Allestree, Derbyshire born left back Sep Atterbury began his football career with South Wigston Albion in 1897 from where he joined Second Division Loughborough in March 1898, making his Football League debut at Barnsley in January 1899. He played only once more for Loughborough and had a brief spell with Kettering Town before joining Barnsley in July 1899, scoring once in 37 appearances in two seasons playing for The Tykes before joining Southern League Wellingborough in 1901.
He returned to Football League action with Leicester Fosse in August 1902 and made 22 appearances for The Fossils during a single season at Filbert Street, before a move to Southern League Swindon Town in the 1903 close season. He spent four seasons at The County Ground, scoring 4 goals in 122 appearances for The Robins before a move to Plymouth Argyle in May 1907, starting a 30-year association with Argyle. The club handbook for that season described him as “one of the sturdiest defenders in the south, being fast, daring and always a trier” and he became the first choice left back for most of the next eight seasons. An elegant player, he was renowned as a tall and strong full back, who formed excellent partnerships with his defensive colleagues.
With The Pilgrims he enjoyed significant success and was a key member of their teams that finished runners up in The Southern League in 1907-08 and 1911-12, then in their Championship winning team of 1912-13. He was then honoured, representing The Southern League in a match against The Irish League in a 1-1 draw at The Den in March 1913.
Already 34 years old when peacetime football was suspended due to the onset of The First World War in the summer of 1915, he returned to play for Leicester Fosse during the War as a wartime guest.
After the War he returned to Home Park and was still fit enough at 40 years old to play a major part in Plymouth’s first Football League season as club captain, playing in their inaugural League fixture against Norwich City in August 1920 and making 32 appearances during the 1920-21 campaign. He also continued to play regularly for the reserve side in the Southern League, his performances being of such quality that, despite his age, he was again selected to play for the Southern League representative side in 1921. In November of that year he was granted a benefit match by the board, and was permitted to retain the proceeds of a Southern League fixture against his former club, Swindon Town. Despite this being a second-team match, a crowd of 7,000 showed the regard in which Atterbury was held.
After 6 goals in 361 appearances for The Pilgrims, Atterbury retired as a player in the summer of 1921 to become assistant trainer and then trainer of Plymouth Argyle. He gained a reputation for what was at the time an unconventional approach to training, which focused on stamina-building, but was considered “a great success”. He served the club in this capacity until his retirement in 1937.