Player profile

Jim Harley

Jim Harley

Birthdate: 21 February 1917
Birthplace: Methil, Fife, Scotland
Date of death: 1989
Other clubs: Hearts Of Beath (1933-34)
Bought from: Hearts Of Beath
Signed for LFC: 04.04.1934
Liverpool debut: 28.09.1935
Last appearance: 17.04.1948
Contract expiry: 1948
Win ratio: 38.17% W:50 D:33 L:48
Honours: League Championship 1946/47
Wartime games/goals: 61 / 3
LFC league games/goals: 115 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 131 / 0

Player profile

Scotsman "Big Jim" Harley was one of the toughest customers who have played for Liverpool Football Club. The natural left-back, who could play on either side, established himself in the side in the 1937/38 season after being on the fringes of the first team for a couple of seasons, only being 17 when he signed for the club. As with all too many players his professional career was cut short by World War II. During wartime he won Scotland international honours and the Royal Navy commando was also decorated for his role at Dunkirk after operating on a destroyer that made repeated trips across the Channel, bringing soldiers in the armed forces home while under fire from German planes. When the League resumed after the war, Harley made 17 appearances as a member of the 1946/47 squad that secured the club's fifth First Division Championship. But he had passed his thirtieth birthday during that season and would only be selected on another 21 occasions in his eighth and final year at Anfield.

Harley was a great sprinter and at 18 years of age won the famous Powderhall Handicap, a New Year sprint in Scotland which has been around since 1870. He competed under the pseudonym "J H Mitchell" so Liverpool would not find out about this extracurricular activity. The Liverpool Echo wrote: "Besides a Charles Buchan chest and shoulders he had the strong, but slim undercarriage of the sprinter. Woe betide the speeding winger who thought he could make a race of it and take the ball, Harley took both." Former Reds goalkeeper Charlie Ashcroft told historian Gary Shaw that Harley was one of a kind. “Charlie revealed that Harley would often come into training covered in cuts and bruises on his face and knuckles," Gary said. "He’d been out fighting the night before but not just with one man. That was a waste of time for Harley who’d prefer to take on two, three or even four at a time. He got arrested for brawling on a number of occasions, which the club took steps to cover up. Apparently there were few harder than Harley. He was fearless.”

Appearances per season

Please note

The three League games played in the 1939/40 season were expunged from Football League records as the season was stopped due to World War II. The games are therefore not considered valid by LFChistory.net and as the "Association of football statisticians" does not count them towards official player totals.

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 115 16 0 0 0 131
1935-1936 8 0 0 0 0 8
1936-1937 5 1 0 0 0 6
1937-1938 33 5 0 0 0 38
1938-1939 31 3 0 0 0 34
1939-1940 0 0 0 0 0 0
1945-1946 0 3 0 0 0 3
1946-1947 17 4 0 0 0 21
1947-1948 21 0 0 0 0 21

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
8 Sunderland
7 Wolves
7 Preston North End
7 Derby
7 Arsenal
7 Portsmouth
6 Huddersfield Town
6 Chelsea
5 Blackpool
5 Bolton Wanderers
5 Charlton Athletic
5 Grimsby Town
5 Birmingham City
5 WBA
4 Stoke City
4 Sheffield United
4 Leicester City
4 Aston Villa
4 Manchester City
3 Blackburn Rovers
3 Everton
3 Middlesbrough
3 Manchester United
3 Brentford
2 Burnley
2 Chester City
2 Crystal Palace
2 Leeds United
1 Luton Town
1 Norwich City
1 Stockport County
Total Competition
115 League
16 FA Cup

Wartime Appearances / Goals

Season Appearances Goals
1939-1940 6 0
1940-1941 6 0
1941-1942 4 0
1942-1943 2 1
1943-1944 3 2
1944-1945 16 0
1945-1946 24 0

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 28.09.1935 WBA Anfield League
50 23.04.1938 Bolton Wanderers Anfield League
100 15.03.1947 Portsmouth Fratton Park League

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