Hearts in 50 objects. No.36 – Tommy Walker comes home

Tommy Walker rejoined Hearts in 1948
Tommy Walker rejoined Hearts in 1948
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Originally growing up dreaming of life as a clergyman, Tommy Walker’s footballing skills caught the attention of Scotland Schoolboys and, later on, junior side Linlithgow Rose where he spent a season on loan after unofficially joining Hearts in 1932.

A talented winger with a reputation for gentlemanly conduct and an unbreakable spirit, Walker quickly become a firm favourite at Tynecastle when he was finally registered as a player in 1933 at the age of just 17. By the end of the season, Walker was a regular starter and, by 1935, had been the subject of what was then a world-record bid for his services from Arsenal. £12,000 was deemed not enough for the youngster and, twinned with the threat of a Hearts fans’ boycott, the Tynecastle board rejected the bid.

Walker’s career was interrupted by World War Two, which saw his peak years in the game taken away from him. By 1946, he had scored a remarkable 192 goals in only six seasons at the top of the game and remains one of the greatest Scottish players never to win a league title.

In September 1946, Walker was purchased by Chelsea, going on to score 24 goals in 103 appearances.

This certificate marks his return to Hearts in 1948 as player-assistant to Davie McLean.

In 1951, Walker became manager and led the club through the most successful spell in its history, claiming two league titles, four League Cups and a famous Scottish Cup win in 1956.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum