by Terry Rowley

These pages chronicle the playing legends of Altrincham Football Club. The texts have been kindly supplied by Terry Rowley, formerly joint editor of the Robins' Review matchday programme. Many of the profiles have previously appeared in the Robins' Review.

157. Ernest "Ernie" Francis CARLESS

157. Ernest "Ernie" Francis CARLESS

By Terry Rowley

  • Born: Cadoxton, Cardiff, September 12th 1912
  • Died: Barry, September 26th 1987
  • Ernie Carless was a talented sportsman, playing both football as an inside-forward and cricket, which was his main sport.

    He began his soccer career at Barry Town, as a teenager, in February 1930, scoring three times in six games before the end of the season. Still not established in the Barry side and concentrating on his cricket, he scored twice in four games in the 1930/31 season.

    He had trials at Wolves in March 1931 but was not offered a contract and returned to Wales and Barry Town. In 1931/32 he played a further eight Welsh League games, scoring twice. He was then signed by Third Division South side, Cardiff City in September 1932 and he made his League debut that year.

    But things did not work out and, at the start of the 1933/34 season, he was back at Barry Town. And after one further game, Bob Brown the former Barry Town Trainer, who was now training Altrincham, persuaded Ernie to move North and join Altrincham in October 1933. He was an immediate success.

    Ernie made his Altrincham debut on 21st October 1933 against Sandbach Ramblers, surprisingly playing at centre-forward, scoring in a 4-2 home win and he followed up by scoring a hat trick in his next League game, a 3-0 win over Nantwich Town, playing at outside right.

    Reverting to his more natural inside-right berth, Ernie followed up with another hat-trick in his next league game against Chester Reserves. Ernie was also one of the team who played in Altrincham’s first ever FA Cup First Round Proper appearance, featuring in the 1-0 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity.

    Injured in a 1-1 draw at home with Mossley, in which he scored, Ernie was to play only one further game for Altrincham, just prior to the CSC final against Congleton, in which he was injured again in a 3-1 win against Prescot Cables on 7th April 1934 and thus he missed out on a medal.

    In all, he played 18 Cheshire League games, scoring fifteen goals. He played two further games in the FA Cup and two more in Cheshire Senior Cup, scoring once. What could have been if he had stayed?

    After leaving Altrincham, Ernie returned, once again, to play with Barry Town. In cricket he made his first- class debut in 1934 for Glamorgan against Middlesex and played one further match for the county during the season.

    In football, he continued to turn out for Barry Town until the beginning of the War in 1939.

    During the War he played for Glamorgan CCC in fund-raising matches. Following the end of the War and the resumption of county cricket in 1946, Carless made his final first-class appearance, twelve years after his previous first-class match, in a Glamorgan side which was beset by injuries and struggling to field a team. His final first-class match was against Essex. In a career spanning twelve seasons, (counting the War) Ernie played three first class matches scoring 35 at an average of 11.66 and a highest score of 25.

    Ernie joined Plymouth Argyle in 1946, playing 11 games as a guest in the War-time Football League South competition and then signing up to make four appearances when the full League programme returned.

    In 1947, soon after his final appearance for Argyle, Ernie accepted an offer to become the club's head groundsman, having gained experience of the job at Cardiff City prior to moving to Plymouth. The role enabled him to continue his cricketing career with Devon in the Minor Counties. He joined Devon in 1947, making his debut for the county against Cornwall. From 1947 to 1949, he represented Devon in seven Minor Counties fixtures, with his final appearance for the county coming against the Glamorgan Second XI.

    At football, he turned out for Barry Town for one last season, in 1950/51, playing three games.

    Ernie is remembered on the memorial gates outside Barry Athletic Cricket Club.

    Ernie Carless's Career

    • Barry Town (02/1930)
      • 1929/30 6 games - 3 goals
      • 1930/31 8 games - 5 goals
      • 1931/32 19 games - 1 goal
    • Wolverhampton Wanderers (Trial 03/1931)
    • Cardiff City (09/1932) 1932/33 1 game in league and 1 other game
    • Altrincham (10/1933) 1933/34
    • Barry Town (08/1934)
      • 1934/35 7 games - 1 goal
      • 1935/36 22 games - 11 goals
      • 1936/37 38 games - 11 goals
      • 1937/38 34 games - 15 goals
      • 1938/39 39 games - 19 goals
      • 1939/40 12 games - 5 goals
    • Cardiff City (Wartime)
    • Plymouth Argyle
      • 1945/46 11 games - 1 goal (as guest)
      • 1950/51 3 games - 0 goal