Blackburn born outside right Joe Lofthouse was ba talented footballer who joined Blackburn Rovers in 1882 from King’s Own FC. Although only 18 years old he was a member of the team in the 1883-84 season. After Blackburn Rovers beat Notts County in the semi-final of the FA Cup, the club faced Queen’s Park in the Final at the Kennington Oval. Lofthouse played at left-half. The Scottish club scored the first goal but Blackburn Rovers won the game with goals from James Forrest and Joe Sowerbutts. That year Blackburn Rovers also won the Lancashire Cup and the Lancashire Charity Cup.
Joe Lofthouse won his first international cap for England against Ireland on 28 February 1885. England won 4-0 with Lofthouse scoring one of the goals. Over the next five years Lofthouse played scored three goals in seven internationals. He played against Ireland (3 times), Wales (twice) and Scotland (twice).
Blackburn Rovers beat Old Carthusians 5-0 in the semi-final of the 1885 FA Cup. Once again they had to play Queen’s Park in the Final. Blackburn Rovers was now a team full of internationals, including Jimmy Douglas, Hugh McIntyre, James Forrest, Herbie Arthur, Lofthouse and Jimmy Brown. A crowd in excess of 12,000 arrived at the Oval to see what most people believed were the best two clubs in England and Scotland. Lofthouse played at inside right and with goals from Brown and Forrest, Blackburn Rovers won 2-0.
The first season of the Football League began in September 1888. Preston North End won the first championship that year without losing a single match and acquired the name the “Invincibles”. Blackburn Rovers, who had lost most of their best players to retirement, finished in 4th place, 14 points behind Preston. Lofthouse had left Preston to join Accrington, for whom he played the 1888-89 season playing in Accrington’s inaugural League match at Everton in September 1888, scoring twice in 23 appearances, but he returned to Blackburn in the summer of 1889.
At the beginning of the 1889-90 season Tom Mitchell, the club secretary, recruited four top players from Scotland: Tom Brandon, Johnny Forbes, George Dewar and Harry Campbell. A local lad, Nathan Walton was also drafted into the side. Other key players that season included Lofthouse and Jack Southworth. Blackburn did slightly better in the League, finishing in 3rd place, six points behind Preston. However, they won the 1890 FA Cup Final, beating Sheffield Wednesday 6-1 with Billy Townley scoring a hat trick. Other goals came from Lofthouse, Nathan Walton and Jack Southworth. In 1891 they repeated the feat, beating Notts County 3-1 in the FA Cup Final, Lofthouse’s fourth success.
Lofthouse received a benefit match on 10th September 1900 from Blackburn Rovers FC between the present 1900 team and the cup winning teams of the 1880’s. It ended in a two-all draw.
Joe Lofthouse scored 19 goals in 62 games for Blackburn Rovers in the Football League era. He left in August 1892 to join Darwen staying a single season and scoring once in 8 appearances. He joined Second Division Walsall Town Swifts in December 1893 and scored 4 goals in 34 appearances over the next two seasons before retiring from playing in 1895. He went overseas to pursue his football career by becoming a coach to the Magyar Athletic Club in Budapest, Hungary in February 1902. He then returned in to Blackburn before joining New Brompton where he became the trainer in August 1902, staying a year. He then became the assistant trainer at Everton from August 1903. In 1904, Lofthouse was elected to the F.A. International Selection Committee.