Crawshawbooth, Lancashire born full back (he played both sides) Ernie Blackburn began his football career playing for Loveclough and Manchester Youth Club before the First World War, and joined First Division club Aston Villa after the War had finished in 1919, making his Football League debut at Sunderland in August of that year. A fringe player in the first two post war seasons, he played half of Villa’s matches in 1921-22 and made 33 appearances over three seasons at Villa Park before joining Second Division Bradford City in the summer of 1922.
He played a further 42 games for Bradford City over the next two seasons before he retired from playing in 1924 before beginning a long career in football management. He became manager of Accrington Stanley in October 1924, staying over seven years before joining Wrexham as manager in January 1932. He had five years at Wrexham before becoming manager of Hull City in January 1937, a position he held throughout the Second World War until January 1946. He then became manager of Tranmere Rovers in September 1946, a post he held until December 1955.