18 December 2019 23:42

Harry Trainer played for eight different clubs and was charged with eight different crimes.

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As he turned into Queen Street, Owen noticed the shutters of Williams' Jeweller's shop had been removed. Owen followed the man and blew his police whistle, alerting a passing fireman named Thomas Humphreys. While Owen guarded the gate, Humphreys searched the trees. There was a brief struggle as Humphreys restrained the man and Owen placed him in handcuffs. The suspected jewel thief was the Wrexham and Wales footballer Harry Trainer.

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"What I've got on me was given me by a bloke." Trainer, described as "had some drink, but not drunk," became violent and resisted all the way as he was dragged to the police station. When they got there, Trainer finally gave up and told Owen: "I'll come quiet now, mate." Searches revealed items of jewellery stuffed in the lining of his jacket and more that had been discarded or dropped during his flight. In February 1894, Trainer was charged with assaulting James Holt, the landlord of the Talbot Hotel, following Westminster Rovers' 5-3 win over Wrexham in the semi-final of the Welsh Cup. Trainer apologised and donated £5 to the Wrexham Infirmary and Holt agreed to drop the case. A month later, Trainer was arrested on the platform at Wrexham railway station as he waited to travel with Westminster Rovers to the cup final. He was taken to the police station and charged with breaking and entering, but was swiftly bailed and made it back to the station in time to travel on a supporters' excursion train.


Trainer played well in the final and was unlucky not to have scored, but Rovers lost 2-0 to Billy Meredith's Chirk. Two days later, Trainer surrendered to his bail and appeared before magistrates. Trainer and another man, Patrick Prendergast, were accused of unlawfully breaking and entering a house occupied by Alfred Anson. Trainer was transferred to Wrexham that summer. He scored on his debut against Chester in September, then scored past his cousin – the famous Welsh international goalkeeper Jimmy Trainer – against Preston the following month.

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He began to attract attention from English clubs and both Leicester Fosse and West Brom tried to sign him. Leicester were "severely censured" for an illegal approach, while West Brom's offer of £20 in cash plus an agreement to play a friendly match in Wrexham was eventually accepted. Whatever the truth, Trainer ended up back at Wrexham and re-appeared for a match against Tranmere Rovers, played in "frightful conditions", in which he "simply revelled in the mud" and scored four goals. One reporter described Trainer as "the cleverest centre that has played in Wales for years". He played in three consecutive internationals in 1895, but that summer left North Wales and finally joined Leicester.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Harry Trainer sits in the middle seat in the middle row among his teammates at Leicester Fosse in 1896. Trainer was Leicester's top scorer during his first season as the club finished mid-table in the English second division. In the "Starting the Football Season" column, the Leicester Chronicle reported that Trainer had been charged with being drunk and disorderly and using obscene language in Leicester's marketplace. Trainer was released and made his way back to Wrexham. On Saturday 10 November 1900, Trainer played for Wrexham Reserves at the Racecourse Ground. Trainer appeared in county court in Ruthin in January 1901 and pleaded guilty to charges of breaking and entering, and theft of jewellery. The crime was described in detail by the prosecutor, Mr RV Bankes, who added that Trainer had previously been bound over in 1894 for breaking and entering. Trainer said nothing of note during his court appearance and it was unclear why a professional footballer – not highly paid in comparison to the footballers of today, but earning more than the average working man – would commit such an audacious robbery. Although newspaper reports at the time centred around the fact that Trainer was a famous sportsman ("Serious Charge Against a Wrexham Footballer: Alleged Daring Robbery," read one headline), reports of his conviction gave his profession as "labourer", indicating that Wrexham had cancelled his contract, and that his football achievements had been eclipsed by his criminal activities. By the end of September, he was out and playing professional football again in England with Poolsbrook United in the East Derbyshire Championship. In the summer of 1903, he was charged with assaulting a man who had called his mother "opprobrious" names. Trainer moved to another Derbyshire side, Clowne White Star, and in 1907 was charged with being drunk and disorderly. Then, in 1908, under the headline "A Poolsbrook Fowl Robbery," it was reported that Trainer had been charged with stealing a cockerel and three hens. Unlike cousin Jimmy Trainer and teammate Billy Meredith, he would not be remembered as an international footballer. Harry Trainer played for eight different clubs and was charged with eight different crimes. A former Wales football player said to have a "ferocious temper" hit a neighbour on the head with a saucepan, a court heard. Judge Huw Rees told the 21-year-old: "It is not the first time you have lost your temper and it is not the first time you have appeared before a court for assault. Hughes was given an eight-month prison sentence which was suspended for a year. "On May 16 this year, he saw three dogs loose in the area and shouted a warning," said Ms Maxwell. Defence counsel James Coutts told the court that Hughes was a talented footballer who had played the game professionally and represented Wales at junior level. "She is back playing football and coaches a team of youngsters," he said.