Albert “Bert” Hodgkinson was born at Pembroke Dock in South Wales, but grew up in Derbyshire, playing for Old Normanton in 1900 and Hinckley Town from 1901. His first professional club was Derby County whom he joined in May 1903 but didn’t play for their first eleven, before he joined Second Division Grimsby Town in October the same year, making his Football League debut at Bristol City the next month. After a season at Blundell Park, in which he made 17 appearances, scoring 5 goals, Hodgkinson moved in May 1904 to Devon, where he joined Plymouth Argyle of the Southern League and by mid-season had forced his way into the team at outside left, a position he kept for the remainder of the campaign. Despite this he moved on after just one year with Argyle, signing for Leicester Fosse in May 1905, with £50 paid to Grimsby who still held his Football League registration. He stayed a single season with The Fossils, scoring 5 goals in 34 appearances, before a spell with Bury in the First Division from June 1906, joining them for £165, where he scored 3 goals in 17 appearances.
In May 1907, Hodgkinson returned to the Southern League when he joined Southampton, along with his Bury team-mate John Johnston. Described by Southampton historians, Holley and Chalk, as “a consistent performer with all his previous clubs”, Hodgkinson was “still developing as a dashing outside-left” when he came to Southampton. He made his debut for The Saints on 7th September 1907, when he scored in a 3-2 defeat at home to Crystal Palace. He soon formed useful partnerships with his fellow Welsh forward John Lewis and with George Smith, going on to make 29 appearances in 1907-08, scoring nine goals as Southampton finished the League season in mid-table. He also played in all six FA Cup matches as Saints reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual Cup winners Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge.
Hodgkinson is described by Holley & Chalk as “a mercurial player, who would suddenly achieve the sensational only to, just as suddenly, disappear from prominence; he also rarely did what his opponents expected of him.” His reputation grew during his time at The Dell and on 11th April 1908, he played for Wales against Ireland at the Athletic Ground, Aberdare in a 1-0 victory for the Irish, his only cap for his country.
He continued with The Saints for another season, at the end of which the club finished in third place, with Hodgkinson scoring 11 goals, just behind his fellow forwards Frank Costello on 13 and Arthur Hughes on 15. In August 1909, Hodgkinson joined Croydon Common after 18 goals in 57 appearances, and at Croydon he scored 6 times in 40 appearances in his single season stay. He joined Southend United in March 1911 and scored twice in 10 appearances for them, before joining non league Ilkeston United that November where he ended his playing career.
Hodgkinson’s brother Bill was a centre-forward with Derby County who played 16 matches, scoring nine goals in the Football League First Division in 1903-04 and also had a spell at Plymouth Argyle.