Randolph Galloway – British soldier, Irish rugby player & forgotten Lisbon manager

Septimus Randolph Galloway, the son of Francis Jewitt Galloway, a Millfield shipyard boilermaker, and Mary Ann Graham, was born in Sunderland on the 22nd December 1896. Known by the name of Randolph, he was the sixth of ten children. In 1911, aged 14, he was sent to the Ragged and Industrial School for the area. It was a boarding institution established for underprivileged kids in an attempt to avoid them falling into crime and wrongdoing. However the school was no longer a reformatory when attended by the teenage Galloway as it was by this stage training young boys for a career in the British military.

It is believed (as reported by the Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo in 1929) Randolph joined the army at around 15 years of age, (circa 1911-12) serving in India and subsequently in Ireland. He joined as a boy musician and during the First World War he served with the Yorkshire Regiment, while his time in the army saw him turning his attention to rugby where he is believed to have played for a team in Ireland which won a championship. A descendant of the Galloway family of Wearside, Anthony Hindmarch (a grand nephew of Randolph), detailed to the Sunderland Echo that ‘in India…he acted as a runner – probably because of his athletic prowess.’

His Regiment Number was 10083, he numbered the Green Howards and was with the First Battalion in India until seeing action in the war on the 1st January 1916. Galloway was entitled to War and Victory medals but had to forfeit them under King’s Regulation, paragraph 392 of ‘having been by the civil power convicted of an offence committed prior to enlistment’. Such was his sporting ability it was noted by the Barcelona sports daily that Galloway was picked to ‘represent the Irish army in athletics contests’ and competed in London winning the 100 and 250 yard races.

His competing in athletics appears to coincide with him returning to playing football first with Tramways in his hometown, then with Derby County whom he signed for a fee of £10 in 1921. Three years later he moved across the east Midlands and joined Nottingham Forest  for what was then a record fee for the club. James Catton, a contemporary football reporter of the era, described Galloway as having ‘a powerful shot and is just the type of leader to give power to the Forest attack.’ Such optimism and expectation seems misplaced when one notes that Galloway scored just eight goals in his time with Forest and  went on to have unproductive spells with Luton Town, Coventry City and Tottenham Hotspur.

At Spurs he was converted to the centre-forward position as cover for former England international Tom Roberts. The former-Sunderland Tramway’s player scored in his first two appearances, but was injured in his third and never played for the White Hart Lane club again. In April of 1929 he joined Grantham Town and by the end of that year Galloway retired from playing completely, by now in his early 30s. In total he played 114 games in the Football League and scored 37 goals. The end of his career as an attacker on the field heralded a new chapter in his life and a first foray into football management.

In November 1929 he was appointed as manager of Sporting Gijon and the Asturias based paper La Prensa highlighted the club’s new man from abroad as ‘one of the most well-regarded players the English First Division has had for the last six years’. Breathlessly the same periodical suggested that that success for Gijon was almost guaranteed, such was his reputation. Galloway’s footballing philosophy is wonderfully detailed by Mundo Deportivo as translated in New York Times journalist Rory Smith’s book Mister:

‘a football team has to have a lot of control of the ball and a lot of speed…It has to have a lot of movement…I [Galloway] will use the modern English style: there has to be depth in attack, movement in the middle and security in defence. The player has to acquire the maximum speed with the ball at his feet, under control, and also has to understand when to get rid of it, either by shooting or passing to a team-mate.’

The Sunderland-born manager wanted to mould younger players more receptive to new ways of playing and to marry the Spanish furia style with accomplished technical ability and shrewd tactics.

Galloway left Gijon after two seasons in charge and he would go on to spend a similar time in charge of firstly Valencia and then Racing Santander. At the latter he appeared to be building a side that in his own words were ‘just starting to play’ and would be a force to reckoned with the following season. Yet his time with Cantabria club was cut short when he reluctantly left Spain in 1935. Returning to England he settled in West Bridgford and Mapperley in Nottinghamshire and coached local boys teams during the Second World War.

At the conclusion of the war he returned to management, firstly with the Costa Rican national team and two years later, with a pattern emerging, became the manager of Uruguayan giants Peñarol in 1948. That side featured players such as Alcides Ghiggia, Juan Schiaffino and Obdulio Varela who all played at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Ghiggia is notable as having scored the winning goal to claim his country’s second championship. However Galloway’s time in Montevideo was brief and he moved to the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires. In 1949 he returned to England.

There would be one final chapter for Galloway on the European continent, a spell in Switzerland would lead him to Portugal in what was to be the most fruitful and silverware laden period of his nomadic managerial career. In 1950 he became manager of Sporting Clube de Portugal of Lisbon, a side which featured the renowned ‘Five Fiddles’ forward line of Albano, Jesus Correia, Fernando Peyrote, Jose Travassos and Manuel Vasques who are reputed to have scored 1,000 career goals between them. Galloway had to deal with the loss of Peyroteo through retirement, but was able to lead his charges to three league titles. Despite these achievements he seems to be a forgotten figure in the annals of the Lisbon club.

Randolph Galloway’s final job was with Vitória S.C. and he retired back in England where he lived until his death in April 1964. His peripatetic managerial career is bewildering to imagine in an era when transport wasn’t as straightforward, nor the transmission of information at all easy. He achieved a lot from very humble beginnings and yet curiously did not get the opportunity to manage in England – the closest he came was rumours that he was in the running for the national team job in the 1950s. 

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