Blidworth, Nottinghamshire born inside forward Ernie “Tim” Coleman started playing football for Hucknall Colliery in 1925 and spent time at Nottingham Forest in 1925-26 without featuring in their first team before joining Halifax Town in July 1926, making his Football League debut against Rochdale on New Year’s Day 1927 scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory. He scored 16 goals in 50 appearances for The Shaymen, enough to catch the attention of Second Division Grimsby Town, who signed him for £1,250 in February 1929. In just eight appearances in the 1928-29 season he scored seven times, including goals in each of his first three matches, helping Grimsby reach the First Division as Second Division runners up.
Coleman remained at Grimsby for the next three seasons, and was Grimsby’s top scorer in 1930-31 and 1931-32 with 36 goals (including four against Leicester City and hat-tricks against West Ham, Birmingham and Blackpool) and 13 goals respectively, and in March 1932 Coleman was signed by Arsenal’s legendary manager Herbert Chapman for £5,000 plus Billy Seddon, to join the reigning League Champions, having made 94 appearances for Grimsby, scoring 58 goals.
In 1932-33 he bagged 29 goals for Arsenal as Arsenal won the League Championship, being only behind only Cliff Bastin in the scoring charts, including 5 goals in The FA Charity Shield match against The Corinthians and hat-tricks against Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers. But Ted Drake’s signing led him to join Middlesbrough for £4,000 in August 1934 having played 12 times in Arsenal’s 1933-34 successful League Championship title defence, after scoring 31 goals in 48 appearances for The Gunners.
He stayed two and a half years at ‘Boro scoring 21 goals in 90 appearances for the Ayresome Park club before joining Norwich City in February 1937. His spell in East Anglia saw him top score in 1937-38 with 15 goals but he returned north in 1939 to join non league Linby Colliery before the Second World War intervened in the football programme, subsequently becoming their manager. He left Linby to manage Notts County where he had three spells as manager, initially from July to October 1958, then from October 1961 to June 1963, and finally from April to December 1965.
NB although by the time the photograph was published in 1932, Coleman was an Arsenal player, it clearly shows him wearing a Grimsby Town striped shirt.