Norton-in-the-Moors, Staffordshire born goalkeeper Harry Holdcroft played for local clubs Biddulph and Norton Druids in 1924, and Whitfield Colliery in 1925 before joining Port Vale as an amateur in August 1926, signing professional forms the following month. He made his Football League debut in February 1927 against Hull City and had only played ten Second Division matches for Vale before being handed a free transfer to Third Division (North) club Darlington in May 1928. He was the firm first choice for Darlington and played 85 matches for The Quakers in his three years at Feethams.
In the summer of 1931 he was signed by First Division club Everton. The Toffees won the League Championship in 1931-32, however Holdcroft failed to get into the first team at Goodison Park with Ted Sagar a near ever present, and he moved to Second Division club Preston North End a year later. He didn’t dislodge incumbent George Wolf until December 1932 but then went on to play in 172 consecutive League and Cup matches for The Lambs. He helped the club to win promotion as Second Division runners up in 1933-34.
He won his first international cap when Holdcroft was selected to play for England against Wales at Ninian Park on 17th October 1936. The following month he won a second international cap against Ireland in a 3-1 victory at The Victoria Ground, Stoke.
However he missed out on the 1937 FA Cup Final defeat to Sunderland when his deputy, Mick Burns, took over the gloves with Holdcroft injured in early April, however the next year Holdcroft played in the 1938 FA Cup Final victory over Huddersfield Town at Wembley, keeping a clean sheet over 120 minutes in a 1-0 win. The outbreak of the Second World in September 1939 ended his Preston career after 293 appearances for The Lambs.
During the War he guested for Accrington Stanley, Barnsley, Burnley, Bury, Oldham Athletic, Manchester United and Southport, and after the War he played 6 times in the 1945-46 FA Cup for Barnsley. before finishing his career playing with non league clubs Morecambe in 1946, Chorley in 1947 and Leyland Motors in 1948 before his eventual retirement.
NB This photograph was taken during England’s match against Wales at Ninian Park on 17th October 1936. Wales won 2-1.