Scottish born inside right John Harvie began his football career with Renton and first joined Sunderland in January 1889, making his Football League debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 1890. During his first spell with The Waersiders he scored twice in 17 appearances including a goal in the 1891 FA Cup semi final in a 3-3 draw with Notts County at Bramall Lane. Harvie didn’t play in the replay perhaps through injury, and returned to Scotland later in 1891 to join Clyde.
Harvie returned to Wearside for Sunderland’s 1892-93 campaign and was a regular as the “Team of All Talents” won the League Championship, and was again a mainstay as they finished runners up defending the title. But he only played 8 matches during their 1894-95 campaign when they again won the League Championship, but regained his place in the first team in October 1895 and had two further seasons at Sunderland before joining Second Division club Newcastle United in May 1897 after 15 goals in 108 appearances for them across both spells.
At Newcastle he was a regular as they won promotion in their 1897-98 campaign, finishing as Second Division runners up and beating Stoke and Blackburn Rovers in the Test matches, however back in the top flight Harvie played in only 3 early season matches before retiring in 1899 after scoring 10 goals in 35 appearances for The Toon.