82. Harry Wood
Full name Harry Wood
Date of birth 26 June 1868
Place of birth Walsall, England
Date of death 7 July 1951 (aged 83)
Place of death Portsmouth, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Inside forward
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Walsall Swifts ? ?
1887–1891 Wolverhampton Wanderers 60 (35)
1891 Walsall ? ?
1891–1898 Wolverhampton Wanderers 181 (74)
1898–1905 Southampton 158 (62)
1890–1896 England 3 (1)
Harry Wood (26 June 1868 – 5 July 1951) was a professional footballer who played most of his career as an inside forward for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton.
• Wood was born in Walsall and started his career with Walsall Swifts before moving to Wolverhampton Wanderers for the first time in 1887. In the following season, Wolves became one of the inaugural members of the Football League, finishing the season in third place. Wolves also reached the final of the FA Cup, losing to the league champions Preston North End. Wood was Wolves’ top scorer with thirteen goals from his seventeen league appearances. He was also Wolves’ top scorer in 1890–91 (jointly with Sammy Thomson) and 1892–93 (with 16 goals).
Wood remained with Wolves for the following two seasons, before returning to Walsall in the summer of 1891. His sojourn with Walsall was brief, however, and in November he returned to Wolves.
He remained with Wolves for a further seven seasons, during which he made two further appearances in FA Cup finals, being part of the winning team in 1893 (beating Everton 1–0), and losing 2–1 to Sheffield Wednesday in 1896. Whilst with Wolves, he made three appearances for England scoring once. Again he was Wolves’ top scorer in 1894–95 and 1895–96.
In the summer of 1898, Southampton’s trainer, Bill Dawson, was on a short holiday in Stoke when he read in a local paper that Wood had not yet renewed the terms of his contract with Wolves. Dawson tracked Wood down to a Walsall pub and eventually persuaded Wood to sign for the Saints, who had just claimed the Southern League championship for the second consecutive year.
According to Holley & Chalk’s The Alphabet of the Saints, “Harry Wood stands out as probably the most popular footballer to wear the Saints’ colours during the Southern League era.”.
In his first season at The Dell Wood was an ever-present making 24 appearances and scoring 16 goals as Saints took the Southern League championship for the third time. The following season, Saints only managed third place in the league, but reached the FA cup final for the first time in their history, beating three First Division clubs along the way. Unfortunately, the Cup Final was a great disappointment as Saints were swept aside 4–0 by Bury.
In the following season, 1900–01, Saints once again took the Southern League title, with Wood scoring 10 goals and Edgar Chadwick top-scorer with 14 goals. The 1901–02 season followed a similar pattern to 1899–00 with Saints finishing in third place and reaching their second FA Cup final, losing to Sheffield United after a replay.
In 1902–03, Saints won their sixth (and last) Southern League title with Wood only missing two games, scoring 12 goals. By now he was sharing the goal-scoring with John Fraser (15 goals), dab Fred Harrison (17 goals in only 13 games) and Joe Turner (14 goals).
Wood’s cunning passing earned him the nickname “the wolf” and for seven years he captained the Saints during their most successful era. In all, he made 180 appearances for the Saints, scoring 65 goals.
In his final season at The Dell, the Saints played a testimonial match for Woods against Aston Villa. The “gate” money raised was £106 5s 6d which was boosted by donations from the Southampton public to make a total benefit cheque of £250 5s.
Wood eventually left the Saints in May 1905 (aged 37), becoming a trainer with Portsmouth. After seven years at Fratton Park, he retired from football and became the licensee at the local Milton Arms public house.
His son Arthur Wood played for Southampton as a goalkeeper from 1914–1921. Harry Wood died at Portsmouth in July 1951, shortly after his 83rd birthday.