Hanham, Bristol born right half Cliff Britton started his football career at local teams Jennings Ltd in the Bristol Suburban League, Hanham Athletic in 1924, Hanham United Methodists and Bristol St George’s in 1925 before signing as an amateur with Third Division (South) Bristol Rovers in 1926, turning professional in the summer of 1928 and making his Football League debut that December against Swindon Town. After 53 games for The Pirates, recently relegated Second Division club Everton stepped in with a £1,600 cheque (with Rovers taking Arthur Attwood in part-exchange) in June 1930.
Britton played 10 times in his debut season as Everton won the Second Division Championship to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, and he was a regular in Everton’s line up from the following season. He won the FA Cup with Everton in 1933 when they beat Manchester City 3-0 at Wembley, and he was an ever present the following season for The Toffees. Dixie Dean said that Britton was the best crosser of the ball that he played with. Dean joked that Britton’s precision ensured that the laces on the ball were turned away when Dean had to head it. However having lost his place in April 1938 he played only once in Everton’s 1938-39 League Championship winning season, in a 0-0 draw with Preston North End at Goodison Park in April 1939, the last of 242 appearances over eight seasons, Britton scoring 3 goals for The Toffees.
Between 1934 and 1937 Britton also played nine times for England, making his international debut against Wales at Ninian Park in September 1934, with a rather better scoring ratio as he scored once against Hungary in a 6-2 win at Highbury in December 1936. He represented The Football League on 4 occasions and went on the FA Tour to South Africa in the summer of 1939. He also played 10 wartime internationals for England and played wartime club football for Aldershot, Doncaster Rovers and Liverpool as well as playing for Everton and he made representative appearances for The Army in 1943.
After the Second World War he had a considerable career as a football manager. He became manager of Burnley in October 1945 steering them to promotion from the Second Division in 1947 and to The FA Cup Final the same year where they lost narrowly to Charlton Athletic. He managed Everton from September 1948 to February 1956, Preston North End from August 1956 to April 1961 leading them to third place in the League Championship in 1957 at to runners up spot in 1958, and Hull City from July 1961 to November 1969, becoming General Manager thereafter until his retirement in 1971, winning the Third Division Championship with The Tigers in 1965-66.
His younger brother Frank Britton played with him at Bristol Rovers and also played for Blackburn Rovers, Oldham Athletic, Accrington Stanley and Aldershot.
NB in the photograph taken before an England wartime international Britton stands on the left with Stan Cullis (centre) and Joe Mercer (right).