Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire born wing half Hedley Bailey was a Rotherham stalwart during their early League years when known as Rotherham County. He had been with hometown Sutton Junction prior to the First World War (during which he served in the Army with the Middlesex Regiment, the so-called Footballer’s Battalion, reaching the rank of sargeant and more than likely when not at the front he first played for Rotherham County in wartime football), and joined Rotherham County immediately post War just as they joined the expanded Second Division for the first peacetime post-War season, making his debut in their inaugural Football League match in the Second Division, a 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at Millmoor in August 1919.
He represented the Sheffield & Hallam FA in 1920-21. Over the next 9 seasons he missed very few games, his latter two seasons playing for the now merged County and Town teams under the current Rotherham United club name. However 1927-28, when he played 44 games missing only 2, proved his last (for reasons unknown, I’d suggest at 33 years old he’d simply decided to retire), with his final record of scoring 12 goals in 348 appearances over the nine year period. No doubt in doing so he set a club record of League appearances that would have held for a few seasons!
NB the photograph shows Bailey playing Army football while still in the Army, playing for The Middlesex Regiment in 1919.