Birkenhead, Cheshire born inside forward (mainly an inside right but in his later career frequently appearing at inside left) Harold Hinton began his football career with hometown Combination club Tranmere Rovers in 1908 before signing for First Division club Bolton Wanderers in 1909, making his Football League debut against Bristol City in April 1910 towards the end of a season in which Bolton suffered relegation. Now in the Second Division, Hilton came into the first team early in the new season, and had his most successful season for The Trotters as they finished runners up in the Second Division, gaining immediate promotion, with Hilton scoring 13 goals in 30 League appearances during the campaign including goals in five wins in their last eight matches which sealed promotion.
Back in the top flight, Hilton remained on the fringes of the first team, despite 6 goals in 16 matches in 1911-12. He then had a spell back at Tranmere Rovers during 1912-13, helping them to win The Combination Championship in 1913-14 before he returned to Bolton Wanderers in 1914, playing a dozen matches either side of New Year in theeir final season before the First World War’s onset forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915, by when , Hilton had scored 24 goals in 64 appearances for Bolton Wanderers.
After a spell with non league club Mossley he returned to Burnden Park after the War, but played only once more for the first team in a draw at Arsenal in October 1919, before returning to Tranmere Rovers, by now in The Central League. When they were invited into the Football League to help form the Third Division (North) in 1921, Hilton played in their first three League seasons, scoring 5 goals in 53 appearances before his retirement in 1924, having acted as Tranmere Rovers’ player manager in 1923-24 during his final season at Preston Park.