Them and us – Wally Hazelden (Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa)

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Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa will be locking horns on Saturday and TNS this week looks back at the career of a player who served both clubs admirably.

Walter Hazelden was born in Ashton-in-Makerfield on 13th February 1941.  He is a former England Youth international and he played in the inside left berth.

His first game for Aston Villa, his first club, came during season 1957/58 when he made 9 First Division appearances during which he netted three times.  Wally is down in the Villa record books as the youngest ever player to score a goal for the club, a record that still stands to this day.  He was making his Villa debut against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on 9th November 1957 when he achieved this feat.  Sadly for Wally he ended up on the losing side by the odd goal in five.

His other two goals were scored in the very next game, against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough with Villa running out 5-2 victors.

The following season saw him register a further 8 Division One appearances during which he netted twice.  His full Villa record also includes two FA Cup games against Stoke City which he played in season 1957/58.   His last game for the Villans was on 20th December 1958, a 4-1 defeat against their bitter rivals Birmingham City at St Andrews, however it was Wally who scored Villa’s goal, ensuring that he had the nice record of scoring in his first and last Villa games!

He then arrived at Springfield Park in August 1960 after being snapped up by Latics manager Allenby Chilton, who incidentally Sir Matt Busby claims is the best player to never be capped by England.

He went on to make 28 Lancashire Combination appearances for the Blues during which he rattled in an amazing 23 goals.

Chilton was sacked on the 15th December 1960 and replaced by former Latics player Johnny Ball in what was Latics’ last season as a Lancashire Combination outfit. The Blues finished the campaign in third place behind champions Chorley and runners up Nelson.  They also finished the season with no other trophies, a rare state of affairs for a club of Latics’ stature.

Hazelden couldn’t stop scoring in that season’s domestic cup games either.  He netted four times during seven FA Cup outings and six goals were scored in five Lancashire Combination Cup games.

The Hazelden trail then goes cold, what is certain is that he didn’t feature for any other Football League club, but such a consistent performer must have plied his trade elsewhere surely?  If any of the older generation can shed light on his whereabouts after his time at Springfield Park I would be delighted to hear from them.

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