Leslie Knighton

Infobox Football biography
playername = Leslie Knighton
fullname = Albert Leslie Knighton
dateofbirth = birth date|1884|3|15|mf=y
cityofbirth = Church Gresley
countryofbirth = England
dateofdeath = death date and age|1959|5|10|1884|3|15
cityofdeath = Bournemouth
countryofdeath = England
manageryears = 1912
1919-1925
1925-1928
1928-1933
1933-1939
1945-1948
managerclubs = Huddersfield Town "(caretaker)"
Arsenal
Bournemouth
Birmingham
Chelsea
Shrewsbury Town

Albert Leslie Knighton (born March 15, 1884 in Church Gresley, Derbyshire; died May 10, 1959, in Bournemouth) was an English football manager.

After spells as an assistant manager at Huddersfield Town and Manchester City, Knighton was appointed manager of Arsenal in 1919, shortly after the club had been promoted to the First Division. He oversaw the club for six years, but Arsenal never finished higher than ninth during his tenure.

While at Arsenal, Knighton was involved in one of the first recorded cases of doping; before a January 1925 FA Cup tie against West Ham United, Knighton gave the players what he described as "little silver pills", given to him by a Harley Street doctor who was a fan of the club; although the pills were successful in increasing the players' energy, after three matches they rebelled and refused to take them for fear of ill effects. Knighton's activities, entirely legal under the rules at the time, were not made public until he recounted the episode in his memoirs.

Knighton had numerous fallings-out with Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris; Norris put a strict cap of £1,000 on transfer fees and refused to sign any player under 5'8" tall or eleven stone; when Knighton signed the 5' tall Hugh "Midget" Moffatt from Workington in 1923, Norris was furious when he found out; he overruled his manager and promptly sold the player to Luton Town before he'd played a League game.

Despite Norris's interfering Knighton signed some quality players for Arsenal, including Bob John, Jimmy Brain and Alf Baker. However, he could never knit together a solid winning side and Arsenal's performances gradually declined towards the end of his tenure; they finished 19th in 1923-24 and 20th in 1924-25. Norris dismissed Knighton that summer. Knighton later alleged that Norris has only sacked him to avoid paying him a bonus from a benefit match that he was due. Norris denied this and instead cited Knighton's poor managerial record, but later regretted his dismissal and in his will left Knighton £100, a substantial sum for the time.

After leaving the Gunners, Knighton went on to manage Bournemouth (1925-28), Birmingham (1928-33), whom he led to the 1931 FA Cup Final, Chelsea (1933-39), and Shrewsbury Town (1945-48), before their election to the Football League.

Knighton retired to Bournemouth after suffering ill health and took on the less pressurised job of a golf club secretary, during which he found time to write an autobiography - Behind the Scenes in Big Football (1948) - in which many revelations were made.

External links

* [http://www.youandyesterday.co.uk/articles/Knighton%2C_Leslie_-_Church_Gresley%27s_Most_Famous_Resident%3F "Church Gresley's Most Famous Resident? by published author Peter Seddon"]


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