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Frank McKenna RIP

Frank McKenna RIP

The Club will hold a minute’s silence before our home game against Seaham Red Star on Saturday (23rd December)  in memory of one of our former player Frank McKenna who died recently. Frank was born on 8th January 1933 in Blaydon and was a joiner by trade when he played for the Bishops.

Frank played in many forward positions but favoured Outside Right. He was one of seven amateur internationals in the Bishop Auckland team that played in the 1956 Amateur Cup Final at Wembley against Corinthian Casuals on 7th April. The match finished 1-1, after extra-time, with Frank getting the equaliser. On the 12th April Bishops won the replay 4-1 at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park ground. It was playing Outside Right with the Bishops that he won three England Amateur International caps, an FA Amateur Cup medal in 1956 and played for Great Britain in an Olympic Preliminary Round game against Bulgaria. His three England Amateur caps came in 1956 in a 1-2 defeat by Wales on 11th February at the Vetch Field, Swansea, followed by a 4-2 victory over Scotland on 24th March at Wembley and a 3-1 win over France on 21st April at Champion Hill, home of Dulwich Hamlet.
Frank scored two of the goals as the Bishops knocked out Second Division team Ipswich Town from the FA Cup in a Third Round Replay in January 1955 by 3-0, having already scored in the first encounter at Portman Road which had ended 2-2.
His form in 1956, and especially in the FA Amateur Cup as well as playing for England, at Amateur level, attracted Leeds United and Frank turned professional in July 1956 and made his debut for Leeds in their game against Newcastle United in November 1956. This must have been a momentous occasion for Frank, not only playing professional football but Frank was born in Blaydon so the game would have been that extra special.

Frank joined Carlisle United in February 1958 and made his debut on 15 February in the home defeat at the hands of Hull City and scored his first goal in the 5-2 win over Gateshead a fortnight later. He was an ever present on the right wing for the remainder of that campaign.

The following season, playing now in the Fourth Division, he featured mainly on the left wing. In all he played 46 league games for the club, scoring 11 goals. 

While at Brunton Park he also played alongside Seamus O’Connell and Corbett Cresswell, both of whom were in the same Bishop’s  cup winning team.

On leaving Carlisle in 1959, he spent a season with Hartlepool United and later played non-league football with Gateshead and North Shields.

The club sends its condolences to his family and friends.


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