The Lincoln v Sunderland programme contained an excellent photograph of Fred Trueman in action for City and the same photo has now appeared in this month’s When Saturday Comes but unfortunately the captions used in both the programme and WSC are incorrect, an error that probably dates back to when the image was archived, writes Gary Parle.
Born in Yorkshire in 1931 Fred Trueman had excelled at cricket whilst at school and in 1948 joined Yorkshire making his first-class debut in May 1949 against Cambridge University, being awarded his county cap in 1951. He had a winter job at Maltby Main Colliery in the offices, encouraged by Yorkshire, as that was still considered a reserved occupation so he wasn’t liable to do National Service but when that status was removed, he volunteered to do his service joining the RAF in the summer of 1951.
He was based at RAF Hemswell and was fortunate to have as his station commander a cricket enthusiast, who would grant him leave enabling him to make a few appearances for Yorkshire as well as his England debut in June 1952. He played football for RAF Hemswell and it was whilst playing for the camp side later that year that he came to the attention of City manager Bill Anderson.
He made an instant impact on his debut for the Colts team scoring four times in a 5-0 Lincolnshire League win at Appleby Frodingham on November 8th 1952 prompting Anderson to immediately sign him on amateur forms for the club, probably to the dismay of Scunthorpe United as Trueman later said he had asked them for a trial but had heard nothing back so he took a chance with Lincoln.
An appearance in a midweek practise match between City’s first and reserve teams saw him score twice for the reserves and he was chosen to be centre forward for the reserves Midland League match at home to Peterborough United the following Saturday, a game that attracted 7328 spectators which is the highest home gate for any City reserve match. The game though was played in foggy conditions and ended up goalless although Trueman did have a goal disallowed for offside. Trueman’s direct opponent Norman Rigby though was said to have had an easy game with Trueman described “as obviously not yet a footballer of Midland League class”
A second, and as it turned out final, Midland League appearance was made in a 4-2 victory at Mansfield on November 22nd and whilst he was selected to play for the Lincolnshire League side at Barton the following week he pulled out of the game as he had made a previous commitment to open a Christmas fair at Horncastle and added that he would be talking with his dad over the next few days as to whether to continue to play football. Despite Anderson reportedly offering him a professional contract Trueman decided to decline it, due to concerns over possible injuries which could hinder his cricket career, and his brief association with City came to an end.
As it turned out it was obviously the correct decision as he went on to play over 600 1st class cricket games for Yorkshire and briefly Derbyshire taking over 2300 wickets whilst he represented England 67 times and became the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets, finishing on 307. Awarded the OBE in 1989 he died in July 2006
Sources: Who’s Who of Lincoln City; When Saturday Comes, various newspapers including Daily Mirror, Peterborough Standard via www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk