Preston, Lancashire born goalkeeper Herbert Crossthwaite started playing football for Preston Post Office in 1904 and joined hometown professional club Preston North End in 1905 spending 1905-06 on the club’s books without making a first team appearance. He moved on to Second Division Blackpool in the summer of 1906 where he was understudy to Tom Wilcox and made his Football League debut, and one and only appearance for The Seasiders, at Gainsborough Trinity in September 1906, before joining Fulham in 1907.
He made only 2 appearances for The Cottagers in 1907-08 as understudy to Leslie Skene, and spent two seasons at Craven Cottage before joining Southern League Exeter City in the 1909 close season. Described as being ‘an all-round athlete of powerful build’ on signing for The Grecians, he was first choice glovesman and only missed one League fixture during the 1909-10 season, having made his debut against West Ham United at Upton Park.
After 41 appearances over single season in Devon he joined Birmingham in the summer of 1910, and while initially understudy to Horace Bailey playing not at all in 1910-11 and only 4 times in 1911-12, he broke through in November 1912 playing 28 times as Birmingham finished 3rd in the Second Division. However in 1913-14 he shared glove duties with Stan Hauser making only 17 more appearances, and with the emergence of 18 year old future Scotland goalkeeper Willie Robb at St Andrews Crossthwaite was deemed surplus to requirements, he left the club after 49 appearances and ended his professional football career on the books at Stoke City after the First World War, but didn’t feature in their first team.