Sporting Intelligence
Blast from the pastNils Middelboe: a hassle-free Chelsea foreign import

Nils Middelboe: a hassle-free Chelsea foreign import

by

By Nick Harris

26 December 2009

Denmark’s Nils Middelboe was attached to the Casuals and Newcastle before playing League football for Chelsea from late 1913. Photographs from the time show an awkward, apparently shy man with long skinny arms and a concave chest. But as his lengthy international career and authorship of coaching manuals showed, he lacked nothing in skill or mental application.

Middelboe came to the attention of English clubs through his involvement in two Olympic tournaments, in 1908 and 1912. The first was in London, and was won by the hosts, Britain (actually an English team), who beat Denmark – and Middelboe – in the final. By the 1912 Games in Stockholm he was Denmark’s captain, playing in the final as his nation lost again to England.

While Chelsea were happy to employ him – albeit as an amateur – England’s authorities would take a dimmer view of the Olympics after 1912. The 1924 and 1928 tournaments, both won by Uruguay, were ignored, as was the inaugural World Cup in 1930, also won by the South Americans.

By the first decade of the 21st century, English football was a melting pot for the global game, with more than 2,000 foreigners having played in the English league since 1888. A historical review at the end of the 2005-06 season showed France had contributed more players than any nation (247 of them to that date), and the first Frenchman was Eugene Langenove at Walsall, in 1922. Middelboe was the first Dane.

And Nils Middleboe, of

Major sources of foreign players to the English Leagues: 1888 to summer 2006

Country (No. of players)FirstYearClub

1FRANCE (247 players)Eugene Langenove1922Walsall

2THE NETHERLANDS (147)Gerry Keizer1930Arsenal

3SOUTH AFRICA (127)Wilfred Waller1900Bolton

4AUSTRALIA (120)John Cuffe1905Glossop

5DENMARK (103)Nils Middleboe1913Chelsea

6GERMANY (87)Max Seeburg1907Tottenham

7NORWAY (82)Karl Hansen1949Huddersfield

8ITALY (75)Rolando Ugolini1948Middlesbrough

9SWEDEN (67)Dan Ekner1949Portsmouth

10USA (66)Billy Andrews1908Oldham

11SPAIN (57)Emilio Aldecoa1945Coventry

12NIGERIA (55)Tesilim Balogun1956QPR

13=CANADA (53)Walter Bowman*1891Accrington

13=PORTUGAL (53)Jose Dominguez1994Birmingham

*the first foreign footballer in the English League

Denmark, was attached to the Casuals and Newcastle before playing League football for Chelsea. He played 41 times for them from the 1913–14 season onwards. Photographs from the time show an awkward, apparently shy man with long skinny arms and a concave chest. But as

He came to the attention of English clubs through his involvement in two Olympic tournaments, in 1908 and 1912. The first, in London, saw the hosts prevail, beating Denmark – and Middleboe – in the final. By the 1912 Games in Stockholm he was captain, playing in the final as Denmark lost again to England having earlier steered his side to resounding wins over Norway and The Netherlands. While the likes of Chelsea were happy to employ Middleboe – albeit as an amateur – England’s authorities would take a dimmer view of the Olympics after 1912. The 1924 and 1928 tournaments, both won by Uruguay, were ignored, as was the inaugural World Cup in 1930, also won by the South Americans.

Major sources of foreign players to the English Leagues: 1888 to summer 2006

Country (No. of players) —- First player —- Year —-Club

1FRANCE (247 players)  —- Eugene Langenove —- 1922 —- Walsall

2THE NETHERLANDS (147) —- Gerry Keizer —- 1930 —- Arsenal

3SOUTH AFRICA (127) —- Wilfred Waller —- 1900 —- Bolton

4AUSTRALIA (120) —- John Cuffe —- 1905 —- Glossop

5DENMARK (103) —- Nils Middleboe —- 1913 —- Chelsea

6GERMANY (87) —- Max Seeburg —- 1907 —- Tottenham

7NORWAY (82) —- Karl Hansen —- 1949 —- Huddersfield

8ITALY (75) —- Rolando Ugolini —- 1948 —- Middlesbrough

9SWEDEN (67) —- Dan Ekner —- 1949 —- Portsmouth

10USA (66) —- Billy Andrews —- 1908 —- Oldham

11SPAIN (57) —- Emilio Aldecoa —- 1945 —- Coventry

12NIGERIA (55) —- Tesilim Balogun —- 1956 —- QPR

13=CANADA (53) —- Walter Bowman* —- 1891 —- Accrington

13=PORTUGAL (53) —- Jose Dominguez —- 1994 —- Birmingham

*the first foreign footballer in the English League

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo Messenger
  • Share/Bookmark

leave a reply

Contact us

Sporting Intelligence PO Box 26676 Helensburgh, G84 4DT United Kingdom

+44 7444 463430

Nick@sportingintelligence.com

LATEST FEATURES

  • GSSS 2016
  • How Giroud tops Vardy, and why Arsenal fail to spend
  • ‘Rio spectacular? I was in dire need of Wogan or Clive James’
  • ‘Watching Budd reunite with nemesis Decker … Yes. I nearly lost it’

FOLLOW US

Back to Top
Clean
Last scanned on:
2013-05-28 11:34:43