Fred Spiksley: professional football's first superstar

Born in Gainsborough, Fred Spiksley was arguably professional football's first superstar.

A 19th century David Beckham, with the skills and looks to match.

His story reads like something from the Boys Own paper of the time - the scorer of the winning goal in the 1896 FA Cup final, the first player to score 3 times for England against Scotland, he also acted on stage with Charlie Chaplin and in 1914 escaped from a German prison.

Spiksley's great great nephew, Clive Nicholson has been researching his story for the past 25 years.

Three years ago Clive teamed up with football writer Mark Metcalf and last month released a book about Spiksley's remarkable life.

Fred was the first player to score a hat-trick in an international match

Would I actually like Fred if I met him? I still don't know the answer to that. The story is amazing. He was a bit of a womanizer, he was an addicted gambler, so he definitely got himself in to quite a few scrapes. But he was an entertainer on the pitch and a piano player who entertained people.

Clive Nicholson

He was a brilliant footballer. His pace was electric and he was particularly good on the big games. He scored a hat trick in an England v Scotland match and scored two goals in the 1896 FA Cup Final. His difficulty was undoubtedly he had some major weaknesses and his major weakness was he was consumed by horse racing.

Mark Metcalf
Fred was named the 'Olive Grove Flyer' by fans when he played for Sheffield Wednesday at their old Olive Grove ground

Despite his flaws, Spiksley did forge a successful career in coaching, winning national titles in Sweden, Mexico and Germany, before his death ironically at Goodwood races in 1948.

Fred also managed and one national titles in three countries

Over a century after Spiksley scored England's first hat-trick against Scotland, the auld enemy meet again at Wembley tomorrow night.

What we'd give now for another Fred Spiksley.