Born at the family owned Foundry on the 2nd of February, 1886, Sammy Strettle was the 6th child of Thomas who – along with his Father -in – Law, manufactured Iron Files at 125 Knutsford Road in Warrington. The name of his Mother was Elizabeth. By 1901, with the Foundry now closed, the Strettle family have decamped to nearby Fothergill Street where Sammy has found employment in a Wire Works. Further records reveal that his Father later became a Works Manager and, at the time of the 1911 census, had moved the family home to Prescot on the outskirts of Liverpool. Sam Strettle had, in the meantime, obtained employment at a Soap Works in Liverpool for whom he was playing football. This particular factory, owned by J Hargreaves & Company Limited, produce a single item that they marketed under the brand name of Lively Polly after which their football team was named.

They were members of the Liverpool & District League and played their home matches on Binns Road. Sam Strettle, following a successful trail, joined Everton from Lively Polly on the assurance that “his engagement did not prejudice his employment”. When this was agreed upon, Everton donated £10. Signed as cover for the position of Right Back, he had to wait until the 4th March 1906, to make his debut against Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park. Everton won 2-1. Next Monday, due to fixture congestion, they met Sheffield United – in a rearranged Football League game – at Bramell Lane while on their way to London to prepare for an FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace. Strettle was one of 4 changes made to a visiting side who were beaten 4-1. He made another 2 appearances for Everton before joining Chesterfield Town, July 1909, for a fee of £800. There was an air of despondency hanging over the Recreation Ground when Strettle, one of several new signings, arrived due to the fact that the local football club had failed in their bid to gain re-election to the Football League. They were now members of the Midland League. Nevertheless, Strettle and his team mates quickly settled down to the job in hand and, at the end of the season, were crowned league champions.

He was to spend another 2 seasons in with Chesterfield, without further success, where he lodged at 8 Shinland Street. He was residing at this address when, on the 5th November 1912, he married Edith Clapham, a Professional Piano Player, at the parish church of Holy Trinity. In July 1913, Strettle left Chesterfield and signed for Southern League side, Exeter City. He was immediately appointed to the role of club captain and the Devonshire finished the season in mid-table.

On the 21st May 1914 Strettle and his team mates set sail from Southampton for a tour of Argentina where they played 8 matches, The party, on their voyage home, briefly embarked at Rio de Janeiro where they became the first English team to play football in Brazil. Next season Strettle appeared in every Southern League game for Exeter City before enlisting for service in World War One.

He joined the Royal Engineers and was involved in the action around Ypres and severely gassed. Strettle, after recovery, was transferred to the transport division and – at the time of his discharge – had achieved the rank of Corporal. He then played one season with Exeter City, before returning to his home town of Warrington.

The Strettle family took accommodation at 137 Battersby Lane and the head of the household found employment at the nearby goods depot belonging to the Cheshire Lines Railway Company. He continued to play football for Monks Hall and Northwich Victoria before retiring from the game after a spell with Llandudno. However, the injuries received, while serving his country, were now considerably affecting the health of Sammy Strettle who was admitted to Hefferston Grange Sanatorium near Northwich that specialised in the treatment of Tuberculosis. He failed to recover and died at this location on the 25th of August 1926 leaving a widow and one child. Samuel Strettle was buried in Warrington Cemetary.


Lynda Rankine,

Warrington Central Library.


  • Neil Harper

    Impressive detailed biography. Sam is an ancestor of mine. A significant fact, not mentioned specifically, is that, during the South American tour with Exeter City of 1914, Sam was at left-back in the historic first ever match to be played by the Brazil national team. Brazil won 2-0

    Thanks, Neil

    • Richie Gillham

      Its nice to hear from You Neil , I will pass on your comments , Sam definitely holds a place in footballing history

      kind regards


    • Joyce Willis

      Samuel is an ancestor of mine also. I only found this out today and I’m overwhelmed. What a fantastic man he was. Very proud.
      Joyce Willis

  • Donald Wroe

    In 1970 I bought a second hand car and found in it a little ‘letter opener’ inscribed J Hargreaves & Son Ltd, Liverpool and Lively Polly, Dry Soap. I still have it

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