SPENCER LISTER (1897-1898)

Did you know that a Watford player was awarded a knighthood?

(If you’re thinking it can’t have been for football, you’re correct.)

Spencer Lister joined Watford FC in 1897/98 when we were still known as West Herts.

He was 21 and played on the left wing.

He made twelve appearances and scored three goals. Then Spencer left the club.

He pursued a medical career and qualified as a doctor in 1905. He emigrated to South Africa and developed an interest in bacteriological diseases. He developed vaccines for pneumonia.

Meanwhile, Watford FC were improving.

When football resumed after the first world war, in 1919/20, we were Southern League runners-up, narrowly missing out on the medals. 

Spencer Lister, though, improved on that.

In 1921 he was awarded a gold medal by the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. 

But that wasn’t his most notable honour.

By then he had already been knighted for his work on pneumonia. He received the star and cross as Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (the sixth highest order in the British honours system).

He was now Sir Spencer Lister.

In 1926, Sir Spencer was appointed honorary professor of pathology and bacteriology at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He died in Johannesburg in 1939, and was buried there.

Sir Spencer now resides in Hornet Heaven. In the Watford afterlife paradise, he’s great pals with his old team-mates.

Up there, they call him ‘the Professor’ (as footballers do when they play with someone a bit brainy). 

Unlike Steve Palmer and Almen Abdi, though, Sir Spencer Lister actually was one.

Thanks for reading.

As a wise and serious man, Sir Spencer has so far kept himself out of the Hornet Heaven audio stories due to their frequent frivolity. 

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