Harrop, James

Last updated : 05 July 2010 By @blades_mad1889

Harrop, James (Jimmy) (Centre-Half/Left-Half)

Born: Heeley, Sheffield, September 1884

Died: 1958

Playing Career…






St Wilfred's School




Heeley County School




Kent Road Missions




Ranmoor Wesleyans (amateur)




Sheffield Wednesday (amateur)




Denaby United


Rotherham Town






Aston Villa




Sheffield Wednesday (guest)




Sheffield United




Burton All Saints




James Harrop

James Harrop was born in 1884; in Sheffield and played for his hometown club despite an unsuccessful attempt as an amateur with Wednesday went onto play a number of games with United - their rivals from across the City.

A son of a Yorkshire farmer Harrop went onto become a successful professional footballer - helping Aston Villa win the FA Cup in 1913 and 1920. A cool and crafty defender he inspired the Villa Park club to their 1913 cup final victory, but missed there glorious day seven years later through injury.

During his football career he represented the Football League on two occasions whilst he also appeared in two England international trials.

In 1913 he was an England reserve for their international game with Wales and also represented Birmingham against London, also in the same year.

He started his professional career with Sheffield Wednesday in 1903, gaining amateur status after a successful trail - he had previously turned out for his local school. However life at Hillsborough wasn't rosy and left the club without making an appearance.

Harrop originally joined the Blue & White on trail before earning amateur honours in their youth team and in 1904 was turned a professional.

The defender moved in 1906 and joined Denaby United who resigned in the Midland League, whom remained a non-league club until they folded in 2002. He stayed only one season at the Tickhill Square club and moved back to South Yorkshire with Rotherham Town.

The Millers (now named United) signed up the promising defender on a free transfer but failed to make an appearance in the Football League for the Millmoor outfit, but again his stay wasn't long.

Yet despite is limited success at lower league clubs he was able to make his name at Liverpool, he was signed for free in January 1908 by manager Tom Watson - with his Anfield stay lasted ten years. Although the Reds failed win any major competitions the Kop faithful was runner-up to Aston Villa in Division One in 1910 - missing out on being League Champions by five points.

Harrop made his debut at Anfield in a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 18 January 1908, whilst future team mate Sam Hardy represented the Reds in goal. His first goal came in a 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in March 1909 in front of just 12,000 fans.

He played a total of 133 league games and netted in four fixtures. In June 1908 he moved to the Midlands in a large fee of £600 to Aston Villa and would win the FA Cup with the Birmingham club in 1913.

There cup run started off with back-to-back wins against Derby County (3-1) and West Ham United (5-0) before beating Crystal Palace and Bradford Park Avenue (both 5-0) with the same score line.

The Villains disposed of Oldham Athletic by a single goal at Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park ground, whilst they won 1-0 in the final at Crystal Palace against Sunderland.

Aston Villa 1-0 Sunderland

19 April 1913 @ Crystal Palace - FA Cup Final

Aston Villa: Hardy, Lyons, Weston, Barber (1), Harrop, Leach, Wallace, Halse, Hampton, Stephenson, Bache.

Sunderland: Butler, Gladwin, Ness, Cuggy, Thomson, Low, Mordue, Buchan, Richardson, Holley, Martin.

Referee: A. Adams (Nottingham)

Attendance: 121,919

Prior to their final with Sunderland, Aston Villa forward Clem Stephenson had dreamt that Villa would walk away with the trophy and with Tommy Barber heading home the only goal. He believed his dream to come true so much that he told opposition Charles Buchan about it as they waited for kick-off.

Villa headed off to Crystal Palace with the hope of claiming the cup whilst completing the double, and there dream looked odds on when Charlie Wallace stood up to take a penalty - and he needn't have bothered as his effort almost hit the corner flag.

In the second half keeper Sam Hardy was injured but Sunderland could only manage to strike the woodwork whilst the shot stopper was off the field; with Harrop substituting in goal.

As full-time loomed his dream was fulfilled when Wallace, who had apparently locked himself in the toilet at half-time in shame of his spot kick miss floated over a cross from the right hand flank with Tommy Barber's head meeting the ball and slamming into the back of the net.

They capped a fine season with a 4-2 home win against Sheffield United on the final day of the season but it wasn't enough to secure the Championship with their Cup rivals Sunderland snatching the First Division by two points.

The following season they once again finished as runners-up to the League Champions; this time Blackburn Rovers claiming top spot whilst his former club; Liverpool propelled Villa (2-0) out of the Cup at White Hart Lane at the Semi-Final stage.

As team captain he charged the Claret & Blue to the FA Cup final once again in 1920 after beating Chelsea 3-1 at Bramall Lane - however he missed the final due to injury as they won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge against Huddersfield Town.

It was the 6th time that the Midlands outfit had won the FA Cup, but Harrop had the misfortune for missing out. Due to the out break of the Great War in 1915 which lasted four years the Football League and FA Cup was abandoned.

During that time he wandered around and made twelve (no goals) appearances for Aston Villa whilst he also returned to Sheffield Wednesday to make guest appearances for the Hillsborough club - he also worked as an 'agricultural implement manufacturer' during this dark time in history.

It was whilst in Birmingham that he was given the nickname 'Head Up' Harrop and went onto play a total of 171 games and netted four goals from defence.

Approaching his 37th birthday he was on the move again in a £1,500 transfer in March 1921 to Sheffield United but was only a whistle stop as he only spent fourteen months with the Bramall Lane club and played in 14 matches.

He made his Blades debut in a two-two home draw with Bolton Wanderers, and followed up back-to-back draws with the Trotters with a stunning 6-2 win at Arsenal - this was to be the sides' only victory on the road that season with legendary striker Harry Johnson claiming a hat-trick in this game.

His final game came in a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea in November 1921; his transfer to United came at much criticism. The Blades were in for a rocky season from the start with the club investing in big money transfers.

With the £4,000 sale of Stanley Fazackerley to Everton the Sheffield club were able to bring in more players; Fred Tunstall (Scunthorpe United), David Mercer (Hull City) and Joe Kitchen (Rotherham County) were all drafted in whilst Harrop was a late arrival.

However, it was an aging squad and with the arrival of 37 year old Harrop from Aston Villa didn't do anything to help reduce the average age of the squad and some questioned his transfer; yet in the first four games he played he helped the club gain four points which at the end of the season proved a vital role in saving the Blades from relegation; Derby County and Bradford Park Avenue dropped down to Division Two at their expense.

Had it not been for the poor performances by the Rams then maybe United would have joined Wednesday in the lower league. At the end of the season Harrop left Bramall Lane and enjoyed pastures new at Burton All Saints.

Profile Created: December 2007