Birkenhead, Cheshire born centre forward Arthur Hughes started his football career with his local club Birkenhead before joining Combination club Tranmere Rovers. In May 1907, he moved to Bolton Wanderers for a season but he failed to make a first team appearance before moving to the south coast to join Southern League club Southampton in the summer of 1908.
He was recruited by Southampton to act as cover for George Smith, but shortly after the move Smith collapsed and died in July. Hughes immediately took Smith’s place on a pre-season tour of Europe. For Hughes the tour was a great success, scoring freely including a hat-trick against The Hague.
Hughes started the 1908-09 season as centre forward in spectacular fashion with 10 goals in his first 10 games, including a hat-trick in the 6-0 defeat of Luton Town on 12th September 1908. According to Holley & Chalk’s “The Alphabet of The Saints”, Hughes had “fine ball control” and “equally happy using either foot…he distributed the ball with panache”. However a serious leg injury sustained in the match at Watford on 21st November, a match in which he scored the only goal, sidelined him for several matches. Although he returned to first team action in January he was unable to regain his early season form but still finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 15 goals from 21 appearances.
At the end of the season he decided to return to Lancashire where he signed for Manchester City ahead of the 1909-10 season although he never made an appearance for their first team and after leaving Hyde Road he drifted out of professional football.