Tall, powerful and versatile forward and half back Eric Longden joined the Tigers at the end of October 1930 as the Tigers sought to re-establish themselves after the horror of relegation from Division Two to Division Three North the previous season. Longden scored on his debut at Accrington Stanley and added a further four goals in five games during December 1930 including a brace in a 10-0 Boxing Day demolition of Halifax Town. Another brace in a mid-January 8-2 defeat of Doncaster Rovers, Longden’s former club, confirmed his goalscoring capability and value to the Tigers. Unfortunately, this talent was also noticed by First Division side Blackpool. who had just defeated Hull City in the FA Cup Third Round, in early February 1931 the Tangerines made Hull City an offer they couldn’t refuse for the striker and he left after just 15 starts.
Eric Longden was born in Goldthorpe, a mining village in the heart of the Dearne Valley between Barnsley and Doncaster. Eric’s father was a coal miner and Eric himself also worked underground while playing junior football for Highgate, Goldthorpe Comrades and Highgate St Michaels in the local Mexborough League. Eric was a spirited young man who demonstrated his strength of character in 1927 when he left his father with a fractured skull and broken ribs after Longden senior had attacked his wife, Eric’s mother, in a drunken stupor. Eric received a fine for assault but no custodial sentance.
In March 1926 after a short trial for the Reserves, Longden signed for Doncaster Rovers. Rovers were competing at the upper end of the Division Three North table and for two seasons Eric provided a supporting role to the first team. He scored his first senior goal in a New Years Day 1927 win at rivals Rotherham United and netted a hattrick against Barrow in May 1927. Longden became a regular first team choice for Doncaster at the start of the 1927/28 season, playing at centre forward and both inside forward positions and netting four times. His final goals for Doncaster came in an October 1927 4-2 victory at Nelson, in which Eric scored twice, he left Doncaster having scored 9 times in 32 starts.
In January 1929 Longden joined Division One side Leeds United. He made only three starts during the latter half of the 1928/29 season, two of which were at centre half. In the 1929/30 season Longden made 23 starts for Leeds, mostly at inside right, and scored seven goals including a December 1929 brace against Newcastle United. After starting the first two matches of Leeds’ 1930/31 season Eric dropped out of the first team and joined Hull City four months later.
Longden joined Blackpool in February 1931 and played mostly at inside right for the rest of his first season on the Fylde Coast, scoring 3 times. He was handed the club captaincy for the 1931/32 season and started every senior game in League and Cup, mostly at right half. At the start of the 1932/33 season the captaincy was passed to a team-mate, he dropped out of first team contention and left the Tangerines three months later having made 63 senior appearances and scored 7 goals.
In December 1932 Longden rejoined Hull City and for the next two and a half seasons he was a regular choice in either the half back or the forward line. He was part of the squad that lifted the Division Three North title in May 1933 and served the Tigers in Division Two for two seasons, settling at right half in the 1934/35 season. During the 1935 close season Longden rebuffed an offer to re-sign for the Tigers and instead pursued other business ventures – he wished to become a registered pilot and tried to open a sportsmans’ bar in Blackpool. By July 1936 he had signalled his desire to return to football and joined Scarborough Town as player-coach, but after just one season he hung up his boots for the final time.
Longden relocated to Blackpool when his footballing days were over, by 1939 he was living near the Winter Gardens and working in a local bakery. He remained in Blackpool for the rest of his days and died in the seaside town in September 1983.
Date/Place of Birth: 18 May 1904, Goldthorpe
Hull City First Game: 1 November 1930, Accrington Stanley A (Division Three North), 26 years, 167 days old
Hull City Final Game: 27 April 1935, Bradford City A (Division Two), 30 years, 344 days old
Highgate, Goldthorpe Comrades, Highgate St Michaels, Doncaster Rovers (1926-1929), Leeds United (1929-1930), Hull City (1930-1931), Blackpool (1931-1932), Hull City (1932-1935), Scarborough Town (1936-1937)
Hull City Record
Career: 93 apps, 12 goalsEric Longden