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Jack Tresadern


Jack Tresadern, who took over as Argyle manager in 1938, had a distinguished career as a right back which included two England caps.

Tresadern was born in Leytonstone, East London, and played for West Ham Schoolboys and Barking before signing for West Ham United in 1913. He stayed with the club until 1925, and was part of the team which won promotion to the First Division in 1922-1923.

He also lined up against former Argyle player David Jack and his Bolton team-mates in the 1923 FA Cup Final, the first to be held at Wembley. Tresadern featured in one of several controversial incidents in that match: he had become trapped in the massive crowd and was still fighting his way back onto the pitch when David Jack scored Bolton's first.

Tresadern's two England caps came while he was playing for the Hammers. The first, in April 1923, was a 2-2 Home International draw with Scotland, who included future Argyle keeper Bill Harper in goal. His second cap was just one month later, when England met Sweden in a friendly in Stockholm. This was the first time the two countries had met, and England won 4-2.

After West Ham, Tresadern played for Burnley and then became player-manager at Northampton before a broken leg ended his playing career in 1926. He managed Crystal Palace from 1930 to 1935, and then took over at Tottenham Hotspur, who were then in the Second Division. During his time at White Hart Lane, he was allegedly unpopular with both the players and the supporters, and Spurs legend has it that he left before he was pushed, resigning in May 1938 to take up the position of Argyle manager.

Tresadern led the club through one full season, 1938-1939, in which the Pilgrims finished fifteenth in Division Two. He then oversaw the three League matches which were completed before the outbreak of war.

There is some confusion over Tresadern's exact birth date, which is variously given as 1890 and 1892. Nevertheless, he was not a young man when he was called up to serve in the Army, emerging in 1945 with the rank of captain. He then faced the mountainous task of restoring Argyle to a city which had been all but destroyed in the war.

The Football League confirmed that 1945-1946 was to be treated as a transitional season, and Tresadern was forced to cobble together a team of veterans, youngsters and guest players who won just three of their 42 matches. The following year, League football proper restarted and Argyle finished nineteenth in the Second Division, despite the acquisition of players like Bill Shortt and Bill Strauss. The board of directors made their displeasure known in no uncertain terms.

In the first few weeks of the 1947-1948 season, Argyle won just five points out of a possible eighteen, and Tresadern departed from Home Park. It is not clear whether he was dismissed or whether he chose to resign; however, the brevity of the statement put out by the club when he left points to him having been sacked.

Jack Tresadern died in 1959. He is remembered both as the manager who held Plymouth Argyle together after the ravages of war, and as the first manager to come into conflict with the Argyle board.

[Kindly supplied by Peggy Prior, author of The Gaffer Tapes, a series on Argyle's managers that first appeared in matchday programmes in 2007-08]

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