Northampton born outside right Ernie Toseland began his football career with Guildhall United and then played for Higham Ferrers Town in 1925 from where he joined Third Division (South) Coventry City, making his Football League debut at Watford in September 1928, scoring in a 4-2 defeat. After 11 goals for Coventry in only 23 appearances he was signed by First Division Manchester City in February 1929, making his City debut at Bury that April and scoring his first goal in his home debut against Aston Villa in their next match. Toseland joined a strong forward line at City which included England internationals such as outside left Eric Brook, inside forward Tommy Johnson and centre forward Fred Tilson. Toseland was ever present in his first full season, 1929-30, as City finished third in the League Championship, missing only 17 games through to 1937, ten of which were in the 1934-35 season.
In 1932 he was part of Manchester City’s FA Cup semi final team defeated 1-0 by Arsenal with a goal from England international Cliff Bastin at Villa Park, but City went one better in 1933, reaching the FA Cup Final at Wembley, only to be beaten 3-0 by Everton. In 1934 they were back at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, Toseland having scored 4 goals in the rounds leading up to the Final, including a goal in the 6-1 semi final demolition of Aston Villa at Leeds Road, Huddersfield. In the Final City beat Portsmouth 2-1 courtesy of two Fred Tilson goals in the final 15 minutes of the match.
In 1936-1937 Toseland was part of the first Manchester City side to win the League Championship. The team went on an unbeaten run after Christmas, winning 14 times and drawing 6 games. The Championship was won at Maine Road with a 4-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday with a match to spare, Toseland again an ever present for The Citizens. 1937-38 however would prove a different story. Dropped after a 6-1 defeat at Middlesbrough in the middle of March, he played only once more in the season as City slumped to relegation, despite scoring more goals than any other team.
He spent much of the 1938-39 season in an out of the City team now in the Second Division, and after 75 goals in 411 appearances for The Citizens he was signed by Sheffield Wednesday in March 1939, helping them to finish third, two places above Manchester City, The Owls just missing out on promotion. He played the first three games of the 1939-40 season abandoned due to the outbreak of the Second World War, but his career, having scored twice in 15 appearances for Wednesday, was brought to halt and effectively ended. After the conflict he played non league football for Mossley already aged 40 before his retirement.
NB the backdrop to the photograph appears to be the church behind Goodison Park.