Stan Burton enjoyed a fine career as a professional footballer during the 1930s. He made 240 senior appearances, won a Divisional Champions medal and played at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. He achieved all this despite a serious hearing impairment.
Stan was born in Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, on December 3 1912. He played for Yorkshire Schools as a teenager and signed for Doncaster Rovers aged 20 via his local club Thurnscoe Victoria.
In only his second season, 1933-34, he hit ten league goals, forming an effective attacking spearhead with centre-forward Ronnie Dodd and left-winger Bert Turner. Stan was a speedy, tricky winger who usually played on the right and many of his goals came as a result of his fierce shooting. He soon became established as a crowd favourite at Belle Vue.
In 1934-35 his 12 league goals helped Rovers to earn their first divisional title in their Football League career, as they won the Division Three (North) championship. The step up to the second tier of English football for 1935-36 did not faze Stan, who enjoyed his most productive season, playing in every league game and being top scorer with 15 goals.
It isn’t clear how much his hearing difficulties affected him, although on the football field he seems to have had only one issue. His nickname, “Dizzy” came in part from his trickiness as a winger, but also because he struggled to hear the referee’s whistle and often continued his trickery after others had stopped. All of this served merely to endear him more to the Belle Vue faithful.
In September 1938, Stan was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a sum of £4,000 - then a record fee received by Rovers. His career record at Belle Vue was 204 senior games and 54 goals, a splendid record for a winger.
At Molineux, he helped Wolves finish runners-up in the First Division, and he was part of the team that reached the 1939 FA Cup Final. Wolves were favourites but lost 4-1 to Portsmouth for whom another former Rovers winger, Cliff Parker, had a starring role.
After the final, Stan achieved a unique feat when he was transferred to West Ham United and made his debut in their final League game of the 1938-39 season. He is the only player to appear in a league game for another club after playing in the FA Cup Final, something unlikely to be equalled.
Stan’s West Ham career was curtailed by the outbreak of World War Two, but he appeared as a wartime guest player for several clubs, including Rovers. After the war, he played for non-league sides including Frickley Colliery and Peterborough United. He died in February 1977, aged 64.
Stan Burton enjoyed a fine football career and should be an inspiration to anyone. He was a remarkable man and a footballer of whom Rovers fans should be very proud.
The photo is of the Wolverhampton Wanderers team set to face Portsmouth in the 1939 FA Cup final. Burton is front left.