Although generally not a reliable source of reference, his Wikipedia profile presents the only known record covering a fuller sporting history. Based on rarer unseen fan archives or privately held family memorabilia can only assume proof comes from unknown descendants. While still largely reflecting their given story, this updated profile seeks copies of any related evidential support while adding general Huthwaite research.
The son of a mining family, Arthur Betts was born in Huthwaite on 17th May 1917. Leaving school at age 14 to start work in the New Hucknall Colliery lamp cabin is same year his talents on the football field attracted wider recognition. Joining Sutton and District boys in their under 15s team, they claimed the 1931 Cobbin Cup beating Nottingham on Sutton Junction ground in a Nottinghamshire Schools Football Association.
When reaching 15 years of age, Arthur Betts entered the amateur football leagues playing for the Hucknall Colts FC youth team. Perhaps still gaining confidence he keenly added Ashfield District youth appearances by playing in some matches for Sutton Junction FC, while suggestions of his first season trials with third division Mansfield Town Football Club offers no indication yet that he could achieve a professional career.
A change of employment can reveal A Betts relisted among the players representing a Huthwaite CWS hosiery factory team. A gallery of photographs covering that CWS Football Club may well include Arthur, although few faces are recognised by name so far. Finding him relisted for their 1935 season is when the club decided to join the Erewash League, indicating he must have joined the previous seasons team when still members of the Sutton and Skegby League. But those years coincide with far broader interests, and a claimed signing for Birmingham City FC allegedly resulted in him playing amateur matches for their A team. Attracting similar attention from Sheffield United FC claims Betts made at least one amateur A team match performance for them, playing against Bradford City in 1935.
Some four years after trials with Mansfield Town FC, manager Harold Wightman offered 19 year old Arthur a professional contract with them in 1936. Betts however decided to refuse the deal, mainly because it now involved risk of leaving content and secure fulltime employment sportingly held at the CWS hosiery factory.
It actually turned out a few months after, Wightman himself ended up moving clubs when accepting the new role of manager offered by Nottingham Forest. He was then able to afford another contract, this time with a Division Two side. Thus, in September 1936, he did sign up Arthur Betts to start his promising professional career as a footballer for Nottingham Forest FC.
Betts made his professional debut with Forest against Bradford City on 28th December 1936. Often wearing a number 7 red shirt, he played a forward position of Winger in goal striking range. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury sustained in a match against Coventry City on 28th January 1939 brought a swift end to not only regular home and away attendances, but also dramatically foreshortened a rewarding future career.
rupture to the internal lateral ligament of the right knee requiring major surgery and long term convalescence, doctors couldn't give any hope of ever playing again. Betts finally received £350 in 1941 as compensation from the leagues insurers. Leaving fans with some memorabilia like his above autograph found on ebay, plus a statistical record of 10 goals from 68 league appearances spanning the same 3 years lasted by this clubs first appointed manager.
Injury may well have kept him away from World War Two. But personal determination would drive Betts into regaining match fitness filling lifelong passion. Meantime however, he needed to earn a living. Returning to the Huthwaite Co-operative Whole Sale factory working as a knitter filled a reserved occupation, plus a uniform for voluntary Huthwaite Home Guard Platoons. Names penned onto the back of a 1941 CWS group photo identify this proud fellow as the Mr A Betts, third from left on back row.
Better remembered for excelling at football, Betts also proved adept around the local cricket fields. A highly competent all rounder able to afford expensive physiotherapy helped pushed pursuit into that slightly less strenuous sport, surprisingly not yet truly identified among a gallery of CWS team photographs. They entertained the public with cricket and football matches arranged as a war time distraction, actively making eventually a miraculous recovery.
A Forest official noticed Betts had regained good fitness during a cricket game. So much so, he was invited back to the Football ground to play in several reserve team matches. Some 5 years after his last first class match, he joined their first team for a war time 1944 game verses Chesterfield FC. This promising chance of returning to full time league football with Notts Forest was however quashed by league rules. Although willing to repay all compensation, the league forbid any return following acceptance of an insurance payout.
After the war and his CWS factory work ended, Arthur Betts gained Huthwaite employment again at the New Hucknall Colliery. Working as a payroll officer and part time groundsman kept touch with their sport ground while supporting an unrecognised wife and family up to his untimely death aged 61 dated15th June 1978. Arthur Betts could also be remembered for founding a New Hucknall Colliery Boys Club, after committing over 23 years serving roles of treasurer, secretary, coach and trainer for youthful football and cricket teams.
Written 22 Nov 13 Revised 25 Nov 13 © by Gary Elliott