Ashton-under-Lyne born winger Ted Critchley played local football for Spring Gardens and Stockport Union Chapel, joining Cheadle in 1920 and Witton Albion in 1921 before joining Second Division Stockport County in 1922. He made his Football League debut on 9th December 1922, in a 2-0 defeat to Port Vale at The Old Recreation Ground. His second appearance came on the last day of the 1922-23 season, as The Hatters secured their Second Division status with a 3-0 win over Southampton at Edgeley Park. County retained their second tier status in 1923-24 and 1924-25, before finishing bottom of the Second Division in 1925-26. Critchley was too good a player to remain in the Third Division (North) for long in 1926-27. He played 124 games for County scoring 10 goals before being transferred to Everton for a £2,500 fee in December 1926.
In his debut on Christmas Day for The Toffees he provided the crosses for Dixie Dean to score four goals in a 5-4 win against Sunderland. In his first full season at Goodison Park, 1927-28, Everton won the League Championship. He provided many of the passes that enabled Dixie Dean’s record-breaking 60 goals. However Everton dropped to 18th in 1928-29, before being relegated in last place in 1929-30. Everton then won the Second Division Championship in 1930-31 with Critchley scoring a career best 15 goals, and won the First Division title again in 1931-32, Crutchley chipping in with 8 goals. They finished 11th in 1932-33, and Critchley unluckily missed the FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City at Wembley due to injury, after he had scored the winning goal in the semi-final victory over West Ham United at Molineux. The 1933-34 season was his last for Everton and he only made 17 appearances. In all, Critchley scored 42 goals in 230 games for Everton before being transferred to Preston North End in the summer of 1934.
After playing in the first 11 games of the season, scoring once, he lost his place in the Preston team and he was soon transferred to Port Vale with cash in exchange for John Friar in December 1934. However he lost his place in the Vale team in early April 1935, and was released at the end of the season after a single goal in 18 appearances, and moved on to non league South Liverpool in 1935 where he finished his career.