Tom 'Pongo' Waring

Thomas (Tom) 'Pongo' Waring (12 October 1906 – 20 December 1980) was an English footballer. Nicknamed 'Pongo' after a famous cartoon of the time, Waring is one of Aston Villa's all-time great centre-forwards. In his career, he scored 243 league goals in 363 matches over 12 seasons for 5 different clubs.


He signed for Tranmere Rovers in 1926, scored 6 of the 11 goals scored against Durham City. He moved to Aston Villa for £4,700 in 1928. As well as playing football, Waring also worked for The Hercules Motor and Cycle Company in Aston.

Aston Villa

A crowd of 23,000 saw him play on his Villa debut in a reserve game against local rivals Birmingham, in which he scored a hat-trick.

His 226 appearances for Villa yielded 167 goals, including 10 hat-tricks and a club record 49 league goals in the 1930-31 season, 50 goals in all competitions. He is considered an Aston Villa legend, a reputation buoyed by his likeable personality as discussed by Villa's captain of the day, Billy Walker. In Walker's autobiography, he wrote:

There were no rules for Pongo. Nobody knew what time he would turn up for training—ten o'clock, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, it made no odds. Nobody on the staff could do anything with him although I think I can claim, as the captain in his days, to be the only person able to handle him. He was a funny lad indeed. We started the weeks training on Tuesday mornings and every Tuesday he followed a habit which he could never break. He would go round all the refreshment bars on the ground and finish off the lemonade left in the bottles! Then he would start a little of his training—but that seldom lasted very long.

Later clubs

In November 1935, Waring went to Barnsley, angering many Villa fans and prompting 5,000 of them to call for his return to the club. After a spell at Barnsley, Waring also played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tranmere, Accrington Stanley, Bath City, Ellesmere Port Town, Graysons F.C., Birkenhead Dockers and Harrowby. Finally, he guested for New Brighton in 1939–40.

International career

Waring was also capped five times by England.


He died in December 1980 at the age of 74.

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