Gordon Swann


Throughout the 1990s & 2000s, Gordon, along with the late Boe Hyde, officiated the annual finals of the Totty Cup & Barlow-Salmons. Neither of them ever took a penny in payment. If a teacher ever asked them how much they charge, the standard reply was –
“It’s double what it was last year!”

As a pair, Boe & Gordon, are the only people to have played in AND refereed the prestigious Montagu Cup final.

Brian & Gordon (right) before a Totty Cup final at Swinton Communuity School

As a player, Gordon played at a professional level with Rotherham United & Barnsley. His Wikipedia page is, for some reason in German! The translation is pasted at the bottom of this page.

Locally, Gordon played for Northcliffe in the victorious Montagu Cup final of 1971 and then refereed the same final of 1990. Gordon went on to become the President of the Montagu Cup committee.

In 2023, for the centenary year of the Totty Cup, two new trophies were commissioned to honour Gordon & Boe. The Gordon Swann Cup is a bronze medal play-off for the beaten semi-finalists in the Totty Cup. The Boe Hyde Cup will be competed for by those schools knocked out in the early rounds of both the Totty Cup and the Barlow-Salmons.

Both trophies were old & unloved and they have been lovingly restored by local silversmith Bob Lamb. Like Boe & Gordon – Bob has not charged anything for his time, materials and expertise.

Gordon’s Football life: in his own words…

Roman Terrace 1948
My first involvement with football was as the captain of the newly formed Roman Terrace football team. We did play in the Totty Cup as I remember but without any success to report. We were not a match for the likes of Schofield Street, Swinton Bridge or Queen Street.

MGS – 1950-1955
I was successful in my 11-plus hence moved on to Mexborough Grammar School . I played throughout my 5 years there with a very good under-16 season ending by sharing the Yorkshire Daily Dispatch Shield or Cup with a team from Hull after a nil-nil draw away.

Mexborough Grammar School. Gordon – front row furthest right

Sheffield & Hallamshire Under-18s – 1957
Most of my team mates stayed on into the 6th form, hence I lost contact with them, which paused my football career for a few months. I suddenly came across them as they approached the Queens Foundry Ground where they were to trial for the S&H under 18’s representative side. I followed on intending to watch. Two teams of trialists were to play prior to selection. My ex-team mates were in the 1st team but were unfortunately a man short. I was easily coerced into making up the deficit . There was a problem because I had no kit, including boots. I was not easily put off and proceeded to play in long trousers and slip on shoes . I scored numerous goals which meant I had to retrieve my shoe on many occasions. I must have impressed the selectors as I was invited to play in a match against Barnsley the followng Saturday. This time I wore full kit, I scored but we were beaten 7-2.

Tom Hill YC – 1958
The plus to this unbelievable event was that I was now in touch with my former colleagues. I was invited to join them at Tom Hill YC to play in the under-18’s Mexborough League. We dominated all our opponents which culminated in us reaching 2 finals at Tickhill Square, Denaby. We played Wath (Bo Hyde was the goalkeeper) winning 8-6 then we beat Thurnscoe 13-1. I had my shooting boots on in both games as I netted 5 times in each match.

Tom Hill YC. Gordon – front row furthest right

Rotherham United – 1959-1961
Fortunately a top Rotherham scout was viewing who invited me to see Andie Smales, the Rotherham Manager. I duly obliged and became a part-time professional after serving one year in the lower teams. At the time, I was serving a 5 year apprenticeship with the NCB in Electrical Engineering. I slowly moved up in class making my 1st team debut at Stoke at the age of 21. Over the next two years I played maybe 15 games in the first team (2nd Division ) scoring once. I scored in a 2-2 draw against Bill Shankly’s Liverpool (wage £11) and also scored in a 1-0 win v Portsmouth (wage £13). I also scored twice in the Sheffield Senior Cup v Doncaster Rovers.

I had a free transfer to Barnsley to start the 1961/ 62 season . I played twice in the Barnsley colours (3rd Division). At this period in the game many players were put to pasture as Jimmy Hill won the case in the High Court to lift the restriction on players wages from the maximum of £20 to the situation today.

At this time Rotherham made the decision to drastically reduce playing staff hence my departure as well as many fringe players.

Barnsley – 1961-1962
Barnsley was not a good experience because the second team where I played most of the season were in the Central League opposed by Man.Utd, Man City, Newcastle, Everton etc.We were always outplayed hence finished in a relegation place. Not ideal for enhancing your status within the club.

Barnsley FC – Gordon is the furthest player to the left on the row standing on the floor.

Frickley – 1962/63
At the end of the season, I moved into non league football with Frickley. The pay was good but the experience was challenging . We played in the Cheshire League meaning long journeys to away games (Rhyl and Bangor) and still being expected to perform after 5/6 hours on a bus.

Heanor Town – 1963-1967
When Heanor Town approached me for the 1963/64 season I jumped at the chance. We played in the Midland League which included Denaby Utd and Grantham – who fielded George Jowett in their team pipped us to the Championship. My consolation was being selected for the Midland League select XI  to play against The Champions. I stayed for 3 and a half years during which time we won the Derbyshire Senior Cup 2-1 against Buxton (for the first time in the club’s history). I was pleased to contribute with one goal.

Sutton Town – 1967-1970
My next move took me to another Midland League Club namely Sutton Town. Once again I had to settle for runners-up in the league to Matlock. I was fortunate once again to be selected to represent the League in the annual match against the Champions. I finished my professional career at Sutton after 3 and a half years due to the club suffering cash flow problems – but not before we secured the Nottingham Senior Cup for the club beating Arnold 3-1. Again my contribution was one goal.

Sutton Town FC – Gordon front row, furthest right.

I have been privileged and lucky to have participated  for so long in a sport that I loved. 

Hope you enjoy the read.

This is Gordon’s Wikipedia page translated from German: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Swann

Swann completed an apprenticeship as a mine electrician at the Manvers Main Colliery north of Rotherham and won the long jump, high jump and over 200 yards events in May 1956 at a sporting event at the colliery.

Swann played for Rotherham United from 1956 at the latest in the “A” team, the third team, which was usually seen as a youth team. In April 1957 Swann played for the first time in the reserve team; in the first team he finally made his debut in November 1958 in the Second Division on the left wing in a 0-3 defeat by Stoke City. After two more defeats, he lost his place in the team again and had to wait until the following season. In the 1959/60 season, he replaced Keith Bambridge in a series of three appearances each in September and April, while the press attested to him on the occasion of a 3-2 away win at Leyton Orient “to have played around with the Orient defence”. Also in the 1960/61 season he came only sporadically to the team due to the great competition in the squad, when playing on the right wing he scored the goal in February 1961 against Portsmouth FC to win 1-0.

At the end of the season he was allowed a free transfer and Swann joined the 1961/62 season at the third division Barnsley FC, where he was intended as a replacement for Colin Brookes on left wing. While not included in his traditional winger position, he made two goalless appearances at center forward during the season, replacing Bert Tindill and Don Watson respectively.After a year at Barnsley, Swann switched to non-league football and joined {Frickley Athletic}, then Heanor Town in the Midland League. In the FA Cup 1963/64 Swann qualified with the team for the first round and worked there in the 1-3 defeat against Bradford Park Avenue. In 1966 he was runners-up in the Midland League with Heanor.

Gordon with Howard Webb

This is the match report for Gordon scoring against Liverpool

Credit: Graham Barnes