Nantwich, Cheshire born centre forward Alf Lythgoe began his career with Crewe Alexandra in 1927 but was released by the club after they deemed him too small. He moved into non league football with spells at Whitchurch in 1928, Sandbach Ramblers in 1929, Congleton Town in 1930 and Ashton National in 1931 before he attracted the attention of Division Three (North) Stockport County, joining them in the summer of 1932, making his Football League debut at Rotherham United that November.
After scoring 19 goals in only 21 games in his first season, including a hat-trick in a win at Gateshead in April 1933, the next season Lythgoe scored 46 goals in 39 League games, which is still a club record, including three consecutive hat-tricks in matches against Southport, Darlington and Wrexham in March 1934, scoring 4 times in the 7-3 win at Wrexham. He also scored 6 goals in other competitions, and grabbed 3 other hat-tricks, including 4 goals in a 9-2 win over Southport in November 1933. After starting 1934-35 in similar fashion with 15 goals in only 10 appearances, including 5 goals against the hapless Southport and hat-tricks against Gateshead and Barrow, First Division Huddersfield Town paid £3,500 to take him to Leeds Road in October 1934 after an incredible 86 goals in 75 appearances for The Hatters.
He ended 1934-35 as comfortably Huddersfield’s leading goalscorer with a further 23 goals but couldn’t keep up the prolific rate of scoring, and increasingly he became a fringe player at Leeds Road. After 46 goals in 79 appearances for The Terriers he returned to Stockport County in March 1938 where the Second World War effectively finished his playing career, not before he had top scored once more with 20 goals for The Hatters in 1938-39 to take his total to 112 goals in 129 appearances for the Edgeley Park club. After the War he played for non league Ashton National in 1945 before his eventual retirement, and subsequently managed Altrincham from 1953 to 1955.