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Historic Wanderers: Richard Pym

Jamie is bored so is beginning a new series looking at interesting former Wanderers.

The 1923 FA Cup final
Getty Images: Popperfoto

Richard “Dick” Pym begins and indeed inspired this new series looking back at some of Bolton Wanderers’ more interesting former charges.

Pym was born is 1893 in Topsham near Exeter in Devon and this was where he would begin his career. He started out as a centre forward for Topsham before moving to Exeter City in 1911. His first team debut came as a replacement for the goalkeeper and he would then go on to make 186 consecutive appearances in the Southern League.

He went with Exeter on their historic tour of Argentina and Brazil where they took part in the Brazil national teams’ first official match, in which Pym played. The occasion is what led to the Brazil national teams’ nickname of Selecao as they had to bring together a team at the last minute; the nickname remains to this day.

During the war Pym would join the Devonshire Regiment and carry out the role of physical training instructor. I can’t say I have any idea what that means.

Exeter City joined the Football League in 1920 and Pym was sold to Bolton for a then world record fee of £5,000. That money allowed the club to buy their St James Park home, which they still occupy to this day.

While at Bolton Pym would win three FA Cups in 1923, 1926 and 1929 with the first of those of course being the famous White Horse Final and the first to be played at the old Wembley. Pym made his England debut in 1925 against Wales as England ran out 2-1 winners. He also played in a 2-0 win over Scotland and then again against the Welsh as he picked up three caps.

Pym made 336 appearances for Bolton in his ten years at the club before leaving to join non-league outfit Yeovil & Petters United. He spent one year at Yeovil before retiring into the fishing industry, the family trade.

He would live until the age of 95 becoming the last surviving member of the 1923 FA Cup winning team and earning the record for the longest living England footballer.