The Encylopedia of British Football

Joe Webster

Joseph (Joe) Webster was born in Nottingham in 1883. A goalkeeper, he played for Watford before joining West Ham United in 1914. He made his debut against Gillingham on 1st September 1914. He played in the first 17 fixtures of that season.

In October 1914, the Secretary of State, Lord Kitchener, issued a call for volunteers to both replace those killed in the early battles of the war. On 12th December William Joynson Hicks established the 17th Service (Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. This became known as the Football Battalion. Several top footballers joined this battalion. This included Frank Buckley, Walter Tull, Vivian Woodward and Evelyn Lintott. Buckley, a former soldier, became commander of the battalion.

Three members of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee visited Upton Park and made an appeal for volunteers during half-time. Joe Webster was one of those who joined the Football Battalion as a result of this appeal.

Webster spent three years on the Western Front and took part in the battles that took place at the Somme, Ypres, Vimy Ridge and Cambrai.

In 1919 Webster returned to West Ham United. However, Edward Hufton was now the first-team goalkeeper and he only managed two Second Division appearances against Huddersfield Town and Port Vale during the 1919-20 season.

Joe Webster died in Northampton on 15th October 1927.