The Excruciating Death of Frank Levick - Sheffield 1908

Whilst I was researching an article the article on Samuel Wynne who died tragically at Bramall Lane in 1927 whilst playing for Bury, mention was made of a death that occurred nineteen years earlier of a Sheffield United player Frank Levick.

On-line there are a number of sites and authorities that site Frank's death as being caused by blocking a shot. The ball struck him below the waist, forcing his testicles to become lodged in his abdomen. This caused internal bleeding of the bowel, a subsequent cardiac arrest and his early death. For us old un's who have experienced a "casey in the niagra's", the pain would have been "breathtaking".

The only problem with this cause of death is that it is just plain untrue.

The Manchester Guardian dated 10th February 1908

"the death a few days since of Levick one of their most promising players doubtless had something to do with Sheffield United's inability to beat Birmingham"

At the moment that is the only newspaper report of Frank's death that I can find. However in the recently published book "Sheffield United Football Club's Who's Who" written by Denis Clarebrough, Unitedís historian and Andrew Kirkham, the Club's statistician, makes no mention of the alleged incident but instead refers to a game against Newcastle United in early January 2008 when Frank was injured with what turned out to be a broken collar-bone. He was sent home to recuperate, and it was whilst at home he contracted pneumonia which eventually led to his death.

The only other information I have been able to obtain on Frank is that he was born in Eckington, Derbyshire and that he was the son of Charles and Sarah Levick. Frank is 18 years old in the 1901 census and was living with his parents and brothers and sisters at 32 Barclay Road in the Tinsley district of Sheffield. His job is given as "electric engine cleaner" (GRO ref Rg13/4394page6).

In March 2010, I accessed the local newspapers in the local archives and found the following articles.

The first is from the Sheffield Telegraph dated Saturday 1st February 1908

Sadly Dr Selby's optimism about Franks condition was misplaced. Monday's edition of the Sheffield Telegraph reported that Frank had died at 1.40pm Saturday 1st February 1908



Frank Levick, the Sheffield United forward, who had been lying ill at his fatherís house, No.125, Plumpers Road, Tinsley, last week, succumbed to his illness at twenty minutes to two on Saturday afternoon. It will be remembered that Levick played in the United front rank on January 1st against Newcastle United at Bramall Lane, and in that engagement he sustained an injury which turned out to consist of a broken collar bone. The injury made uninterrupted progress under its treatment, and in this direction Levick was practically well. He, however, developed a cold, and though at first no untoward circumstances were anticipated, the seizure took a severe turn, double pneumonia supervening. Dr Selby, of Attercliffe, was in attendance, and has been most assiduous in his treatment of his patient. Unhappily, any
hopeful anticipations which may have been engendered were doomed to disappointment, for Levick passed a restless night on Friday, and on Saturday morning his strength was not sustained. Signs of heart failure became apparent during Friday and although his physique battled bravely, it was all to no purpose.

Levick was born at Eckington, 25 years ago, and comes of a football family, members of which were capable footballers twenty years ago.His first club was Eckington Juniors, and his next, when he settled in Tinsley, was Tinsley Club, which was then a strong force in the Hatchard Cup. Levick showed improvement from the start, being a dashing centre forward, so dashing in fact that Wednesday were attracted, and he had trials in their reserve team four or five seasons ago. Then, however, he did not show promise of becoming a League player. He had therefore the distinction of wearing the colours of both Sheffield clubs. After leaving Wednesday he again assisted Tinsley, afterwards settling with Rotherham Town, for whom he played one season, during which he developed the powers which attracted Sheffield United, for whom he signed during the close season.

He at once got his chance, for Bluff breaking down, Levick was drafted into the team as inside right at Chelsea. He was not a regular member of the eleven at first, but he always gave satisfaction and eventually made his place secure at inside left, though he played in all three inside positions. Three weeks after the Chelsea match he was moved to inside left for the game against Manchester United at Clayton, after which he stood down for four weeks, to reappear at inside right at Everton. From that time until he sustained a broken collar bone against Newcastle United, on New Yearís Day, he was never left out of the team, and in three successive matches he figured at centre forward, and was only once on the losing side.

At Newcastle, where against the northerners he made his debut in the centre, he helped to beat the United after they had twice held the lead, and he saved his side from defeat in the return game at Bramall Lane by scoring an equalising goal just before his accident. Altogether he played in 18 League matches and scored six goals, three of which meant all the difference between a draw and defeat. He was full of dash, clever, and a good shot, and during his later appearances was Unitedís best forward. He was not married. The funeral will take place at Tinsley on Thursday.

Out of respect to the memory of Levick, the flag at Rotherham Townís ground floated at half-mast on Saturday.

This obituary appeared in the The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated Saturday 1st February 1908

The cause of death was quite simply heart failure arising from pneumonia. Frank was buried on Thursday 6th February 1908 at Sheffield's Tinsley Cemetery


The Manchester Guardian 10th February 1908

Sheffield United Football Club's Who's Who by Denis Clarebrough and Andrew Kirkham

Sheffield Telegraph dated 1st and 3rd February 1908

The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated Saturday 1st February 1908

1901 Census

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This page was last updated on 19/03/15 08:13