Date: 1st September 2014 at 10:27am
Written by:

It’s way back to pre-First World War One for this chapter in the Where Are They Now series with a look at the career of Freddie Burch.

FREDDIE BURCH – Born 1886 Devonport, Plymouth.

Freddie began playing football, first for St.Budeaux and the Essa before being signed by Argyle manager Frank Brettell in 1904.
He only made one appearance during the 1904-05 season, making his debut on 11th February 1905 in a 3-1 win at home to Wellingborough with Albert Hodgkinson, Jack Chadburn and Jocky Wright scoring the goals.
Freddie couldn’t have made too much of an impression as he didn’t play again until the 1906-07 season when he played against Spurs at White Hart Lane in a 0-0 draw.
He scored his first goal in his next game, a 1-0 win at Southampton in a Western League game. Freddie didn’t get an extended first team run until March, when he repeated his goal against Southampton in another 1-0 win this time in the Southern League, in the early years teams played in both the Western League and the Southern League using the same players in both leagues. Freddie’s earnt him a starting place in eight of the next ten matches.

Freddie missed the first two games of the 1907-08 season before playing his first game in a 3-1 defeat at Leyton with Robert Stirling scoring the Argyle goal. He then played in eighteen of the next nineteen games. He scored his first goal of the season in the home match against Leyton with Argyle winning 3-0 with Jimmy McCormick, Freddie and Richard Morris scoring the goals.
After his first team run Freddie lost his place to the delightfully named Messina Allman and only played infrequently after that.
He scored another goal on 25th January in a 3-2 defeat at home to Brighton with Jimmy McCormick getting the first goal.
He made his last appearance the next Saturday in another 3-2 home defeat, this time to Crystal Palace in the second round of the FA Cup.
Looking to play regular first team football Freddie asked to leave and the committee who were running Argyle let him move to Reading.

After spending the 1908-09 season with Reading Freddie returned to Argyle in time for the new season.
With Messina Allman having moved to Stoke after only one season at Home Park Freddie became a first choice striker rarely missing a game in the next six years.
He made his second debut in the opening game of the season in a 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
He scored his first goal three days later in a 2-1 defeat at home to New Brompton, who would later be renamed Gillingham FC.
His next goal also ended in a defeat, 3-2 at Luton with Peter Evans also scoring.
Freddie’s next goal came on Christmas day in a 1-0 win at home to Exeter, two days later in the return fixture Argyle won 4-2 with Freddie and David Griffiths both scoring twice. After a 1-1 draw at home to Spurs in the first round of the FA Cup they were hammered 7-1 in the replay with Freddie scoring the lone Argyle goal.

After the cup disappointment he scored twice in a 4-2 victory at Norwich with the two Jimmy’s, Hindmarsh and McCormick both scoring. Freddie scored the first goal in a 4-0 win at home to Croydon Common with Jimmy Hindmarsh (2) and Sammy Lamb both scoring. Freddie’s tenth goal of the season came in a 2-0 win at home to Watford after Harry Raymond had opened the scoring.

Freddie was a consistent goalscorer throughout the 1910-11 season, he got his first in a 6-1 defeat at Crystal Palace and strangely enough his next goal also came in a 6-1 defeat, this time at Coventry. He scored his next in a 2-2 draw with Brighton at Home Park after Harry Raymond had scored the first goal.
Freddie got the second goal in a 3-1 win at Bristol Rovers, scoring in between goals from John Boden and Harry Raymond. The following Saturday Argyle got revenge for the Crystal Palace defeat in October when they beat them 5-1 at Home Park with Will Dixon, John Boden, Harry Raymond (2) and Freddie all on the scoresheet.
In the next home game Harry and Freddie both scored to beat Leyton 2-1.
He got another in a 3-1 defeat at Norwich and finished his scoring for the season on Good Friday in a 4-0 win at home to Luton when he scored the last goal after Charles Green, Arthur Holden and David Griffiths had all scored.
That victory came a week after Argyle had beat Coventry 6-0 to avenge the 6-1 defeat earlier in the season.

Freddy continued to score on a regular basis the following season, he got his first in October in a 1-0 win a home to Brighton and scored again the following Saturday in a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.
In the next away game he got the first goal in a 4-0 win at Leyton with Will Dixon, Jimmy McCormick and Harry Raymond making it an easy away win. In the next game he again scored the first goal, this time in a 3-0 win at home to Norwich with an own goal and one from Jimmy McCormick making it a long journey back to Norfolk for the visitors.
A week before Christmas Argyle easily beat Watford 5-1 with Harry Raymond, a John Boden hat trick and one from Freddie ensuring another two points for the team.
Local rivals Exeter came to Home Park on Christmas Day and were beaten 3-1 thanks to goals from Jimmy McCormick (2) and Freddie. On Boxing Day Argyle again beat Exeter this time 1-0 with John Boden scoring the goal.

In the first round of the FA Cup Argyle had to make the long journey to Sunderland and were beaten 3-1 with Freddie scoring for Argyle. On 10th February Argyle recorded their fourth successive 2-0 victory with goals from George Malcolm and Freddie over Northampton at Home Park.
His last goal of the season came on Easter Saturday in a 2-0 win at home to Luton with John Boden scoring the first goal. Argyle finished the season in second missing out on the title by one point from QPR, although there was no promotion or relegation from the Southern League.

It had taken Freddie six seasons to score thirty league goals, he would score as many during the 1912-13 season becoming the first Argyle player to score thirty goals in a season.
He began by scoring in the opening game a 2-1 defeat at home to the previous season’s champions QPR.
In the next home game he scored in a 3-1 win over Swindon with Harry Raymond getting the other two.
Exeter were the next visitors to Home Park and went away soundly beaten 3-0 with Bertie Bowler Harry Raymond and Freddie giving Argyle bragging rights for yet another season.
In the next game a 3-1 defeat at West Ham Freddie notched another goal, he claimed another in the following away game a 3-2 win at Coventry with Jimmy McCormick and an own goal putting the Greens 2-0 up.
Freddie and Jimmy both scored again in a 3-2 defeat at Merthyr Town. In mid-November Argyle beat Stoke 4-0 at Home Park, mainly thanks to a Bertie Bowler hat trick with Freddie also on the scoresheet.
His next goals came in two successive away game which both ended in a draw, he scored in a 1-1 draw at Northampton, and on Boxing Day got the first goal in a 2-2 draw at Brentford with Bertie Bowler getting the second.

In the first game of 1913 Freddie got both goals in a 2-2 draw at Swindon.
In the next game at home to Portsmouth he scored the second goal in a 2-0 win with Jack Bell scoring the first.
In mid-February Argyle had a good 4-1 away win at Brighton thanks to goals from Jimmy Kirkpatrick, Freddie, Bertie Bowler and Will Dixon. They also won their next game 4-1 as well, this time at home to Coventry with Bertie Bowler and Freddie scoring two each. In the next home game Merthyr were thrashed 5-0 with Freddie scoring his first hat trick for the club with Bertie Bowler and an own goal completing the scoring.
The following Wednesday Argyle beat Brentford 3-0 at Home Park with Freddie scoring his 19th and 20th goals of the season and Harry Wilcox also scoring.
Freddie’s next goal, or rather next four goals came in a 6-1 win at home to Southampton at the end of March with Jack Bell and Will Dixon also scoring in the rout.
Freddie then scored in each of the next five games as well. He got the first goal in a 2-0 win at Reading with Jack Bell scoring the second. He then scored the third goal in a 3-1 win at home to Norwich after Bertie Bowler had scored twice.

Gillingham were Argyle’s next opponents and were beaten 4-0 at Home Park with Freddie scoring twice and Bertie Bowler and Jack Bell also on the scoresheet. The next two game were also at home on 23rd April QPR were beaten 2-0 with Bertie and Freddie both scoring then three days later Northampton were also beaten 2-0 after Jack Bell had got the first Freddie scored his thirtieth of the season.

Despite Argyle losing the next game, the last of the season, 4-2 at Gillingham they still finished as champions with Freddie ending the season as the leading goalscorer in the Southern League.

Freddie continued where he had left off scoring in three of the first four games of the 1913-14 season. He scored the club’s first goal of the season in a 2-0 win at Portsmouth with Jack Bell scoring the second.
In the next away game he scored in a 4-1 defeat at Swindon and the following Saturday scored in a 1-1 home draw with Bristol Rovers. His next came in a 3-0 win at home to West Ham with Bertie Bowler scoring twice. We have had some uniquely name players throughout the years but the player who scored the second goal in a 2-1 win at Southampton after Freddie had got the first has got to be one of the best, the winner was scored by Prince Blott, and no, I’m not making it up.
Freddie got another in the next away game a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace after Arthur Rutter had scored the first.
The FA Cup first round provided Freddy with another goal in a 4-1 win at home to Lincoln, Harry Raymond scored twice and Jack Butler also scored a rare goal.

The following Saturday Freddie scored another hat trick in a 4-1 win at Bristol Rovers with Harry Raymond also scoring.
In February Freddie scored in a 2-1 defeat at Southend and in the next away game scored both goals in a 2-2 draw at Reading. He scored his 14th and last of the season in a 1-1 draw at Norwich.

For the third season in succession Freddie scored the first Argyle goal of the season, this time in a 2-0 win at home to Brighton with Jimmy Kirkpatrick getting the second.
In the next game he scored in a 2-1 defeat at Luton and followed that one up by scoring in a 3-2 defeat at Swindon with Sam Davis also scoring.
Freddie’s next goals came in a 2-2 draw at home to Norwich when he scored both goals. He then scored in five games on the trot, starting with the first goal in a 3-3 draw at home to Luton with Will Dixon getting the other two.
He then got his third hat trick when he scored all three goals in a 3-1 win at home to Swindon. A week later he scored in a 3-1 defeat at Portsmouth.
In the next game he scored in a 1-1 draw with QPR at Home Park. He scored the opener in a 3-0 win at home to Bristol Rovers with Will Dixon and Prince Blott also scoring.
Freddie’s next came in a rare derby defeat for Argyle when they were beaten 3-1 at home to Exeter.

Freddie got the first goal in a 3-2 win at home to Gillingham, Billy Forbes and Tommy Gallogley both scored in what would be the last home game for four years as millions of men, footballers included, went to fight in the First World War, unfortunately many, including some of the great names in British football never returned.
Freddie scored in the last game, a 3-1 defeat at Southend to get his 15th for the season to finish as leading goalscorer for the third consecutive season.

Freddie returned to Argyle after the war, I don’t know if he was injured physically, he probably would have been mentally, but he never played for the club again.
He scored 91 goals from 240 appearances and is still ranked at number 7 in the all-time Argyle scoring list.

Freddie is shown as moving to Swansea Town, but I couldn’t find any record of any appearances or goals scored for them.
Unfortunately with the older players it’s not always possible to find an exact date of death, with Freddie I couldn’t find any record of his death at all, as he was born 128 years ago he’s obviously passed away.
Even his date of birth was only shown as 1886. He was a local man and probably had family in Plymouth so if anyone could fill in the missing details I would be grateful.

If you have any information on Freddie please contact us at plymouthvital@aol.co.uk