Derby born goalkeeper Horace Bailey joined Derby County in 1899 without making a first eleven appearance before spending seven years in East Midlands junior football with Crich, Ripley Athletic and Leicester Imperial. He came to the notice of Second Division Leicester Fosse who signed him in the summer of 1907, with his debut coming against Wolves that September. His three seasons at Leicester saw 70 appearances, with Leicester promoted to the First Division as Second Division runners up in his first season but immediately relegated the following year, and Bailey was in goal as they lost 12-0 at Nottingham Forest towards the season end.
In February 1908 he was selected to play for England Amateurs against Wales at Edgeley Park, the first of 5 amateur international caps through to February 1913. He represented Great Britain playing all 3 matches at the 1908 London Olympics as they won the Gold medal, beating Denmark in the Final, and was also a non playing reserve in 1912, when Great Britain also won Gold. He also won 5 full England caps between March and June 1908, playing firstly in a 7-1 win against Wales at Cardiff, and then playing in 4 matches on the May tour of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia, Bailey watching on as England rattled in 35 goals while conceding only 3!
He re-joined Derby County in April 1909 but made only 3 appearances, then had a gameless spell at Blackburn Rovers, bolstering their options while incumbent Jimmy Ashcroft recovered from an eye injury, before joining non league Stoke in 1910, at the time playing in both the Birmingham & District League and in the Southern League. From there he joined Birmingham in February 1911, making 53 appearances for The Blues before retirement at the end of 1912-13.
During the First World War, he enlisted with the Royal Engineers 109th Railway Company, reaching the rank of corporal, and was posted to Italy.