The Club is saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Hodgetts, who remains in our record books as the youngest player to represent Albion, earlier this week.
Dudley-born Frank was an outside left who joined Albion as a 15-year-old amateur just as war was breaking out in September 1939. Showing real promise, he made his first team debut against Notts County in October 1940, making him the youngest man ever to play for our first team at just 16 years and 26 days.
He went on to help Albion win the Midland Cup in 1944.
As organised football began to resume after the war, Frank made his FA Cup debut in Albion’s third round second leg game against Cardiff at The Hawthorns as we won 4-0 on January 9 1946.
When the Football League resumed later that year, Frank was in the team – and on the scoresheet – in our first game, a 3-2 win away at Swansea Town’s Vetch Field on August 31st 1946, the great Ray Barlow scoring the other two.
Frank clocked up 70 post-war league and cup games for the Throstles before moving on to Millwall for the princely sum of £6,000 in May 1949.
He returned home thereafter and, along with a very successful career in business, spent four years from 1958 to 1962 as a coach at The Hawthorns, largely working with our youngsters.
One of his charges during that time? A lad called Tony Brown. He was a special guest at the unveiling ceremony for Bomber’s statue back in 2014 (pictured above).
At the time of his death, Frank was our oldest surviving player, something nicely symmetrical about that given that he started life as our youngest ever first teamer.
Frank, a much-admired figure and absolute gentleman, will be sorely missed by family and friends. He always had plenty of stories about his life and career and he gave up some of his time to contribute an interview to Albion News some years ago and then having a further conversation for the programme with Tony Brown. We will be featuring these in full tribute to him in the Swansea City issue of Albion News.
Rest easy Frank.