Hardy’s England cap comes home
Stockport County’s Commercial Manager Phil Brennan has landed a priceless piece of Hatters history after he acquired the long-lost international cap awarded to County’s only England international, goalkeeper Harry Hardy.
Phil said: “It really has turned up out of the blue! The cap was given to me by Steve White a County fan, now based in the south of England.
“My plan now is to put the England cap on display at Edgeley Park, so that all our fans can witness this unique piece of County memorabilia. Hardy’s achievement of playing for England whilst still on County’s books is unprecedented, so this England cap is truly a significant find.”
Steve has also given Phil a collection of photos and programmes from Hardy’s international career, which are also likely to create significant interest amongst County fans.
Born in Stockport in 1895, Hardy joined the Hatters from local side Ward Street Old Boys, making his debut in a 3-0 defeat at Cardiff on September 4 1920, before going on to make a remarkable 170 consecutive appearances before missing his first County game, a 1-1 draw with Southampton on October 11 1924, due to his involvement with the Football League representative side. In total he played over 200 games for County in the 1920s, during which time he helped the Hatters to the Division Three (North) title in 1922, conceding just 21 goals during the campaign, a record that has never been bettered.
Hardy won his only England cap on December 8th 1924 keeping a clean sheet in England's 4-0 win against Belgium at the Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion.
Hardy, who had represented the Football League against the Irish League 2 months earlier, keeping another clean sheet in a 5-0 win, was also selected for England's tour of Australia in 1925 but, unfortunately, he did not increase his number of 'caps' as the 5 'Test Matches' against the Aussies were not regarded as full internationals.
On his return from Australia he made just 11 further appearances before Everton paid £2,350, a considerable amount for a goalkeeper, to take him to Goodison Park in October 1925.
Hardy made 40 appearances for the Toffees, including 6 when they lifted the First Division title in 1928, before finishing his career at Bury. Hardy passed away in February 1969.
The collection will be on show in the Club Shop before the pre-season friendly against St. Mirren on 27th July