Unrelated to Blackburn Rovers team mate Jack Bruton, Foleshill, Coventry born centre forward Les Bruton began his football career with Bell Green Wesleyans after the First World War and played for Foleshill in 1920 from where he joined the books of Coventry City, spending 1920-21 at Highfield Road without making their first eleven. After a trial at West Bromwich Albion he joined Northamptonshire League club Peterborough & Fletton United from where he was signed by Second Division club Southampton for £15 in November 1922, making his Football League debut against Bristol City that October. He played 5 matches for the first team that month deputising for Arthur Dominy but returned to the reserves until getting two further first team games in March 1926, after which he was released and returned to now Southern League club Peterborough & Fletton United over the summer.
Bruton joined Scottish League club Raith Rovers in November 1927 and it was while in Scotland that he came to the notice of First Division club Blackburn Rovers who signed him for a fee of £10,000 in May 1929. In his first season at Ewood Park, Bruton took over from Clarrie Bourton at centre forward, making 12 League appearances, scoring five goals. The following season Bruton scored 23 goals from 28 appearances, making him Rovers’ top scorer, just above namesake Jack Bruton on 20. This included a hat-trick in a win over Huddersfield Town in November 1929. Bruton also made an important contribution to Rovers’ run in the FA Cup, scoring five goals including a hat-trick in the Fourth Round victory over Bristol Rovers.
However Bruton lost his regular place at centre forward to Ernie Thompson early the following season and made only two further appearances in September before a move to Liverpool in February 1932, having scored 28 goals in 42 appearances for Blackburn Rovers. His debut for The Reds came away to West Ham United in a 1-0 defeat and he also played in the FA Cup defeat to Chelsea a week later at Anfield. Bruton made 6 further appearances the following season with his only goal for the club being at Chelsea on 27th December 1932. At the age of thirty he moved to amateur side Leamington Town in the Birmingham Combination League in July 1933, his last recorded club.
NB the photograph was taken before Blackburn’s match with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 19th September 1931, a match Rovers lost 4-1.