When the Havelock Football Club, Moseley Football Club from 1874, was founded in October 1873 the majority of those early footballers, including Stephen Henry Deakin who they elected as their captain, were aged around nineteen.
Deakin had been born in 1854, in Hobart, Tasmania, where his Birmingham-born father was working as a land surveyor. The family moved to England when Stephen was five years old and settled in Herefordshire. Deakin moved to Birmingham in the early 1870s to work in the family jewellery firm, which became known as Deakin and Nephew.
It was presumably at the same time that he became associated with Havelock Cricket Club and later the football club. He captained the football club for four seasons but little else is known about his rugby career other than that he was a goal-kicking forward.
He seems to have stopped playing around 1877 when he was 23-years old probably to concentrate on his business career. In 1881 Deakin went into partnership with his brother-in-law, J.H. Francis, to form the firm of Deakin and Francis. Francis made at least one appearance for the club’s second team. Deakin and Francis is still in existence in the Jewellery Quarter and specialises in cufflinks.
S.H. Deakin did not turn his back on the club completely as he served as president from 1894/95 to 1896/97. The first season of his presidency was also the first year of the great J.F. Byrne’s captaincy of the club.
S.H. Deakin’s eldest son, Francis Henry, was born in 1886 and like his grandfather went into the property business. Francis played for Moseley in the period immediately prior to the Great War and like his father was a forward. He was also selected to play for the Midland Counties.
F.H. Deakin served as club captain from 1912/13 to 1913/14 during which time Moseley were involved in a controversial Midland Counties Challenge Cup final. The game was against old rivals Coventry in 1914 and Coventry ‘won’ the match 13-0. The final was, however, declared null and void because Coventry had played two men not on the list of players that they had submitted and because Moseley had been late submitting their list.
In 1914 F.H. Deakin played twice for the Barbarians against Penarth and against Cheltenham.
During the First World War F.H. Deakin served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and while serving on the Western Front, in 1915, he played in a match between the 4th Division and the 48th Division. Deakin played for the latter side, which also included the famous England international Ronnie Poulton-Palmer in what proved to be his last game before he was killed. The Irish international Basil Maclear who was also killed a few weeks later refereed the match. Deakin was himself wounded later in the war.
Following the war F.H. Deakin was instrumental in helping the club captain Howard Hill re-establish Moseley following the inactivity of the war years and one of the club’s worst periods of results immediately after hostilities ceased.
F.H. Deakin was honoured with the presidency of the club from 1947/48 to 1950/51 and when Moseley Football Club celebrated its centenary in 1973/74 he was still associated with the club. The Deakin family could therefore claim to have been associated with the club throughout its history.
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