Edgar Ward Ainsworth was born on De la Pole Avenue in West Hull, raised by a father who initially worked as a fish fryer when Edgar was a small child, then later became a fish merchant in the Hull Docks area. Standing at six feet and two inches, Edgar was a towering presence who first made his name as a talented teenage batsman for Hull Cricket Club. By 1931 he had also taken up football, playing as an amateur for Hull Windsor and Bridlington Town. He was called up to trial for the England Amateur side in North versus South matches in both 1931 (at Blackpool) and 1932 (at Leyton in East London). The press waxed lyrical about his ‘brilliant performance’ in the aftermath of his second trial and after starting a third North versus South match in January 1933 that finished 9-5 to the South, a week later Ainsworth was chosen to represent England Amateurs against Wales – the match was played at Torquay and Ainsworth conceded nine fewer goals than in his last trial, with England prevailing 1-0.
A month later in February 1933 Ainsworth won his second and final England Amateur cap in a 4-3 defeat against Ireland played in Belfast. This sparked sufficient interest and pride across the City of Hull for a celebratory dinner to be held in Ainsworth’s honour. By this time Edgar was playing for both Bridlington Town, who were enjoying a run to the latter stages of the East Riding Senior Cup, and Hull City’s Reserves. In May 1933 City’s first choice keeper Geordie Maddison suffered a torn shoulder ligament and Ainsworth was handed his first team debut.
Despite Ainsworth’s fine and decorated season, City appeared reluctant to commit him to their squad for the 1933/34 season and he signed a professional contract at York City. After a few weeks at Bootham Crescent Ainsworth broke his ankle in a motor accident while travelling to training and missed the entire season. In August 1934 he was back on trial at Hull City and re-signed for the Tigers in September 1934. The consistency of Maddison as City’s first team keeper meant that Ainsworth waited patiently in the Reserves during the 1934/35 season, and in the following season Edgar vied with Scotsmen Hugh Farquharson and Reuben Bennett to be City’s second choice keeper. In September 1935 Maddison was again injured and Farquharson, who deputised for two fixtures, also suffered a knock, leading to Ainsworth making his second and final start for the Tigers. He returned to the sidelines and was handed a free transfer in April 1936, calling a halt to his football career.
After working in the family fish merchant business, Ainsworth joined the war effort in 1939 when he signed up with the Coldstream Guards. In 1942 he transferred to the Officer Cadet Training Unit, then after the war he took over management of the family fish merchant business. In 1949 he was involved in another car accident, this time the apparent innocent victim of a hit-and-pedal incident perpetrated by a young man driving a stolen vehicle who after the crash fled the scene on a push bike. He was still playing cricket for YPI and Hull Exporters as he entered his 40s, but he died in November 1952 at the age of only 42.
The fish merchant firm established by the Ainsworth family continued to trade for many decades after Edgar’s death, by the turn of the 21st century the firm was located on Hull’s West Dock Street under the name The Hull Fish Company.
Date/Place of Birth: 8 September 1910, Hull
Hull City First Game: 6 May 1933, Rochdale A (Division Three North), 22 years, 240 days old
Hull City Final Game: 21 September 1935, Bury A (Division Two), 25 years, 13 days old
Hull Windsor (1931-1932), Bridlington Town (1932-1933), Hull City (1932-1933), York City (1933-1934), Hull City (1934-1936)
Hull City Record
Career: 2 apps, 0 goalsEdgar Ainsworth