Pinxton, Derbyshire born inside left Ralph Hoten began his football career before the First World War with Lady Bay and towards the end of the War played for Pinxton Colliery in 1918 before joining First Division club Notts County in 1919, making his Football League debut at Bradford Park Avenue in February 1920, one of a pair of top flight appearances he made before The Magpies’ relegation at the season end. He made a further pair of appearances in their 1920-21 Second Division campaign, scoring in a 1-1 draw with West Ham United in March 1921, before leaving Meadow Lane to join Third Division (South) club Portsmouth in the 1922 close season.
He played regularly in his first season at Portsmouth, scoring 9 goals as they finished third in the division, but lost his place early the following season and transferred to Luton Town in March 1923 after 40 appearances for Pompey. He scored on his Luton debut in a win over Southend United and before the end of the season scored a hat-trick in a win over Exeter City, missing only one match for The Hatters in 1923-24 as Luton finished seventh in the League. But he lost his place in October 1924 and transferred to Northampton Town in December after 13 goals in 60 appearances for The Hatters.
Establishing himself as a regular in The Cobblers’ line up, it was after the changes to the offside law that he started to become a regular rather than occasional goalscorer. He scored a hat-trick in an FA Cup win over Leyton in November 1927 and scored in double figures for the first time in his career as Northampton finished League runners up, narrowly missing out on promotion, but he lit the blue touch paper in 1928-29 with 31 goals as Northampton finished third in the division. This included a club record 5 goals in an 8-1 thumping of Crystal Palace in October 1928, a feat later equalled by Bert Dawes in an FA Cup tie, 4 goals against Torquay United two weeks later and a hat-trick against Newport County.
He then scored 22 goals in 1929-30 including an FA Cup hat-trick against Margate and a treble against former club Luton Town as The Cobblers again missed out on promotion finishing fourth, Hoten finishing behind Ted Bowen as The Cobblers’ leading goalscorer for the second season running. In the summer of 1930 he was sold to Queen’s Park Rangers after 85 goals in 213 appearances for Northampton Town (he is still in their top ten all time goalscorers) but managed just 4 goals in 9 appearances (possibly through injury) for Rangers before retiring at the end of the season.