Methil, Fife born full back (he could play either side) Jim Harley began his football career with Hearts O’ Beath in 1933, from where Liverpool manager George Patterson brought him to Anfield in April 1934 as a 17 year old. Harley was a great sprinter and at 18 years of age won the famous Powderhall Handicap, a New Year sprint in Scotland which has been around since 1870. He competed under the pseudonym “J H Mitchell” so Liverpool would not find out about this extracurricular activity. The Liverpool Echo wrote: “Besides a Charles Buchan chest and shoulders he had the strong, but slim undercarriage of the sprinter. Woe betide the speeding winger who thought he could make a race of it and take the ball, Harley took both.”
Harley made his Football League debut against West Bromwich Albion in September 1935 but stayed on the fringes of the Liverpool first team until breaking through on a regular basis from September 1937. However within two seasons his career had been cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, during which he served as a Royal Navy commando and was also decorated for his role at Dunkirk after operating on a destroyer that made repeated trips across the Channel, bringing soldiers in the armed forces home while under fire from German planes.
Harley continued to play wartime football for Liverpool scoring 3 goals in 62 appearances and twice played for Scotland in wartime internationals in 1945, both matches ending in defeat to England, and after the conflict he returned to Liverpool where he played 17 League matches during their 1946-47 League Championship triumph and also played in their FA Cup semi final and replay that saw The Reds lose narrowly to Burnley at Maine Road, Manchester. He played a further season for Liverpool but his contract expired in 1948 after 130 appearances either side of the War and he retired from professional football.