Bolton, Lancashire born left back Horace Fairhurst joined Lancashire Combination club Darwen from Bolton Juniors in 1914, and after the intervention of the First World War, during which he guested for Liverpool, he signed for Second Division Blackpool, for whom he made his Football League debut against Lincoln City in September 1919. He made 57 appearances during 1919 and 1920 but in his twentieth League appearance of the 1920-21 season, on 27th December 1920, Fairhurst suffered a head injury during Blackpool’s single-goal win over Barnsley at Oakwell. At one point it looked as though he would recover, and he reported for training at the Balmoral Hotel for the FA Cup tie at Darlington on 8 January; however, he was deemed “not recovered sufficiently to run the risk of playing him”.
He was initially named in the Blackpool team to face Notts County on New Year’s Day, but he had “a touch of gastritis” and did not travel. He died at home on 7th January 1921 as a result of the injury, with the club stating, “We have lost one of the best backs in England”. He was buried at Tonge Cemetery on 13 January. On 4th May, Blackpool played a benefit match against Preston North End with the proceeds to go to his widow and to the children of his partner at full back, Bert Tulloch, whose wife had died the same weekend as Fairhurst.