Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Cheshire born centre forward Robert Blanthorne began his football career with Rock Ferry in 1901 and joined Birkenhead in 1904, from where he joined First Division Liverpool in November 1905, finishing as top scorer of Liverpool’s reserves with 22 goals in the 1905-06 season. He netted another 17 goals in the following season before making his Football League debut against Bristol City in April 1907, playing once more against Middlesbrough four days later, both matches at Anfield ended in 4-2 defeats for The Reds. Blanthorne was criticised at Anfield because he lacked ‘speed and dash’.
He was transferred to Grimsby Town the following October, scoring twice on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Blackpool and finishing as by far and away Grimsby’s leading goalscorer in 1907-08 with 21 goals in 33 appearances. Blanthorne was involved in a ‘giant-killing’ in the FA Cup as Grimsby beat Bristol City 2-1 in a First Round replay, with Blanthorne getting on the scoresheet, then he scored 5 in a 6-2 FA Cup Second Round win over Carlisle United in February 1908, Grimsby running through to the quarter finals, where they were beaten by eventual runners up Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
He clearly did enough to impress Newcastle United, who signed Blanthorne for £350 in May 1908, but sadly he broke his leg in the opening game of the 1908-09 season against Bradford City on 2nd September in a collision with Bantams left back Fred Farren, which all but ended his career. He was out for a season and a half and having recovered his fitness with Newcastle’s reserves he joined North Eastern League club Hartlepools United in December 1910, scoring on his debut against Carlisle United in January 1911 and netting 3 goals in 6 appearances for The Monkey Hangers before retiring.