Blackrod, Bolton born winger Arthur Cunliffe played junior football initially for Adlington in 1923 and then for Chorley in 1927 from whom he signed for Blackburn Rovers in January 1928, and he made his Football League debut against Manchester United in January 1930, scoring twice including the winner in a 5-4 thriller. Having established himself in the Blackburn team with 13 goals coming in his debut season, he was soon picked for England, winning 2 caps in October and November 1932 against Ireland and Wales.
In May 1933 Aston Villa swooped for Cunliffe and team mate Ronnie Dix, signing the pair for “a substantial fee”, Cunliffe having scored 55 goals in 140 games for Rovers. He immediately scored on his Villa debut in a win over Derby County in the final game of the season, and spent two and a half years at Villa scoring 13 goals in 75 games before Middlesbrough signed him for £3,000 in December 1935. But he failed to find a regular 1st team place at ‘Boro and in April 1937, after 6 goals in 31 games, he signed for Burnley. After a season and only 9 games at Turf Moor he signed for Hull City in June 1938 where he played 48 games scoring 21 goals before the intervention of World War Two in September 1939. After the War, he signed for Rochdale in August 1945 and played 32 games for ‘Dale, scoring 8 goals before retiring in July 1947, becoming their trainer.
He then became trainer of Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in July 1950 and was the club’s physiotherapist from 1971 until his retirement in the summer of 1974.
His cousin was Jimmy “Nat” Cunliffe who played for Everton and won one cap for England. They played together at Rochdale immediately after the War.