On Sunday, the BBC had an article on the oldest player currently playing in Japan, Kazuyoshi Miura, who featured for Yokohama at the ripe age of 53 last week.

This got me thinking about old Cardiff players, and the first name that came to mind was Stevey White White White and I assumed he might have been the oldest. But, I also had a nagging suspicion that Billy Hardy (one of Cardiff's 1927 heroes) was also quite old when he ended his playing days for Cardiff.


I did a bit of research, and found that Steve White was 39 when he played his last game for Cardiff, having signed the previous season at the age of 37. An educated guess made him the front-runner in the "oldest player for Cardiff" competition.

What about Billy Hardy? Well he had just turned 41 when he played the last of his 590 games for Cardiff in the 1931-32 season. He was once seen on a news reel in a Cardiff cinema in the 1920s and the audience cheered for 10 minutes and only stopped when the movie started. Cardiff had slumped to Division 3(S) by this stage, and were a shadow of the club that had appeared in 3 FA Cup Semi-finals, 2 FA Cup Finals, won one FA Cup and were Football League runners up in the previous decade.

It is fair to say I thought that I had probably found both the oldest player to make his Football League debut for Cardiff (Steve White) and the oldest player to play for Cardiff (Billy Hardy).

But, no, the oldest debutant and the oldest ever Cardiff player is Captain George Latham. Cardiff played Blackburn in the 1921-22 season, and two players withdrew late because of sickness. Cardiff had little option than to call on their "trainer" George Latham to play at the age of 41. It was the only time Latham played for Cardiff in the Football League, although he had appeared for Cardiff in their non-league days - usually filling in for injured players. He also played in Cardiff's first ever Welsh Cup triumph, against Pontypridd, in 1912, and generously gave his winner's medal to the injured player he deputised for.


Latham was born in Newtown, and played for Liverpool between 1902-1909. He fought in the Boer War and World War I and won the Military Cross.

Whilst at Cardiff, he arranged matches with Newtown (his hometown club) to raise money for a local hospital. Fittingly, Newtown named their ground Latham Park in his honour.

So, what about his Football League debut for Cardiff? Well, Cardiff easily won the game at Ewood Park on January 2nd 1922 3-1, in front of a crowd of 30,000. With the game won, the Cardiff players started deliberately hitting long balls for Latham to chase, much to the amusement of the Blackburn fans. At one stage, Latham simply sat on the ball waiting to catch his breath, whilst a Cardiff player stood behind him pretending to take golf swings.

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