Cudworth, near Barnsley born left back Ernie Blenkinsop played for Brierley Colliery in 1918 and Cudworth United Methodists in 1919 after the First World War before joining Second Division Hull City for £100 and a barrel of beer (80 pints) in October 1921, making his Football League debut that December at Rotherham County, and playing 11 times for Hull City over the next year before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in January 1923 for £1,150.
At Wednesday he went on to play 424 games scoring 5 goals in an 11 year spell, missing one game as they won the Second Division Championship in 1925-26, winning back to back League Championships with The Owls in 1929 and 1930, becoming an Owls club legend and one of the best left backs England has ever produced. He played in Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the Charity Shield at Stamford Bridge in October 1930.
He won the first of 26 England caps over five years, captaining his country 4 times, against France in Paris in May 1928. also set a record whilst playing for his country, all of his caps came in consecutive England fixtures; they played a total of 26 matches between 17th May 1928 and 1st April 1933 (his final cap coming in a defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park), with Blenkinsop appearing in them all. This record was subsequently beaten by Roger Byrne who appeared in 33 consecutive England games from his debut to shortly before his death in the Munich Air Disaster in February 1958. However, Blenkinsop remains in second place. He also represented The Football League on 8 occasions.
In March 1934 he was transferred to Liverpool for £6,500 where he played 71 games in an injury plagued spell at Anfield, where he shared the club captaincy with England colleague Tom Cooper. During a 2-1 victory over Derby County on 24th November 1935, he suffered a serious cartilage injury that was believed to have been career threatening at the time. After undergoing surgery, he returned to fitness and kept his place as club captain for the 1935-36 season.
After retaining his captaincy for the 1936-37 season, Blenkinsop suffered another serious cartilage injury in a Merseyside derby against Everton that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. At the end of the season, a clause was added to his contract that stipulated that if he was not a regular in Liverpool’s first team at the end of September 1937, he would be free to leave the club. Having appeared in only two matches in the opening months of the 1937-38 season after being displaced by Benjamin Dabbs, he was placed on the transfer list by mutual consent.
In November 1937 he joined Cardiff City where he played 10 games. At the end of the season, he retired from playing but took up a coaching role with the club before leaving a year later following the appointment of Cyril Spiers as manager, returning north to join non league Buxton in 1939, also playing for Hurst. He also played for Halifax, Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue as a wartime guest during the Second World War.
NB This photograph was taken on 1st April 1933 on the occasion of Blenkinsop’s last England cap, against Scotland at Hampden Park. Blenkinsop was the captain of the England team.