Newcastle born centre half George Harkus played junior football for Nun’s Moor before the First World War and after the conflict joined Edinburgh Emmet in 1919 and played for Scotswood in 1920. He turned professional with Aston Villa in February 1922 and made his Football League debut at Huddersfield Town in April 1922. But his opportunities at Villa Park were limited to three further games the next season and he signed for Southampton for £250 in May 1923. He made his first team debut for The Saints at The Dell on 19th January 1924 replacing Alec Campbell at left half in a 6-0 victory over Barnsley. and he featured in their FA Cup semi final defeats of 1925 and 1927 to Sheffield United and Arsenal respectively.
Although Harkus never received full international honours he came close, joining an F.A. Tour of Canada in 1926, along with team-mates Michael Keeping and Bill Rawlings.
He became Club Captain and was described by Holley & Chalk in their 1987 book on Southampton as “a man of dynamic personality”and “tremendously energetic and enthusiastic, he was a natural captain who put so much into a game that, when the 90 minutes were up, he was often all in.”
He decided to quit Southampton in 1930, and spent a period playing football in France with Olympique Lyonnais, returning to play for Southampton for 2 more games in February 1932 as a result of an injury crisis. In total he played 235 times for The Saints, scoring 5 goals. He finished his career becoming player-coach at Southport in September 1932 although he never played for their first team. He was later awarded an MBE for his wartime work with the RAF for “keeping up the morale in the forces whilst stationed in the Middle East” during the Second World War.