Jack Taylor is handed the Harrogate & District League Three Cup.

Johnny Poulter

Years Active:

1957-1971

Position:

Defence/Striker

Appearances:

148 (verified)

Goals:

94 (verified)

Johnny Poulter (pictured during the 1964-1965 season)

A question often asked is "Who is the all-time leading goalscorer for the club?" Records are incomplete at present to offer a definitive answer, but one player who will be up there is John Charles Poulter.

John (or Johnny as he was known) lived up to the adage of "if you're good enough, you're old enough!' making his debut at 16 in December 1957, and soon he was attracting attention as the carton below shows.

It is not clear how Johnny came to Rangers as his name doesn't appear in any of the junior teams when mentioned, however former teammate and friend Allan Honeyman may have the answer. 'Johnny worked straight from school at Teasdale & Metcalfes (where Cameron Beaumont now stands) under the management of Gordon Wighton who was a right-back at Rangers' and also the club's secretary for many years.'

Kirk Deighton Rangers 1955/1956

Johnny Poulter is shown in a cartoon from the local paper (click on image for larger picture)

With several experienced players returning from injury, Johnny found opportunities limited but did feature in a handful of matches during the 1957-1958 season.

This pattern continued over the next couple of seasons, but his stock increased with success in the reserves, and it came as little surprise when he became a permanent fixture in the first-team during the 1959-1960 season.

Johnny's first senior goal came against Christ Church Old Boy's on the 23rd January 1960 as Deighton won 6-1, and he followed this up a month later with the opener as Rangers beat Wetherby Athletic Reserves 6-1 on the 27th February.

It didn't take long for Johnny to make his mark as a regular goalscorer, and he even celebrated his engagement to his future wife Connie with a five-goal haul against Pool St. Wilfrid's in another 6-1 win on the 31st December 1960!

Headlines in the local press mounted up with some of the more noticeable ones being "Poulter's Three Put Deighton Through.', 'Hat-Trick For Poulter', 'Poulter Hat-Trick Helps Rangers In Promotion Bid.' However, probably the most impressive one occurred following the match against Grafton on the 24th November 1963 when the Wetherby, Tadcaster and Boston Spa News announced 'J. Poulter Hits Grafton For Six!" as Rangers crushed Grafton 8-3!

Other accolades soon followed such as scoring after just twenty seconds in a 2-0 win against The Army Apprentice School and also captaining the side for the first time against Old Ceres in 1963, although Ceres spoilt the occasion by winning 2-1!

Kirk Deighton Rangers 1955-1956

Johnny Poulter (3rd from left, top row) with his Rangers teammates that won the Div 3 South Division (1958/1959) (Click on image for larger view)

As the goals continued, Johnny, who was described by Allan Honeyman as '...very tall, a good centre-forward, and a very pleasant man.' it wasn't much of a surprise when Wetherby Athletic offered him a chance to prove himself in the top flight of the Harrogate and District League at the start of the 1965-1966 season.

While he managed some impressive stats at Wetherby, he couldn't quite reach the heights he had at Deighton, and we welcomed him back in November 1966.

Over the next five seasons, Johnny found himself playing either as a centre-back or centre-forward, but no matter which position he filled, he always gave his all.

Johnny's final performance for Deighton appears to have come against Tockwith at home on the 4th December 1971, and he finished with at least 148 appearances and 94 goals, but with gaps in the data, these two totals could be a lot higher.

Sadly, we have recently learnt that John passed away during September 2020, and we send our condolences and sympathies to Connie and his family.

A gentle giant well respected by all his teammates, it is a fitting tribute that he sits amongst the leaders of our all-time leading goalscorers.

Cartoon and picture of Johnny courtesy of The Wetherby, Tadcaster & Boston Spa News.
Team photo courtesy of Allan & Audrey Honeyman.

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