The no-nonsense Trainer
When 18-year-old Tom Curry joined Newcastle United in 1912, he probably didn’t expect to wait another seven years before he would make his debut. The outbreak of the First World War, and the suspension of professional football delayed the youngster’s career, although Curry still managed to make some guest appearances around his wartime role of sergeant in the Royal Engineers. In 1919 football resumed, and Curry was finally able to make his debut for Newcastle, at the age of 25. Though competition for his place with the ‘Magpies’ was fierce, Curry still managed to impress Football League selectors, and he represented them against the League of Ireland that same year, in a 2-2 draw at Anfield.
Training rules for 1936/37 season, which belonged to Tom Curry.
In 1930, Curry retired from playing football, but proved adept at passing down his expertise when he became trainer at Carlisle United. Four years later, he made his move to Manchester, to supervise first team training. In 1948, as well as coaching the ‘Reds’ to FA Cup success, Curry was appointed trainer of the Great Britain football team in that year’s Olympic Games. The team lost to Yugoslavia in the semi-finals and ended the competition in fourth place, picking up a participation medal.
Tom Curry's Olympics cloth badge, 1948. In need of a trainer, Curry was an easy choice for Great Britain Olympic team manager, Matt Busby.
Alongside his training duties, Curry took some responsibility for treating injured players, learning about the newest methods and using hi-tech equipment like infra-red heat lamps. Though much of this recuperation took place on club property, his daughter keenly remembered returning home from school to find first team players receiving treatment on the Curry’s kitchen table.
Tom Curry used these heat lamps as part of player injury treatment.
A man of integrity, Curry treated star performers and the greenest of rookies exactly alike, standing no nonsense but ever ready to offer support if a lad was in trouble. Indeed, he was ready to cover for latecomers to training, provided they put in the effort to make up for it. However, he would never let players become too big for their boots.
Tom Curry pictured with the 1948 FA Cup winning team.
The loss of Tom Curry was keenly felt around the club, as United moved to replace a trainer who had been with them for 24 years.