Colin Tinsley was a regular in the Redcar Boys Club sides of the 1950s. He was an apprentice bricklayer when he signed a professional contract with Grimsby Town in 1954, joining Redcar Boys Club teammate Len Weatherrall. A spell with Darlington followed where he helped them knock top-flight West Ham out of the League Cup. In the same season, he featured in their mammoth FA Cup battle against Hull City. The game was forced to four replays, the latter being at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park.
Exeter City then took Tinsley on, where he was notably switched to play on the left wing after dislocating his finger in a match against Workington. Far from hiding in the shadows, Tinsley popped up from a corner and nodded home the only goal of the game. The following season he signed for Luton Town where he was an understudy to former England international Ron Baynham, replacing him upon his retirement.
Tinsley then made 70 appearances for Kettering Town before returning to Luton on a short-term contract. His final appearance for the Hatters came against Southend in 1967. He ended his career at Dunstable. Tinsley had a long professional career which included over 200 appearances in the Football League, going back to his old trade as a bricklayer and also working a tutor at Carillion’s Craft Training Centre once his playing days were done.