|Frank Bungay Forward (1934-1936) Was one of player-manager Jimmy Cringan's first signings when he became Boston manager for the 1934/5 season. He was signed from Southend where he had been on their books for the season but had made only two appearances for them due to injuries. Prior to that he had been with First Division high-flyers Huddersfield Town for a season and a half, having joined them at the end of December 1931 for a fee from Boston's Midland League rivals Mexborough. He was the understudy to Huddersfield's main striker Dave Mangnall. First team chances at Huddersfield were limited, but he did turn out eighteen times for them scoring five goals. He was a regular in the Huddersfield Reserves side in the Central League.||
Bungay got into his goal-scoring stride from the off. The opening match of the season was at home to Grantham in the Midland League. On the half hour Grantham took the lead. Bungay headed home an equalizer shortly after, but Grantham regained the lead just before half time. Soon after the resumption Grantham went further ahead. Two Boston goals levelled the scores before Bungay scored the winner with a fine drive. Bungay got two goals in the next match as well - a 2-1 win at Denaby. That put Boston one point clear at the top of the Midland League.
Boston United 1934/5: Back Row: Ellis, Dean, Eagle, Bugg, Baxter and Hemmington (trainer) Front Row: Earle, Bradbury, Cringan, Bungay, Stocks and Marshall
The Boston Standard was impressed with Bungay's performances, saying "Bungay promises to go right to the top of the Midland League marksmen if he keeps up his present average. Two goals at Denaby brought his total to four goals for two matches. He has a quick eye and a boot that follows close on to it. He seems to specialize particularly in snap goals that leave the opposing keeper wondering where the ball came from." The goal scoring continued unabated. By the end of the year Bungay had scored 34 goals in 24 games this included two four goal tallies and two hat-tricks. He had only failed to find the net in three of those 24 games.
That opening four-month spell also saw a record setting performance by Bungay in the FA Cup. Boston United had only formed the season before Bungay arrived and in that first season hadn't entered the FA Cup, so this was their first season in the competition. The first game was a Preliminary Round match at Ollerton Colliery and Bungay got Boston's third with what was described as a brilliant headed goal in a comprehensive 3-0 win. Next up was a home match against Newark Town. It was another easy win - this time 6-2 - with Bungay getting a hat-trick. The next opponents were another Newark based side - the works team from the Ransome & Marles ball-bearing firm. After leading by two goals - the second a hard low shot by Bungay - Ransome & Marles got two late replies to force a replay back at Boston. Boston easily won the return match 5-1 with Bungay scoring four goals. Local Midland League rivals Grantham were drawn next. The trip to Grantham ended in a 1-1 draw. Both goals were scored in the first half with Bungay heading home an equalizer ten minutes from the interval. Boston won the replay 3-1 with Bungay opening the scoring with a diving header just three minutes from the start. King's Lynn provided the opposition in the 4th Qualifying Round. They proved to be the easiest task faced by United in the competition so far as a 5-0 result attested. A header and a low drive added two more goals to Bungay's FA Cup tally. Boston had a long trip to Lancashire Combination side Darwen in the 1st Round Proper. Darwen had beaten Penrith 8-1 in the 4th Qualifying Round and were feeling confident of victory against Boston on their own ground with its slope and uneven surface. Darwen took an early lead. However, despite being closely marked by two or three defenders Bungay got the equalizer on the quarter hour with a terrific shot that the Darwen 'keeper touched but couldn't prevent entering the net. It remained level until five minutes from the end when Boston's Marshall headed what proved to be the winner. Boston were unlucky again in the draw for the 2nd Round Proper with another long trip - this time to Bath. This required an overnight stay at the Royal Hotel in Bath for the Boston team prior to the match. Ted Davis the Bath manager feared the goalscoring abilities of Bungay and in response he ordered his players to attend extra training sessions to polish up their ball work. It proved to be the last game in Boston's FA Cup run as they went down 2-1 with the Bath winner scored in the last minute. Boston had started the game well and they took the lead on 20 minutes when Bungay nipped in to score with a low shot just inside the upright. Bath equalized fifteen minutes later with a cross-shot that rebounded into the goal from the post. Despite further Boston pressure throughout the second half Boston failed to find the net. Two minutes from the end after a scramble in the Boston goalmouth that left no fewer than six players on the floor, the ball stuck in the mud at the feet of a Bath striker who had the simple task of netting.
Boston United's FA Cup games 1934/5 15th Sep P A Ollerton Col 1401 W 3-0 Anthoney o.g., Munnings, Bungay 29th Sep Q1 H NEWARK T 2536 W 6-2 Bungay(3), Munnings, Marshall, McConnell 13th Oct Q2 A Ransome & Marles 2100 D 2-2 McConnell, Bungay 18th Oct r A RANSOME & MARLES 1200 W 5-1 Bungay(4), McConnell 27th Oct Q3 A Grantham 3100 D 1-1 Bungay 1st Nov r H GRANTHAM W 3-1 Bungay, Munnings, McConnell 10th Nov Q4 H KING'S LYNN 2500 W 5-0 Bungay(2), Munnings(3) 24th Nov 1 A Darwen 4000 W 2-1 Bungay, Marshall 8th Dec 2 A Bath C 6500 L 1-2 Bungay
So, Boston had started their FA Cup story with a run that had taken them from the Preliminary Round all the way through to the 2nd Round Proper. They had played nine games and scored 28 goals - with 15 of them scored by Bungay. Such a nine game FA Cup run is rare for any team and Boston United have only repeated it once in their history - when they reached the 2nd Round Proper in 1967/8 and took Orient to a replay. What is even more impressive is that Bungay scored in all nine games in the 1934/5 run. This is probably a record in the FA Cup. I've not found any other player that has scored in nine successive FA Cup games in a single season.
As the season continued, so did Bungay's goalscoring exploits. He finished 1934 with four goals in a 5-1 Boston win against Gainsborough. He began 1935 with a brace in the Midland League at Frickley Colliery. This was followed up by all four goals in a 4-1 win that sealed the fate of Louth Town in the opening round of the Lincs Senior Cup. Then disaster struck. At the start of February Boston played Scunthorpe. Bungay scored an equalizing goal with a surprise shot that passed over the head of Scunthorpe's keeper after he had come out of his goal. Scunthorpe got a winner in the second half and Bungay sustained an ankle injury that turned out to be cracked and would keep him out the team for six weeks. He lost no time on his return to action in mid March, scoring four goals in a 6-1 demolition of Bradford Park Avenue Reserves at Shodfriars' Lane. Boston had fallen off the pace in the Midland League, dropping down to 7th place, but there were still trophies to win. Bungay scored a brace in a 4-2 win against King's Lynn to help Boston pick up the Lynn Hospital Cup. He then got a hat-trick in a 7-1 win against Gainsborough Trinity in the semi-final of the Lincs Senior Cup, followed up by an equalizing goal in the final against Grantham that ended in a draw, necessitating a replay in Boston. Boston won the replay in style 3-0 with Bungay heading home a corner early in the second half to put Boston two up. Boston finished in 5th place in the Midland League - the best place amongst the sides that weren't reserve sides of League clubs. Boston wouldn't finish in a higher position for twenty years. Despite being out injured for six weeks, Bungay had scored 61 goals in his first season with Boston, which is still a club record.
Towards the end of his first season with Boston his pen picture appeared in the Boston Guardian. It went as follows.
Of all the centre-forwards Boston has had - and we have had some very talented players in that position, such as Jack Doran, Bert Menlove, Charlie Vowles and so on - none has been better in a footballing sense or enjoyed greater popularity than the present leader of the attack - Frank Bungay. No one will disagree with me when I say that, for Frank has won a little niche all to himself in the admiration and affections of habitues at Shodfriars' Lane.
In selecting him as the subject of my interview this week I did so bearing in mind that yesterday he was appearing at the ground of the club which gave him his first real start in the professional ranks. No doubt Frank would be out to show his old friends at Mexborough - and he still has a large following at Hampden Road - what progress he has made since those days not so very long ago when he delighted the collier fans with his goalscoring feats.
Frank comes from Ecclesfield, a few miles from Sheffield, and has played the great winter game from boyhood days. After leaving school he played in the Sheffield Sports and Athletic League for Ecclesfield junior team for three seasons and had a big hand in them winning the championship in the last year. At that time he was an inside-right, but he later joined the Ecclesfield Red Rose team as a centre-forward. He created somewhat of a sensation in one match by scoring fifteen goals off his own bat - a feat which brought the "scouts" to his native place. The result was that Frank packed his bag and went on trial (as an amateur) with Bolton Wanderers. He did not stay, however, but returning to his own district, he next had a "run out" with Chesterfield in the Midland League. Playing in his old position at inside-right he collected a brace of goals against Boston. During that season he notched ninety goals from the centre-forward position in a Sheffield amateur team.
Mexborough next got on his track and eventually he decided to embrace professionalism with that club. His goalscoring feats for them are still fresh in the memory of most of us, particularly one "hat-trick" he scored at the Lane. Mexborough received quite a useful cheque when Bungay, after a season and a half, was fixed up by Huddersfield. Frank did not have the best of luck with the first Leaguers but played regularly with the Reserves and made eighteen appearances for the first side. Last season he was at Southend, but again dogged by ill-luck in the way of injuries, and the curse that has followed him to Boston. That ankle injury which kept him out of the side was a bad blow for the United, but it was perhaps more serious for the player, who was well in the limelight when he was laid aside. Everybody is pleased that he is now fit again, and apparently still as full as beans as ever.
In the summer months Frank likes touring on his trusty motor cycle. He plays a little cricket too and knows how to paste them. Darts is an indoor specialty of his. He was champion of Southend, where he won a miniature cup, but before he takes over a similar title with the United has to contend with Trainer Hemmington. He also plays snooker.
Boston got off to a very poor start in the following season, picking up just one point in the Midland League in their first four games, scoring one goal and conceding seven. It was clear that Bungay wasn't fully fit and he reported having trouble with fluid on his knee. The tactics being used by the team also weren't favouring his style of play and it was felt that this was hindering his goal-scoring. Things soon went from bad to worse with a match at Rotherham. Boston lost 2-0. Left back Sid Ellis picked up an injury after five minutes that required treatment off the pitch and left him as a passenger on the wing for the remainder of the game. Shortly after Bungay was also injured and had to be carried off. Bungay returned, but in the second half two Boston players were sent off, first George Bugg, then Bungay. Boston finally recorded their first Midland League win of the season the next week with a 2-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers Reserves - the opening goal being Bungay's first of the season. However, Bungay fractured his rib in the match after falling heavily on the ball. The injury along with the fourteen day suspension for the sending off kept Bungay out of the side for the next six games. After such a bad start it wasn't surprising that Boston's player-manager Jimmy Cringan was dismissed as the manager, but retained as a player. Bungay returned just in time to play in Boston's first FA Cup game of the season - a 4th Qualifying Round match at Hitchin. Boston won 3-2 after twice being in arrears, but surprisingly Bungay wasn't among the goal-scorers. Next up in the Cup, they had a trip to Crewe Alexandra who at the time were mid-table in the Northern Section of the League Division III. They went down 4-2 with Bungay getting the second Boston goal early in the second half to make the score 3-2 to Crewe and give Boston hope of levelling the scores. That wasn't to be, and Crewe got a late decider. Bungay was now showing the same sort of liveliness and shooting ability that had been so successful the previous season. The goals began to come, and Boston began to win more games. Particular highlights were the brace to give Boston a 2-1 win in the semi-final of the Lincs Senior Cup followed up by a hat-trick in the 4-1 win against Grantham in the final. That meant Boston retained the trophy and Bungay had scored in successive finals. With four games to go Bungay had more bad luck. In a Lincolnshire League match against Lincoln City Reserves Bungay jumped to head a ball and fell heavily on his left arm. He was carried off on a stretcher and taken to Lincoln Hospital with a suspected fractured elbow. An X-ray examination revealed it was not as bad as feared but that there was still severe bruising to the elbow joint and that kept him out for the rest of the season. He still finished as Boston's top scorer with 34 goals from 39 appearances.
Frank Bungay's Boston United Appearances and Goals Season League FA Cup Other Total Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls Apps Gls 34/5 27 33 9 15 7 13 43 61 35/6 27 19 2 1 10 14 39 34 Totals 54 52 11 16 16 26 82 95
As well as playing football for United, Bungay also officiated at some local matches involving Boston Police. He was in charge for a match between Boston Police and the Lincolnshire Road Car Company in November 1934 and ran the line for a match between Boston Borough Police and Grimsby Police in the Lincolnshire Police Cup at Shodfriars Lane in February 1935.
At the end of the season after assessing his options Bungay decided to sign up with Grantham. The Boston Guardian reported: "Frank Bungay, probably one of the most popular players Boston has ever had, has thrown in his lot with Grantham Town for the next season. A brilliant goal-scorer, Bungay was Boston's chief marksman each season. Strangely enough, he invariably gave of his best when in opposition to Grantham, who regarded him as their "bogey-man." Grantham have not been well served in the centre-forward position, and they think that the advent of Bungay will solve the problem. Boston fans will wish Frank well in his new sphere."
After the final pre-season practice match the Grantham Journal reported: "Bungay did enough to prove that provided he gets the right type of pass he should be a big menace to goalkeepers in the Midland League. He is smart at trapping the ball, is clever with his head, and can hit a dead ball with remarkable power. And that is something to go on with." However, he didn't quite go on to find the success he had at Boston and he continued to be dogged by injuries. In the FA Cup, Grantham met the same opponents as Boston had done in 1934/5. They beat Ollerton in a replay after a lucky draw, then beat Ransome & Marles 4-2 with Bungay getting a brace. But they then bowed out to Newark Town 0-1 - which if they had won would have set up a match against Boston. In the Midland League they failed to perform consistently but did end up in 9th place just above Boston and with the same points. Their main success was winning the Lincs Senior Cup by beating Boston in a replay after a 2-2 draw. Bungay played in the first match and scored the first Grantham goal, but injury kept him out of the decider. Towards the end of the season Bungay had suffered a succession of injuries. First, a couple of minutes before the end of a match against Chesterfield, he received the full force of the ball in his stomach when a defender was clearing his lines and he was carried off. Then the following week he fell awkwardly while trying to reach a cross in a match at Scunthorpe and twisted his knee and had to be carried off, taking no further part in the game. The injury kept him out for a couple of weeks. Shortly after coming back he was knocked unconscious by a blow from Burton Town's 'keeper while scoring against them in a Midland League game.
After one season with Grantham, who had reported big financial losses for the previous two seasons, he wasn't re-signed. A year later he was spotted by the Boston Guardian sports reporter who inquired what he was doing now. Here's what he found out.
Met an old friend in Bargate on Monday - none other than the popular Frank Bungay, whose exploits as the United's centre-forward are still fresh in the memory. Naturally, I inquired of Frank what had brought him here, and learned it was just a business call. Frank is a chauffeur nowadays, and while his employer was attending to business, he took the opportunity of looking up a few old friends.
Although he has forsaken professional football, Frank has not packed up the game altogether. Securing re-instatement as an amateur he has played several games this season for his old village team, Ecclesfield Red Rose, and he still knows the way to goal. For example, his record for the first three games was nine goals, which is not bad going is it?
And here's a bit more news - Frank is getting married on 7 May and is now busy getting his house ready.
That wasn't the end of Frank's footballing career though. As reported in the Sheffield Star in 2018 he went on to become a local legend back in Ecclesfield. Here's what happened.
After his playing days were over, he returned to Ecclesfield Red Rose as secretary in 1956 and was then appointed as manager in 1958. When he took over as manager, he shed all the players from the previous team, then held trials to form a new team. In their first season, the club won the Amateur League, Division One, the League Cup, then to top it all, the Sheffield Junior Cup with the final being played at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground in front of a crowd just short of 6,000, a record for that level of local football in Sheffield, which still stands today.
Red Rose then went on to win the Amateur League a further 12 times, before moving up to the Hatchard League, where they were promoted as winners of the second division, then won the first division, and their league cup as well. A further promotion took them into the County Senior League, where they emulated the success in previous leagues, by winning the second division, then the first, as well as the league cups, the added to it by winning the Tinsley Charity Shield. As manager for 20 years, Frank, with his players, won everything they had competed for, 31 trophies in total, which could well be a record for local league football.
Frank left Red Rose in 1979, having gone as far as he could with the team, who could not be promoted any further due to ground restrictions. When he called it a day, many Rose supporters said they would never have as good a manager again, and a record of 31 trophies will certainly take some beating.
Frank, centre, with his 1971-2 Ecclesfield Red Rose treble-winning team