Arthur Fairclough's playing career never got off the ground due
to ill-health, but he became a successful adminstrator at Barnsley
as they entered the Football League in 1898, and after a brief
break from the game, returned as their manager to take them to the
FA Cup Final of 1910, where they lost in a replay to Newcastle
United. Two years later, Fairclough took the team one step further
as they beat West Bromwich Albion to take the trophy.
After his success at Barnsley, he was persuaded to join
Huddersfield where he laid the groundwork for the success to be
achieved by Herbert Chapman. When Huddersfield chairman J. Hilton
Crowther decided that a Leeds-based team would be a better vehicle
for his attentions, he persuaded his manager to move with him, and
so Fairclough took over from Dick Ray as Leeds United manager for
the club's first full season in the Football League.
Fairclough put together a useful team, and in 1923-24 he saw his
side win promotion to the First Division. The following year saw
the signing of the goal-scoring talents of Tom Jennings and Russell
Wainscoat, to stand alongside the defensive abilities of Ernie Hart
and Tom Townsley. Despite Jennings astonishing haul of 35 goals in
42 games, 1926-27 saw the side relegated and Fairclough resigned in
the close season. He briefly returned to management with Barnsley
in 1929, but resigned after a year in the job.