BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese

BBC Sport
 You are in: Football  
Sport Front Page
FA Cup
Eng Prem
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
League of Wales
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Other Sports
Special Events
Sports Talk
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
Around The UK: 
N Ireland

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather

Monday, 17 February, 2003, 13:28 GMT
Football's local hero

More than 70 years after his finest hours, a little-known England footballing great is set to be honoured.

Dulwich Hamlets footballer Edgar Kail
A newspaper cartoon featured Edgar Kail
Edgar Kail was the last non-league player to represent his country at full international level.

He was a one-club player who turned down lucrative offers from top-flight sides so he could remain an amateur.

And fans of the club he served so well, Dulwich Hamlet FC, still chant his name at every game.

Now supporters have banded together to ensure his feats are remembered forever.

They want Southwark Council to dedicate a special blue plaque in his honour which would mark a great association.

The council, in south London, will honour some of its most famous and deserving citizens with a scheme run together with local paper Southwark News.

Residents are being asked to vote for their choice from a list of 50 candidates, which include Peckham-born soccer star Rio Ferdinand and actor Michael Caine.

Edgar Kail
Edgar Kail in my heart,
Keep me Dulwich,
Edgar Kail in my heart I pray,
Edgar Kail in my heart,
Keep me Dulwich,
Keep me Dulwich til my dying day

The Dulwich anthem

After lobbying from dozens of local people, Kail is now in with a chance of making the all-important final 20.

Council leader Nick Stanton says: "We're over the moon that Edgar Kail is on the list.

"When we started this process we expected people like Rio Ferdinand, Michael Caine and Charlie Chaplin to get backing, but then we started getting all these nominations for Edgar Kail.

"We had more nominations for him than anyone else - even Shakespeare - and there was no way he wasn't going to make the final selection.

"Now it's up to people to start voting and with another 49 icons to choose from, Kail will be up against stiff competition."

For most of the week, Edgar Kail was a wine and spirits salesman.

Born: 1900
Dulwich career: 1919-33
Position: Striker
Goals: 427
Died: 1976

On matchdays, he was a sensational striker in the mould of current England hitman Michael Owen - a dynamic attacker with frightening pace.

Kail scored more than 400 goals for Dulwich, and won three full England caps - against France, Belgium and Spain in 1929.

But he could never be lured away from his beloved Isthmian League hometown club.

Dulwich fan and part-time historian Jack McInroy says: "He could put a ball on a sixpence.

"He had a wonderful touch, great skill, brilliant passing, and was clever on the ball with a terrific burst of speed."

Kail wrote a national newspaper column
Kail wrote a national newspaper column

Kail became associated with the club when he was just 14, and his arrival heralded the start of a golden era which included victory in the FA Amateur Cup.

In a glittering period for amateur football, he helped draw crowds of 15,000 to Dulwich's Champion Hill stadium.

Just 200 or 300 can be expected these days at the ground, where the approach is known as Edgar Kail Way.

On his retirement from football, he was snapped up as a columnist for the popular Daily Sketch newspaper.

After a period as a police reservist in the Second World War, Kail returned to Dulwich, but became more insular after the death of his wife.

He went to Scotland, where earlier he had become the first Englishman to play a match for Queens Park, and is thought to have died there in 1976.

But in one suburb of London, his name is unlikely to ever be forgotten.

"He had this idealism and stuck with it," says McInroy.

"He didn't want to be paid and played for the joy of the game."

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Football stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales