Rainford, Lancashire born centre half Arthur Whalley began his football career at Lancashire side Brynn Central in 1906 and then Wigan Town in 1907 before moving to Second Division Blackpool in March 1908, where he made his Football League debut at Burnley on Christmas Day 1908, scoring in a 1-1 draw. After just six further games for The Seasiders, and 2 more goals, Whalley joined Manchester United for a fee of £50 in June 1909 and made his debut in a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on 27th December 1909.
Despite initially being used as cover for first choice half backs Charlie Roberts, Alec Bell and Dick Duckworth, Whalley soon began to establish himself as a key component of Ernest Mangnall’s squad and was part of the side that won the League Championship in 1910-11 playing 15 games. He had played almost 70 games for United by the time he was struck by serious knee injury during the 1913-14 season and would make just one further appearance during the 1914-15 campaign, a 4-2 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
Whalley was one of eight players to be banned for life by the Football Association after a match-fixing scandal during the 1914-15 season involving a game between Manchester United and Liverpool on Good Friday 1915, but the ban was later lifted in 1919 following his service in the First World War, when he fought with The Footballers’ Battalion and was wounded at Passchendaele.
On the resumption of peacetime football in 1919, Whalley returned to Manchester United to play one further season at the club, before moving to Southend United in September 1920 after 6 goals in 106 appearances for The Red Devils. After just one season at The Kursaal, when he scored 6 goals in 34 matches for The Shrimpers in their inaugural Football League season, he joined Charlton Athletic in August 1921 and he made his debut on 9th October 1921 in a 2-0 defeat at Queens’ Park Rangers, becoming club captain and leading Charlton during their famous 1922-23 FA Cup run when they eliminated First Division clubs Manchester City. Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion before losing 1-0 to eventual Cup winners Bolton Wanderers. Known as “The Black Prince”, Whalley would go on to score 9 goals in 98 games for The Addicks before moving again in October 1924, this time to Millwall where he played only 8 first team games. He then moved to Cumbrian Third Division (North) club Barrow in December 1926, where would finally finish his career making a single appearance in February 1927 before his retirement.
NB this photograph, taken at The Valley on 3rd February 1923, shows Whalley tossing a coin with Preston North End captain Tommy Hamilton. Preston, finalists in the previous year’s competition, were beaten 2-0 in a significant Cup giant killing.