A native of Redbrook, Arthur Fairclough became secretary/manager of Barnsley Football Club in 1898 as the Reds joined the Football League. After four years he resigned and handed the reins over to one of his players, John McCartney. But two years later he returned and over the next eight years he began a stellar recruitment drive with a host of talented players arriving at Oakwell.
The reward for his patience and loyalty was two FA Cup finals, realising a personal dream of lifting the trophy after the 1912 victory over West Bromwich Albion for his hometown club.
Shortly after achieving his goal he left for Huddersfield Town and over the next seven years he built a successful side despite financial troubles, gaining promotion to the First Division in 1920. He undoubtedly laid the foundations for Herbert Chapman’s triple title winning Terriers side from 1923 to 1926.
In 1920 he became manager of the newly-established Leeds United AFC, guiding them to the Second Division title by 1924 but the Whites were relegated three years later.
Upon that relegation he returned for a third spell at Oakwell, spending a further two years at the club and grooming his successor in Brough Fletcher.
Not only one of the most successful managers to take charge of the Reds, he was a massive success in terms of recruitment, and is rightly regarded as one of Barnsley Football Club’s true legends.
FA CUP WINNING MANAGER