Len Quested: Footballer both feared and fearless

 

Len Quested was a footballer both feared and fearless, a tirelessly combative midfield workhorse who wielded immense influence with Fulham, then Huddersfield Town, in the decade and a half after the Second World War.

Tall and lean, almost skinny, but infinitely more powerful, durable and generally warrior-like than his appearance suggested, the effervescent Quested was also a natural lifter of team-mates' spirits, a boon to any manager.

In his pomp, which straddled his days at both Craven Cottage and Leeds Road, he might have been considered unfortunate never to win a full cap – the nearest he came was a call-up for England "B" against The Netherlands in 1950 and an FA tour of South Africa six years later – but competition for wing-half berths was unremittingly fierce, with the likes of Billy Wright, Jimmy Dickinson, Ronnie Clayton and eventually the incomparable young leviathan Duncan Edwards among his rivals for international selection.

Quested signed for Fulham as a teenage amateur in the early 1940s then served in the Royal Navy throughout the rest of the conflict. He was stationed in Australia and played football alongside the future Manchester United star John Aston for the Golden Hind, a team for servicemen in New South Wales.

On demob he rejoined the Cottagers from his local non-League club, Folkestone Town, in August 1946 and after conversion from inside-forward to wing-half he finished that season in the lacklustre side which finished in the bottom half of the Second Division. Thereafter, though, Fulham improved steadily and Quested was a key performer as the divisional title was lifted in 1948-49, his energetic all-knees-and-elbows style meshing splendidly with the rock-like Jim Taylor and the thoughtful Pat Beasley in a half-back line of high quality.

However, with only slim financial resources, they toiled grimly among the elite under manager Bill Dodgin, who enraged many regular supporters in November 1951 by allowing Quested to join fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town in a deal which saw centre-forward Jeff Taylor move in the opposite direction. Sadly for the still-ambitious midfielder, the Terriers were relegated the following spring, in company with Fulham, but the indomitable Quested buckled down in 1952-53 to help seal instant promotion as runners-up to Sheffield United, becoming in the process part of the most settled "back six" in the history of the game.

Manager Andy Beattie fielded goalkeeper Jack Wheeler, full-backs Ron Staniforth and Laurie Kelly, and the half-back trio of Bill McGarry, Don McEvoy and Quested in all 42 League games, thus attaining a formidable level of consistency. This continued into the following season, in which the team touched new peaks, finishing third in the race for the top-flight title behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion, with the free-scoring marksman Jimmy Glazzard and star left-winger Vic Metcalfe garnering lavish plaudits.

Quested was as integral as ever, but only until January, when he suffered a leg fracture in an FA Cup tie at West Ham which kept him out for the remainder of the campaign. Typically determined, though, he bounced back to be ever-present in the next two seasons, but was devastated when his efforts weren't enough to avert demotion in 1955-56.

Now in his thirties but with his effectiveness unimpaired, he proved an inspiring captain in the second tier, first under Beattie and then under his successor, Bill Shankly. Youngsters at Leeds Road, including the emerging Scottish genius Denis Law and England's future World Cup-winner Ray Wilson, were particular beneficiaries of the veteran's experience, wisdom and generosity of spirit, and to many of them, away from home for the first time, he was like a second father.

However, having married an Australian, he emigrated to her country in 1957, going on to play for several clubs in his adopted homeland, including Auburn, Hakoah and Campbelltown, and to manage Cumberland United.

Wilfred Leonard Quested, footballer and coach: born Folkestone, Kent 9 January 1925; played for Fulham 1946-51, Huddersfield Town 1951-57; married (two children); died Queensland, Australia 20 August 2012.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?