East Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon born goalkeeper Charlie Cotton started his football career with Southern League Sheppey United in 1897 before joining Reading in 1900. He joined West Ham United in the 1903 close season and started 1903-04 in Hammers’ goal making his debut at Millwall that September. He played nine games for West Ham before his differences with the club’s directors led to his transfer to Liverpool in December 1903, making his Football League debut against Nottingham Forest in early January 1904.
He made 13 League appearances in a season which was to end in relegation to the Second Division. Peter Platt had been first-choice ‘keeper at the start of that season but Cotton came into the side and kept his place until the Goodison derby on April Fools’ Day. Everton thrashed Liverpool 5-2 and even though Cotton had conceded just a goal on average in the 11 matches that preceded the Goodison humiliation, Platt was brought back for the last three matches of the season.
But neither man would represent the club again as Ned Doig was given the goalkeeper’s jersey at the start of 1904-05 when Cotton had returned to West Ham where he was their second string goalkeeper making 5 appearances per season over two more seasons at Upton Park before joining Southern League Southend United in the summer of 1906. Cotton started the 1909-10 season in goal for Southend but developed Bright’s disease, an infection in the kidneys, and died on 3rd January 1910.