Leicester born outside right Archie Rawlings began his football career with Shirebrook in 1907, playing for Wombwell in 1910 and Darfield United in 1911 from where he joined Second Division club Barnsley in March 1912, without making a first team appearance for The Tykes. After a spell with Southern League club Northampton Town later the same year he returned to Shirebrook before re-joining The Cobblers in November 1913. Rochdale then signed him in June 1914 before the onset of the First World War intervened and forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915.
After the War he joined Scottish League Dundee in September 1919, making his Scottish League debut in a 3-0 win over Clyde that November. When, after 3 goals in 29 appearances for The Dark Blues, First Division club Preston North End signed him for £1,500 in June 1920, The Dundee Courier described Rawlings’ qualities thus: “Rawlings depends largely on his great speed for beating his man, but he possesses a deadly right foot, which is as accurate with centres as it is powerful with shots for the net. Rawlings appears eminently suited for the English game, his height and pace being likely to stand him in good stead.”
Already aged nearly 29, he made his Football League debut against Huddersfield Town in August 1920, and was an ever present in his first season at Deepdale, and a near ever present during the rest of his time there. He played in their 1921 FA Cup semi final team, losing to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Hillsborough, and he won his only cap for England in May 1921 when he played in a 2-0 win over Belgium in Brussels. In 1922 he was part of Preston’s team beaten 1-0 in the FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, but in March 1924 he was transferred to the previous year’s League Champions Liverpool after 23 goals in 164 appearances for The Lambs.
Rawlings was brought in to replace Billy Lacey who was in his last season at the club. Rawlings made his Liverpool debut in a 0-0 draw against Blackburn on 15th March, the first of 11 consecutive matches he was picked for until the end of the season. Liverpool finished a disappointing twelfth. A year later Rawlings only missed two matches and contributed seven useful goals from his wide position as the club improved their League standing by eight places. After playing in ten of the opening 11 matches of the 1925-26 season, Rawlings lost his place to Cyril Oxley and only figured twice in the second half of the season.
After 10 goals in 67 appearances for The Reds he transferred to Walsall in June 1926, making 26 appearances for The Saddlers during less than single season at Hilary Street, before being transferred to Bradford Park Avenue in February 1927, scoring 4 goals in 15 appearances before the end of the season. But he was a fringe player in their 1927-28 Third Division (North) Championship season, contributing a single goal in 6 matches in the campaign before joining Southport in July 1928.
He scored 3 times in 9 appearances for Southport in the late summer and autumn of 1928 before joining Lancashire Combination outfit Dick, Kerr and Company in December 1928, joining Fleetwood in 1929 where he subsequently finished his career.
He was the father of Syd Rawlings who played for Preston North End, Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion, Northampton Town, Millwall, Everton and Plymouth Argyle between 1932 and 1948.