37 Facts About Alan Hardaker


Alan Hardaker OBE was an English football administrator for the Football League, a wartime Royal Navy officer, and previously an amateur footballer.

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Alan Hardaker was born in Hull, Yorkshire, second son to John and Emma, and younger brother of Ernest.

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Alan Hardaker's education began at Constable Street Elementary School in Hull, and from there he was awarded a scholarship to Riley High School, leaving in 1928 with qualifications in typing and shorthand.

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Alan Hardaker initially went into the family removals and haulage business, until 1929, when he was sacked by his own father for playing dominoes instead of working.

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Alan Hardaker was able to use his qualifications to find immediate employment as an office junior in the Town Clerk's department at the Guildhall, Kingston upon Hull.

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Alan Hardaker met Irene Mundy when he was seventeen and she a year younger.

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Alan Hardaker had first taken up playing football at the High School, and so joined Municipal Sports FC, the Guildhall team.

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Alan Hardaker was sent off on one occasion during his time with them, for retaliation.

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Alan Hardaker had been converted to full back by this time, and that was the position he took up for Hull City Reserves.

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Alan Hardaker was offered professional terms in 1936 by manager Jack Hill, which he turned down, as by the age of 23 he had progressed to become Lord Mayor's secretary at the Guildhall.

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Alan Hardaker went on to play for Bridlington Central United of the East Riding Amateur League, and then moved to the Yorkshire Amateur Football Club in the Yorkshire League.

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Alan Hardaker then received a posting to Australia as supply officer to HMS Alert, a shore-based camp in Sydney, and in December 1944 moved on to HMS Golden Hind, a Royal Navy manning depot, in Sydney.

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Alan Hardaker took up a junior position during this period, at a much reduced salary and receiving only a small pay rise each year thereafter.

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Alan Hardaker later indicated in his autobiography that he felt "badly let down by Arthur Drewry", the League President at that time.

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Alan Hardaker had used the intervening time to read every archived document since 1888 which related to the League and its business, and was better prepared to take on the top job.

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On 6 January 1957 Alan Hardaker was appointed by the Management Committee as the new Football League secretary.

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One major change which took place at the Football League two years after Alan Hardaker's appointment was a shift in location for the organisation's headquarters.

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The Starkie Street premises were little more than a converted town house, and the incoming League President at that time, Joe Richards, decided to ask Alan Hardaker to look for more appropriate offices outside Preston.

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Alan Hardaker was heavily involved in the six-month renovation of the building to make it suitable for purpose, and this was completed at a total cost of £40,000.

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Alan Hardaker enjoyed the complete confidence of the Management Committee, and was delegated by them many powers to act independently concerning certain matters.

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Alan Hardaker maintained, though, that his one aim in football had always been to "see the League prosper".

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Alan Hardaker was duly given the go-ahead to implement a test case against Littlewoods Pools in 1959, and this the League won, meaning that a source of income would be secured for the clubs, as the Pools companies now needed to pay for the privilege of printing the fixtures on their coupons.

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Alan Hardaker was required to attend the House of Commons in London to address members of Parliament regarding the ending of the maximum wage for football players, which Jimmy Hill, the ex-Fulham player and then chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, had led a campaign for.

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Alan Hardaker was instrumental in designing the 1957 "Pattern of Football", which would have seen the existing 92 clubs, then occupying the four divisions of the League, increased to 100, with 20 teams in each of five divisions.

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Alan Hardaker relates the tale of the Post-War Reconstruction Committee, which was a joint exercise by the FA and League to help regenerate football in England at the end of the Second World War.

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Alan Hardaker openly admits that the proposed competition received criticism not only from Fleet Street, but from the League clubs themselves - entry into the competition was not compulsory, and Arsenal, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur all refused to participate during the inaugural season.

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Much-quoted line from Alan Hardaker goes: "The FA Cup is football's Ascot, the League Cup its equivalent of Derby Day at Epsom".

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Alan Hardaker was asked to give advice to the League clubs when they were ordered by the FA in 1965 to sign statutory declarations regarding payments to amateur players - in other words, to guarantee that no illegal dealings were being entered into, and thus leaving themselves legally vulnerable.

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Alan Hardaker's advice consisted of a recommendation that they resign from the Football Association "as a matter of extreme urgency", in order to force the FA to back down on the issue.

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In 1970, when a group of Midlands club chairmen proposed that the Football League handle its own disciplinary affairs, Alan Hardaker was asked by them if this would be possible under FA regulations.

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Alan Hardaker pointed out Association Rule 1, which gave provision for the game to be administered for amateur and professional clubs separately.

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Alan Hardaker acted to counter this situation "to protect the interests of all the Football League clubs".

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Revie and his team frequently ran foul of Alan Hardaker's demanding fixture schedules and autocratic rule as secretary of the Football League.

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The acrimony between Revie and Alan Hardaker continued when Revie took up the post as England national manager; Revie often protested bitterly to Alan Hardaker against the Football League's rigid fixture schedules which he claimed were outdated compared to other countries and negated any effort to establish a successful national team.

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In 1977, Alan Hardaker published his autobiography, Alan Hardaker of the League, which he co-wrote with former BBC Radio football correspondent Bryon Butler and in 1979 he was made director general of the Football League, continuing to serve there until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1980.

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Alan Hardaker Trophy was commissioned in 1990 as the award to be presented to the "man of the match" at each Football League Cup Final since that time.

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In 2011, Alan Hardaker was portrayed by actor Neil Dudgeon in United, a BBC TV drama centred on the 1958 Munich air disaster involving Manchester United.

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