Having been born little more than a Rory Delap long throw away from Brimington Cemetery I can't imagine why I never came across this grave, and this story, before. Here lies William Cropper, ace fast medium left arm bowler for Derbyshire and occasional football forward for Derby County and then Staveley FC.
Poor Will Cropper must have been one of the first players after the invention of modern football to have been killed by a foul or collision on the pitch, but not the first. In fact, read on and discover that he was not even the first local player to be given out and sent to the great eternal pavilion by Umpire Death.
The Derbyshire Courier was in no mood to mince words in its edition of 19 January 1889:
It turns out that William didn't even like football very much, since cricket was more his thing. As for the Courier, they knew very well who to point the finger at: Grimsby Town, Daniel Doyle and all things Lincolnshire.
There was no messing about in 1889 and justice (if that's what it was) moved very quickly. Young Cropper was injured on Saturday, died on Sunday, his inquest was heard on Tuesday and he was buried on Thursday. In spite of what the Courier's man thought, Dan Doyle was exonerated by the coroner's jury.
And that, dear friends, is the end of the sad tale of William Cropper of Staveley.
Last Edit: Dec 19, 2012 17:58:59 GMT by wildebeeste