortly before the Football League's formation, at the age of 21 and following a prolific spell at hometown team Gainsborough Trinity.

Spiksley finished as top scorer in five of the proceeding six campaigns, and fired the Owls to their first ever FA Cup in 1896 - scoring both goals in a 2-1 win against Wolves and impressing with a series of mischievous, rarely-before-seen back-heels.

Three years earlier, he'd hit a hat-trick on his England debut - against Scotland, no less - despite being a natural outside left.

Wednesday were relegated in 1899, but Spiksley helped them back into the top flight at the very first attempt and within three years of that, his last as an Owl, they were the champions of England - another club first.

Spells at Glossop North End, Leeds City, Southern United and Watford followed before Spiksley called time on his playing career.

To be fair, it was only eating into his off-field activities, which according to the Jason Dickinson book Sheffield Wednesday Miscellany, comprised:

Entertainment (he played the piano in Fred Karno's travelling sketch show); journalism (he worked as a freelance writer); scouting; illegal betting (for which he was fined £2 in 1908); coaching (after a spell in Sweden he worked for 1860 Munich, Nuremburg, Lausanne Sports, Barcelona, Real Espana OD and The Reforma Club); being held prisoner (while in Germany during the First World War); escaping and returning to England; working as the Mexico City branch of the Canadian Bank of Montreal's head of the despatch department; deserting his wife; divorcing and re-marrying; competing in skating, rowing and swimming events; and watching 'the Sport of the Kings' (which he continued to do until his death during the 3:10 at Goodwood - after supposedly backing the winner).

Sheffield Wednesday career: 1891-1903

Appearances: 324

Goals: 115

International career: 1893-98

Caps: 7

Goals: 5


The countdown so far: Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24,Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number, 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16,Number 15, Number 14, Number 13, Number 12, Number 11, Number 10, Number 9, Number 8Number 7

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