Player name in full: Frank Victor Swift
Number of appearances: 375
Goals scored: 0
Born in Blackpool on Boxing Day 1913, Frank stood at 6’ 2” (1.88m) with a finger span of 11 ¾” (29.8cm).
Leaving school to work for Blackpool Gas Works he soon kept goal for their team before moving to Fleetwood in 1931. During the summer he ran sailing trips along the coast for holiday makers.
A trial on 16th November 1932 saw the 17-year-old Swift became a City player earning 10 shillings a week (50p). A donation of 10 guineas (£10.50p) was paid to Fleetwood on 23rd March 1934. He played his entire professional career with Manchester City, winning both the FA Cup and League Championship medals before the age of 24.
He made his first team debut on Christmas Day 1933, keeping his place for every League and Cup game until 17th September 1938.
At just 20 Frank enjoyed FA Cup glory in 1934, fainting at the final whistle overcome with emotion, as did his mother who was pitch-side. She was revived by a small tot of whisky from the flask of Mrs Bell, wife of the City trainer.
Frank often said, “Imagine that, a big chap like me fainting in front of the King”.
Swift played in every game of the 1936-37 season and City won their first League Championship, however war clouds were gathering. During World War 2 Frank became a Special Constable, before joining the Forces alongside other famous players winning 14 international caps, followed by 19 caps post war, and in 1947 he was the first goalkeeper to captain England in the 20th century.
Retiring at the top of his game in 1949, Frank pursued a successful career in journalism which ultimately led to his tragic death in the Munich air disaster in 1958, aged just 44.
The 1934 quarter final of the FA Cup saw a record crowd of 84,569 for the game at Maine Rd against Stoke.
With hands “like frying pans” ‘Big Swifty’ would love to dive and catch the ball one handed, usually smiling at the crowd or a photographer.
Non-City career (briefly):
Frank became a director of Smallman’s bakery and was also President of the City Supporters' Club. He soon developed a career as a respected sporting journalist.
1977 saw a street named in his honour and in 1998 Frank was named one of the ‘Football League 100 Legends’ as well as being inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame.
The Old Trafford derby of 2008 saw the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. During the game, City fans chanted "There's only one Frank Swift" several times, to rounds of applause from the United fans.
A nice touch to a gentle giant who was loved, respected, and remembered throughout the game.