Sheerness, Kent born centre forward Ted Harper played non league football for Whitstable Town in 1919 and Sheppey United in 1920 before joining First Division Blackburn Rovers in 1923, making his Football League debut against Chelsea in August 1923, being an ever present during his debut season, scoring 18 goals and being the club’s top scorer. Described as ‘strong and quick’ , his career took off with a remarkable 43 League goals scored in only 37 games in 1925-26, a new Football League record, a season which saw him win his only England cap in April 1926 when he played against Scotland in a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford. His 43 goal haul, still a Blackburn club record haul for a single season, included 5 goals in a 7-1 win at Newcastle United, 4 goals in a 7-0 defeat of Manchester United and two further hat-tricks. He followed this up with 35 goals in 1926-27 with 4 goals against West Ham United, before Sheffield Wednesday bought him in November 1927 after 107 goals in 149 appearances for Rovers.
He scored a hat-trick on his Wednesday debut in a 6-4 win at Derby County but lost his place in their line up after February 1928 and played only 6 more games during their League Championship winning season before joining Tottenham Hotspur in March 1929 for a fee of £5,500 after 16 goals in 22 appearances, breaking the Tottenham club record which had been created only a few weeks earlier when Baden Herod was signed for £4,000 from Brentford. At Spurs he regained his prolific marksmanship scoring 37 goals in 32 appearances in 1930-31 including 5 goals against Reading, 4 against Port Vale and 2 further hat-tricks that season.
He returned to Lancashire when he signed for Preston North End for £5,000 in December 1931 after 63 goals in 67 appearances for Spurs, and managed 26 goals in 27 games in what remained of the season, followed by 37 goals in 1932-33, which included two 4-goal bursts against Burnley and Lincoln City. He finally returned to Blackburn Rovers in November 1933 and played for another year for Rovers, scoring another 15 goals in 28 games, before finishing his career. Harper took on a coaching role at Blackburn following his retirement aged 33.