Fred Stansfield: Stalwart defender for Cardiff who became the oldest surviving Welsh international footballer

 

Fred Stansfield was the oldest surviving Welsh international footballer.

The captain and centre-half of Cardiff City, his home-town club, when they won the Third Division South title in 1946-47, he was capped only once, in a 3-1 defeat by Scotland at Ninian Park in October 1948. Operating in a doughty half-back line between Roy Paul and Ron Burgess, Stansfield acquitted himself efficiently against another debutant, the talented Hibernian striker Lawrie Reilly, but his international future was halted by a broken ankle suffered in a League game against Barnsley three months later.

During the war he had served in the Home Guard, and was 25 by the time he left non-League Grange Athletic for the Bluebirds in August 1943. He became a defensive bulwark in wartime competition and, a natural leader, was soon captain. Imperious as Cardiff romped to their title by nine points in the first postwar season, he remained influential as they became one of the leading lights of the second tier.

But then came the broken ankle; he never supplanted his competent replacement, Stan Montgomery, and after more than 100 appearances for City he returned to the Third Division South with Newport County in 1949. The following spring he was made player-manager, soon stepping aside as a player, then doing plenty to improve an ailing side, guiding them to sixth in 1951-52 and through several cup runs. He resigned in December 1953, managed Southern League Bedford Town for two seasons and later returned to Cardiff as a newsagent. 

Fred Stansfield, footballer: born Cardiff 12 December 1917; played for Cardiff City 1943-49, Newport County 1949-50; capped once by Wales 1948; managed Newport County 1950-53; died Cardiff 30 March 2014.

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