Was this a Foul on Arthur Longbottom? Or was it just an Accident?

Posted on by Steve Russell

I managed to pick up a couple of loose pages a while ago that had been extracted from a 1950’s football book, titled: ‘A Foul, Mr Howell? Or, is this just an Accident?

The caption reads: ‘Should Mr Denis Howell, the referee, give a free kick against Sam Burton, the Swindon Town goalkeeper? Arthur Longbottom, the Queen’s Park Rangers’ inside-right, appeals for a foul. Judge for yourself from the picture, but we can tell you that there was no whistle and no free kick.

Arthur Longbottom went on to make 218 appearances for the R’s, and scored 68 goals. He was transferred to Port Vale in May 1961 for a fee of ¬£2,000. Arthur later changed his surname to ‘Langley’ and former Rangers team mate Mike Tomkys, told me that he was still in touch with him, and living in his native Yorkshire.

Denis Howell continued to referee until 1966. He was also a Member of Parliament for Birmingham All Saints from 1955 until 1959.

He then successfully won the 1961 Birmingham Small Heath by-election and later became the Minister of Sport.

Steve Russell



2 Responses to Was this a Foul on Arthur Longbottom? Or was it just an Accident?

  1. Kerrins says:

    Looks like a foul to me! Sam Burton the Swindon keeper 1946 to 1961 had a slight reputation for being an eccentric and Maverick type goalie. He is guilty!

    I saw Arthur Longbottom play in his last 4 seasons at QPR FC. He never seemed to get the credit he deserved from the adult spectators at Loftus Rd and was far more appreciated at his other subsequent clubs especially Port Vale and Oxford.

  2. Martin63 says:

    My Dad’s cousin Peter Robinson always used to refer to Denis Howell ‘as the ref who sent Mick Leach off’ with a note of incredulity in his voice ?


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