Tom Hynds (centre-half) 1907-08
The signing of the highly regarded Scottish centre-half Tom Hynds in 1907 was a real feather in the cap for Leeds City. The Scot was widely regarded as a quality pivot, having seen service at the highest level with a number of major clubs.
Born in Hurlford, Ayrshire, on 5 November 1880, Hynds played for Hurlford Thistle before being signed by Celtic in February 1898. He made his first competitive start for the Glasgow club in the Charity Cup final against Rangers on 7 May. Celtic lost 2-0, but Hynds had done enough to be given a significant amount of action in the season that followed, 1898-99.
However, when Celtic signed former Blackburn centre-half and future Scotland captain Harry Marshall from Hearts in 1899, it spelled the end for Hynds with the Hoops. He dropped out of contention and was forced to switch to right-half when he did play, though he did appear for the Scottish League against the Irish League in February 1901. He had a number of spells out on loan, to Bolton in March 1899, Clyde in October 1899 and Manchester City in October 1901.
Hynds made a success of his initial stay at City and the move was made permanent in September 1902, launching a productive four-year spell with the club that brought 158 League and 14 Cup appearances. There was speculation that he was paid even more highly than City's star player Billy Meredith, such was his value to the club.
Hynds' brother John also had a period with Manchester City, but never made it beyond the reserves.
With Hynds at the heart of the side, City won the Second Division title in 1903 and the FA Cup the following season, when a goal from Meredith was enough to beat Bolton in the Crystal Palace final. City were also in contention for the League title that year and had to go straight to Liverpool for their final fixture two days later at Everton. They lost 1-0, leaving Sheffield Wednesday (then just The Wednesday) as champions.
Hynds had a formidable reputation as a centre-half and came close to Scottish honours while with City, playing for an Anglo Scots representative side against the Home Scots in a trial match in 1905.
His career in Manchester was brought to an unusual end when City were engulfed in an illegal payments scandal. There was intense speculation about City's meteoric rise from obscurity over the previous few seasons and in the summer of 1904 the FA decided to conduct an investigation into the way that the club was run. They could only identify a few minor irregularities and no case was brought against City.
The matter was not over, however. The Spartacus Educational website: "The following season Manchester City again challenged for the championship. City needed to beat Aston Villa on the final day of the season. Sandy Turnbull gave Alec Leake, the Villa captain, a torrid time during the game. Leake threw some mud at him and he responded with a two-fingered gesture. Leake then punched Turnbull. According to some journalists, at the end of the game, Turnbull was dragged into the Villa dressing room and beaten up. Villa won the game 3-1 and Manchester City finished third.
"After the game Alec Leake claimed that Billy Meredith had offered him £10 to throw the game. Meredith was found guilty of this offence by the Football Association and was fined and suspended from playing football for a year. Manchester City refused to provide financial help for Meredith and so he decided to go public about what really was going on at the club: 'What was the secret of the success of the Manchester City team? In my opinion, the fact that the club put aside the rule that no player should receive more than four pounds a week ... The team delivered the goods, the club paid for the goods delivered and both sides were satisfied.'
"The Football Association was now forced to carry out another investigation into the financial activities of Manchester City. Tom Maley was interviewed and he admitted that he had followed what seemed like standard English practice by making additional payments to all their players. He claimed that if all First Division clubs were investigated, not four would come out 'scatheless'.
"As a result of their investigation, the Football Association suspended Tom Maley from football for life. Seventeen players were fined and suspended until January 1907. As Gary James pointed out in Manchester City: The Complete Record: 'Basically, the entire squad that had finished as FA Cup-winners in 1904 and narrowly missed out on the championship two years running were banned. This brought a premature end to City's first golden age.'
"Journalists were aware that virtually every club in the Football League was making illegal payments to its players. Football writers based in Manchester argued that the club, being a northern side, were being made an example of, and thousands of people complained to the Football Association, but it refused to reduce the bans and fines."
When Harry Newbould was appointed new City manager in July 1906, he consequently had only eleven players available to him.
Hynds was implicated in the scandal and in June 1906 was banned from the game for six months and fined £75. He was transferred to Woolwich Arsenal in December 1906 while still under suspension. He was only with the Gunners for five months, playing 13 League and 4 Cup matches as they reached the Cup semi final.
He signed for Leeds City in May 1907 and was appointed club captain. He was an immense talent at the heart of the Peacocks team though he was often criticised for lack of pace.
In their second game of the season, a 2-2 draw at Leicester Fosse, Wanderer reported in the Mercury: "Tom Hynds was undoubtedly the pick. The manner in which he engineered the ball and placed it was exceedingly clever, and it is no exaggeration to say that he was the mainstay of the team. As a captain, too, he was exceedingly useful, and kept his men together cleverly." Days later, Flaneur wrote in the same paper, "Hynds, if somewhat slow, showed sound judgement. He rarely made a weak pass, and he kept his passes going throughout the game. His experience of high class football should be invaluable to the City this season." A few weeks later, from the same writer: "Hynds was his usual cool and steady self at centre-half. He does not seek trouble by adopting vigorous methods; he is not often in at a charge, but he invariably does the right thing with the ball, and he inspires confidence in his colleagues. With a less brainy player than Tom Hynds at centre-half Leeds City would hardly be able to claim so good a home record."
Hynds missed just one game as City ended the campaign twelfth, and he earned a host of good reviews. But after the board declined to renew the contract of secretary-manager Gilbert Gillies, the centre-half chose to depart Elland Road in May 1908 to join Hearts in Scotland.
Strangely, Hynds only played four games for the Edinburgh club over the two seasons that followed and in 1910 he joined Ladysmith FC in British Columbia, Canada.
He returned to Scotland in January 1913 to play for Musselburgh and then played in America for a while in 1914, though he had to retire because of sciatica. He later coached overseas, working in Canada and Italy.