Goalkeeper Ronnie Sewell was born at Wingate, County Durham and started off by playing for Wingate Albion, a local amateur team, in 1910. In the summer of 1911 he was signed as a professional by Second Division Gainsborough Trinity making his Football League debut against Leicester Fosse that September, and immediately became a regular member of their first team in what proved to be the club’s final season in the Football League, missing only one of the 38 League matches and none of their 4 FA Cup ties. He had clearly impressed playing in two matches against Burnley, one a home win over The Clarets in January 1912, however when Trinity failed to get re-election, he remained at Trinity as they returned to The Midland League. Gainsborough were drawn in the FA Cup Second Round to play none other than Burnley once again, a tie played at Turf Moor on 1st February 1913.
In front of a crowd of 18,000, Trinity gave an excellent account of themselves despite losing 4-1 to The Clarets, and less than two hours after the game Sewell was signed by Burnley along with full backs Sam Gunton and Cliff Jones for a collective transfer fee of £2,000. All three players made their Burnley debuts in a 3-3 draw at Bristol City the next week
At Burnley he was understudy to Jerry Dawson but after Dawson was injured in March, he appeared in their FA Cup semi final and then their FA Final victory against Liverpool at The Crystal Palace in April 1914, although he never really established himself as a first team regular in a Turf Moor career which was interrupted by the First World War.
But before War broke out, an unusual incident happened in which Sewell was involved as he helped Glentoran win The Vienna Cup, when he stepped in at the last minute to cover for the Glentoran goalkeeper, Leslie Murphy , who went AWOL on the eve of the final. Burnley, like Celtic and Glentoran were on a summer tour of Central Europe. They happened to be in Vienna on the same day as the final, Glentoran didn’t have a spare keeper, so an SoS went out to Burnley. Sewell agreed and helped Glentoran to victory and clinch the Vienna Cup.
In all, he made a total of only 27 appearances for Burnley over a seven year War interrupted period. Sewell served as a gunner for the Royal Garrison Artillery and guested for Grimsby Town in 1916 and Lincoln City in 1919. He was awarded the Silver War Badge on 9th April 1918 for his Army service having been wounded in the leg by shrapnel in October 1917.
In February 1920 he was transferred to near-neighbours Blackburn Rovers, where he was a near ever present in four of the five seasns between 1920-21 and 1924-25, playing for Rovers in their 1925 FA Cup semi final defeat to Cariff City at Meadow Lane Nottingham. He remained at Ewood Park until the 1927 close season and enjoyed the best of his football career, making 248 appearances for the club and winning one full International cap for England against Wales at Ewood Park on 3rd March 1924.
After leaving Blackburn Rovers, Sewell re-joined Gainsborough Trinity and was a member of their Midland League Championship winning side of 1927-28. Whilst playing for Gainsborough in an away Midland League match against Doncaster Rovers Reserves on 9th March 1929, he sustained a hand injury that eventually prompted his retirement from football.