James Whitehead was born in Church, Lancashire, in 1870. He played football for Peel Bank Rovers before joining Accrington in the First Division of the Football League. An inside-forward, Whitehead scored 23 goals in 73 games for the club.
In 1892 Whitehead signed for Blackburn Rovers. He joined a forward line that included Jack Southworth, Harry Chippendale and Jamie Haydock. In March 1893 Whitehead won his first international cap for England against Wales. England won 6-0 but Whitehead failed to score.
In March 1894 he won his second cap against Ireland. Also in the team that day was his club colleague, Harry Chippendale. That year Blackburn finished in 4th place in the First Division of the Football League.
The 1895-96 season was a major disappointment. New signing Peter Turnbull, a centre-forward with a good goal scoring record when he played for Glasgow Rangers, Bolton Wanderers and Burnley, only managed seven in 25 games for Blackburn. The all-Scottish defence played well but the lack of goals resulted in the club finishing in 8th place in the league.
James Whitehead died in 1929.
© John Simkin, March 2013