• from The Villa News and Record, November 7, 1936
New players are steadily being added to our strength, and there is a general confidence that in the young players on our roll there is much talent that the exercises and training which are sedulously carried from day to day will develop. The choice of young players demands judgment of a peculiar kind, and to decide for or against a youngster on trial is not by any means to be settled by one view. It will perhaps astonish many to know that more than a hundred young players have been under the critcial eye in practice matches so far this season – and there are as many more yet to be viewed.
The death has taken place in the Norfolk and Norwich Hosptal, as a result of injuries received in a motor accident, of Mr Thomas Pank, an old Aston Villa player, and a vice-president of the club.
Mr Pank, who resided at Edgewood, West Runton, near Cromer, was driving a motor car, in which were his wife, his daughter and grand-daughter, near Norwich, last week, when he came into collision at cross roads with a motoromnibus. All four were injured, and Mr Pank, his wife and grandchild were detained in hospital. His wife is very seriously ill.
Mr Pank, who was elected a vice-president of the Aston Villa Footbal Club in 1924, was one of the players at Wellington Road. He joined the club in 1875, and was a playing member until 1882. His position was centre half-back, and he was a contemporary with Copley, H. Simmonds, E. B. Lee, Sam Law, W. Watts, W. Crossland, Archie Hunter, Arthur Brown, Howard Vaughton, and Eli Davis. Indeed, he and they formed the usual eleven in 1881. He was a fine half-back, his great speed standing him in good stead. He was frequently chosen as a member of the Birmingham Association teams in their matches with London, Lancashire and other associations.
He was a magnificent sprnter – one of the best in the Midlands in his day – and there was alwas keen rivalry between him and Mr C. S. Johnstone who is also a vice-president of the club. He won his first race at the St George’s Sports, Perry Barr, in 1976, and next season was on the scratch mark. He was credited with having done even time in the 200 yards. From 100 to 300 yards were his best distances.He frequently ran at the old Aston Lower Grounds.
Mr Pank, who was 70 years of age, was present at the annual meeting of the club last month, and at the subsequent supper given by the directors to the President, Mr P. J. Hannon MP, he responded to the toast of “The Vice Presidents.” He was formerly employed at Tangye’s, but on the death of his father many years ago went to live in East Anglia. He was an enthusiastic bowler, and it was said that he was returning from a bowling match when he met with his accident.