Arthur Whalley

Arthur Whalley : Manchester United

Arthur Whalley was born in Rainford, Lancashire, on 17th February 1886. He played local football for Bryn Central before joining Blackpool in 1908.

Whalley only played five games for the club before Ernest Mangnall, the manager of Manchester United, paid £50 for his services. He was purchased to provide cover for half-back line, Charlie Roberts, Dick Duckworth and Alec Bell.

Whalley only played 9 games in the 1909-10 season. However, he was selected 15 times for the championship winning team of 1910-11. Whalley was a regular first-team player the following season but he unfortunately suffered a serious knee injury in the 1913-14 season.

Manchester United finished in 18th place, just one point above relegated Chelsea, in the 1914-15 season. The club owed its survival to a 2-0 victory over Liverpool on 2nd April, 1915. Afterwards, bookmakers claimed that they had taken a great deal of money on the 7-1 odds offered on a 2-0 United victory. They suspected that the game had been fixed and pointed out that late in the game, the Liverpool player, Jackie Sheldon, missed a penalty. The bookmakers decided not to pay out on the result and offered a £50 reward for information that would unmask the conspirators.

The Sporting Chronicle newspaper took up the story and claimed that they discovered evidence that players on both sides had got together to concoct a 2-0 scoreline. The newspaper also argued that some of the players had large bets on the result.

The Football League announced it would carry out its own investigation into the case. It published its report in December 1915. It concluded that "a considerable amount of money changed hands by betting on the match and... some of the players profited thereby."

Whalley, who did not play in the match, was found guilty of this offence and was banned for playing professional football for life. Two other Manchester United players, Enoch West and Sandy Turnbull, were also banned. The same sentence was imposed on four Liverpool players: Jackie Sheldon, Tom Fairfoul, Tommy Miller and Bob Pursell. An eighth player, Laurence Cook, who played for Stockport County, was also convicted of being a member of the betting ring.

It was suggested that if the men joined the armed forces their punishment would be rescinded. Arthur Whalley joined the Middlesex Regiment and reached the rank of sergeant by 1917. Whalley was seriously wounded at Passchendale but recovered to play in 23 games for Manchester United in the 1919-20 season.

In May 1920 Whalley was transferred to Southend United for a £1,000. Later he played for Charlton Athletic and Millwall. After he retired in 1926 he worked as a bookmaker.

Arthur Whalley died in Manchester on 23rd November, 1952.