Tunstall, Staffordshire born left back Eli Fletcher first joined Crewe Alexandra (at that time in the Birmingham & District League) in 1905 as an 18 year old but he left to join Northwich Victoria in 1906, rejoining Crewe in 1909 via spells at Goldenhill Wanderers in 1907 and Hanley Swifts in 1908. His debut in senior football came in January 1911, as Crewe shocked First Division club Bristol City in a First Round proper tie at Ashton Gate, winning 3-0. His performances at Gresty Road were impressive enough to bring him to First Division club Manchester City’s attention, signing for them for £300 in May 1911 and making his Football League debut at Newcastle United in September 1911.
Fletcher soon established himself as a regular first team performer, missing only a handful of matches in the four seasons before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915, and he played for Manchester City both sides of the War, during which he appeared for Port Vale as a guest in a 5-2 win over Manchester United in a Lancashire Regional section, Subsidiary Tournament match on 28th April 1917; he also played for the club as a guest in April 1919, as well as playing for Scottish League club Clydebank on loan in 1918.
After the War he was a regular in Manchester City’s team that finished as runners up in the League Championship in 1920-21 and developed “a reputation as a sound, reliable defender whose judgement in falling back has often stood his side in good stead when hard pressed”. He was also part of City’s 1924 FA Cup semi final team that lost to eventual winners Newcastle United at St Andrews, Birmingham, and remained a regular in City’s line-up until April 1925.
By the time of his last City appearance in October 1925, he had scored twice in 326 appearances for The Citizens and in June 1926 he moved to Third Division (South) club Watford on a free transfer, scoring once in 25 appearances for The Hornets before joining non league Sandbach Ramblers in August 1927, and he finally played in the Irish League for Ards in 1928 before his retirement. He later became a coach at Manchester City.