Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire born left half Albert Sturgess started his career as a centre forward with amateur side Tunstall Cresswells before joining hometown First Division club Stoke in 1902, making his Football League debut at Grimsby Town in October 1902. Initially a fringe player playing 4 matches in his first two seasons, he broke into the first team from March 1905, going on to play 135 times for The Potters over five years, scoring 4 times, before Stoke’s financial difficulties forced his sale in 1908, Sturgess having missed one match a season for Stoke in each of the previous three seasons. He was a tall wiry defender and was nicknamed hairpin because of his build.
Moving to Sheffield United along with teammate George Gallimore for “a hefty fee” in the summer of 1908 and made his debut for The Blades in a First Division match at Bury on 1st September 1908, replacing Ernest Needham at left half. He played primarily at left half in his time with Sheffield United, forging a formidable partnership with George Utley and Bill Brelsford and first played right back in 1911-12. He played with skill and determination in all positions, and, whether as a forward, half back, full back, or emergency goalkeeper, Sturgess never gave less than 100%, and well deserved his reputation as the one man football team.
He was a member of their 1914 FA Cup semi final team that lost narrowly in a replay to eventual winners Burnley at Goodison Park. A year later he made amends as part of the Sheffield United team that lifted the FA Cup, beating Chelsea 3-0 in the so called “Khaki Cup Final” at Old Trafford. He played 375 matches for The Blades either side of the First World War, scoring 5 goals, becoming club captain after the War and playing predominantly at right back, his last match for The Blades coming in a 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town in February 1923 when he was already 40 years old. He joined Norwich City as club captain in July 1923, where he played 52 times for The Canaries over two seasons before finally hanging up his boots in 1925.
He was also capped twice by England making his international debut against Ireland in a 2-1 victory at The Baseball Ground, Derby in February 1911, winning a second cap in a 3-1 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park in April 1914. He also toured South Africa with the FA XI in 1910 and played in two Test Matches against South Africa.