Percy Lewis was appointed Hull City manager in July 1921, replacing David Menzies who had switched his allegiance to Bradford City. Living in Bridlington, Lewis led the Tigers for a season and a half and made some valuable signings, none more so than future England international full back Ernie Blenkinsop. He piloted the Tigers to fifth place in the Division Two table at the end of the 1921/22 season, recovering from four defeats in the first six League games. In July 1922 Lewis suffered from a severe stomach complaint and had surgery, but returned to lead the Tigers for the 1922/23 season. The Tigers drifted around the middle reaches of the Division Two table as familiar financial woes swept through the club. Lewis tendered his resignation in January 1923, having negotiated the transfer of Ernie Blenkinsop to Sheffield Wednesday.
Harold Percy Lewis was born in Rotherham and attended a boarding school at Bolsterstone in the Upper Don Valley before returning to live on his uncle’s farm in Rotherham at the age of 14. This farm was close to Rotherham Town’s ground and by the late 1890s Percy was part of the backroom team at the Midland League side while working in the brass industry, training to become a football referee and playing local league football. He became involved in the administration of several local sports including athletics and cycling as well as football – by the end of the ninteenth century Percy was a committee member for the Sheffield & Hallamshire Football Association while working as a merchant’s clerk. In the early 1900s he became a well known referee, overseeing top flight matches in both England and Ireland. In January 1909 he famously sent off Manchester United’s Welsh international outside forward Billy Meredith in an FA Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion, an event that led to Percy being escorted from the ground to avoid a baying group of angry supporters. Two years later in April 1911 he refereed another Manchester United home match against Sunderland that the Red Devils won 5-1 to confirm the Division One title.
In May 1911 he was appointed the manager of Division Two side Stockport County. He led the Hatters for nearly three full seasons and 116 senior matches before he was offered the manager’s job at Division Two rivals Barnsley in April 1914. He helmed Barnsley for a total of 45 senior matches before World War 1 precipitated a suspension of the Football League in the summer of 1915. Percy retained the manager’s role at Barnsley during the War while also working as publican at the Trafalgar Hotel in Barnsley. He left the club in January 1919 and two months later helped build the successful case for Rotherham County to gain election to the Football League. He had been without a job in football for two years when he was apponted Hull City boss in July 1921.
When he left the Tigers in January 1923 Percy returned to the licensed trade. By 1939 he owned and operated a tobacconist shop in west Sheffield. He died in Sheffield in November 1942.
Date/Place of Birth: 11 May 1873, Rotherham, England
Date/Place of Death: 1 November 1942, Sheffield, England; 69 years, 174 days old
Appointed by Hull City: 29 July 1921; 48 years, 79 days old
Left Hull City: 13 January 1923; 49 years, 247 days old
Tenure: 533 days
Stockport County (1911-1914), Barnsley (1914-1919), Hull City (1921-1923)
Hull City Record
Playing Record: Played 68, Won 27, Drawn 17, Lost 24, Goals For 78, Goals Against 70
Achievements: 5th in Division Two, 1921/22 season