Veteran left winger Vic Metcalfe joined Hull City in June 1958 to add experience to Bob Brocklebank’s promotion-seeking side. While promotion to the Second Division was successfully achieved at the end of the 1958/59 season, Metcalfe’s influence was next to none as he started only the opening fixture of the season before injury kept him out of the side. In his absence local born players Brian Bulless and Mike Bowering stepped into the breach and kept Vic out of the first team for the whole season. He returned to the first team at the start of the 1959/60 season to add experience to City’s challenge at the higher level of the Second Division and scored twice in the 3-1 season-opening win over Plymouth. He scored a third goal a week later against Liverpool, this time in a 3-5 defeat, but soon dropped out of the first team picture again. Vic announced his retirement from playing on 3 February 1960, his 38th birthday – with his playing contract cancelled he spent the rest of the season undertaking scouting missions for the Tigers.
Victor Metcalfe was born in Barrow-in-Furness on the Cumbrian Coast, though it was a part of Lancashire when Vic was a boy. His father was a rugby league professional whose playing career took him to Dewsbury, which is where young Vic grew up. By 1939 Metcalfe, a talented club cricketer as well as footballer, had played for the West Riding Schoolboys XI and was working as a clerk in an accountancy firm while playing local league football for Ravensthorpe Albion. In 1940 Metcalfe signed amateur terms for Huddersfield Town and he assisted the club in wartime fixtures while focusing on his military service as a wireless operator in the Royal Air Force. Demobilised at the end of 1945, Metcalfe signed professional terms at Huddersfield in December 1945 and alongside locally born centre forward Jimmy Glazzard he was part of a young squad assembled by the Terriers on resumption of the Footabll League in August 1946.
Metcalfe made his Football League debut against Blackpool in August 1946, having previously started an FA Cup tie for the Terriers against Sheffield United in January 1946. Metcalfe and Glazzard quickly struck up a footballing understanding that would endure for ten years, Metcalfe supplying crosses from the left wing and Glazzard turning them goalwards with head or boot. Metcalfe scored his first goal for Huddersfield in November 1946 against Stoke City and continued to contribute a decent share of strikes as well as becoming Huddersfield’s regular penalty taker. For six seasons Metcalfe was a first team regular at Leeds Road as the Terriers were perennially down at the foot of the table but avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth. Despite his club finishing in lowly Division One positions, Metcalfe regularly caught the eye and won England honours in 1951.
At the end of the 1951/52 season Huddersfield finally succumbed to relegation but a season in the Second Division reinvigorated Metcalfe and his partnership with Glazzard, Vic was ever present and scored 15 League goals while Glazzard missed one game all season and scored 30 in the League. Promoted back to the top flight for the 1952/53 season, the Terriers’ momentum took them to a third place finish in Division One with Vic scoring 11 times. In April 1953 Huddersfield trounced Everton 8-2 in an Easter fixture and Jimmy Glazzard scored four headed goals, all of them from Vic Metcalfe crosses. Metcalfe spent three more seasons in the Huddersfield first team, even after the Terriers were again relegated at the end of the 1955/56 season. Eventually Town manager Bill Shankly decided that he would put his focus on youth and Vic was used more sparingly during the 1957/58 season. Vic left the Terriers in June 1958 having scored 90 times in 459 senior appearances.
In 1961 Metcalfe returned to Huddersfield Town where he joined the coaching staff. He took up a similar role at local rivals Halifax Town in 1964 and in June 1966 he was appointed the Shaymen’s first team manager. Vic fulfilled the manager’s role for 17 months until he resigned in November 1967 citing a disagreement with Halifax Town’s board as the reason. Vic remained living in the Huddersfield area for the rest of his life, he died in April 2003.
In May 1951 Metcalfe was chosen to join the England squad alongside his Huddersfield inside-left team-mate Harold Hassall. Vic won two England caps against Portugal and Argentina in fixtures arranged as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain events. He also represented the RAF in the late 1940s and played for the Football League XI twice in 1950 and 1954.
Date/Place of Birth: 3 February 1922, Barrow-in-Furness
Hull City First Game: 23 August 1958, Plymouth Argyle H (Division Three), 36 years, 201 days old
Hull City Final Game: 31 October 1959, Ipswich Town A (Division Two), 37 years, 270 days old
Ravensthorpe Albion, Huddersfield Town (1940-1958), Hull City (1958-1960)
Hull City Record
Career: 6 apps, 3 goalsVic Metcalfe