The son of Harry Johnson who had played for Sheffield United and England around the turn of the century, Ecclesfield, Sheffield born centre forward Harry Johnson had served in the Army in the trenches in France, and played for junior club Ecclesfield and in wartime football for Sheffield United, before officially joining First Division Sheffield United in 1919, making his Football League debut in October 1919, scoring in a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. He was a principal goalscorer with Fred Tunstall throughout his twelve seasons at Bramall Lane, scoring 221 goals in 340 matches between 1919 and 1931. He won the FA Cup with Sheffield United in 1925 when they beat Cardiff City in the Final at Wembley, with Fred Tunstall scoring the only goal.
He scored 43 goals in 1927-28 of which 10 came in FA Cup ties as Sheffield United went out at the semi final stage, eventually losing to Huddersfield Town in a 2nd replay at Maine Road. In the fifth round, United were drawn against rivals Sheffield Wednesday. The tie at Hillsborough ended 3-3. In the replay at Bramall Lane on 22nd February 1928, the match belonged to Johnson, in front of 59,447 spectators, he became the first player to score 3 goals in a Steel City derby and all in an 18 minute period.
Probably very unfortunate never to have played for England, he did represent The Football League, playing in a 9-1 thrashing of The Irish League at St James’ Park in September 1927, scoring a hat-trick, with all of their goals being scored by half time!
Johnson has the unusual distinction of being the all-time leading goalscorer for two different clubs. He is Sheffield United’s all-time leading League goalscorer with 201 League goals in 313 League appearances, which he scored between 1919 and October 1930 (he played his last game for The Blades in May 1931 at Sunderland before joining Mansfield that summer), and holds the same record at Mansfield Town, with 104 goals scored between 1931 and 1935, although their overall record is held by Chris Staniforth. At Mansfield he scored more than 30 goals in each of his first two seasons, and in total managed 114 goals in 172 appearances for The Stags, retiring in 1936 aged 37 years old having been their leading goalscorer in all but his final season at Field Mill. He also jointly holds the Sheffield United record for most goals in a game – five against West Ham United in December 1927.
His younger brother Tom Johnson also had a long career with The Blades, although their respective spells at Bramall Lane only overlapped briefly.