St Albans, Hertfordshire born outside left Ivan Sharpe was an amateur footballer and a well known sports journalist who began his football career with St Albans Abbey from where he joined Southern League club Watford on amateur forms in 1907, scoring once in 7 appearances for The Hornets. He joined Second Division club Glossop in August 1908. making his Football League debut at Burnley the following month, scoring 3 goals in 17 appearances during the campaign as Glossop finished eighth in the division. He had explosive pace and ran for Salford Harriers while playing at Glossop. He became a regular for The Hillmen the following season missing only one match, and by the time he joined Second Division Derby County in October 1911 he had scored 16 goals in 87 appearances for Glossop. He went straight into Derby’s first team and scored 6 goals in 31 appearances during the rest of the campaign as The Rams won the Second Division Championship.
He was first capped by England Amateurs in a 4-1 win over Switzerland in Bern in May 1911, Sharpe scoring England’s fourth goal. In the absence of Gordon Wright, Sharpe was then selected for Great Britain’s 1912 Olympic team in Stockholm and he played in all three matches as Great Britain won the Gold Medal beating Denmark 4-2 in the Final in July 1912, Sharpe scoring in the semi-final win over Finland. He won 6 further caps for England Amateurs before the First World War scoring 4 goals in those matches and he also played in the 1912 FA Charity Shield as The Amateurs lost heavily to The Professionals at The Den, Millwall in October 1913. He also played in a trial match for the full England team in 1912 but was never selected for full international honours.
Sharpe played one season in the First Division with Derby County before joining Second Division club Leeds City in June 1913 after 12 goals in 57 appearances for Derby County. Sharpe played two seasons for The Peacocks while working for the Yorkshire Evening Post, scoring 17 goals in 65 appearances before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915. During the War he guested for Glossop and scored once in two wartime matches for Leeds City during 1915-16.
After the War he re-joined Glossop, by now no longer a League club, in 1919 and went on to play one match for Leeds United in its inaugural League season playing in a 4-0 win over Coventry City in December 1920, in so doing joining Harry Sherwin, who is the only other player to have played for both Leeds clubs. He then played out his career with Yorkshire Amateurs before his eventual retirement in 1923.
After retirement he enjoyed a long career as a sports journalist, becoming a distinguished football writer and President of the Football Writers’ Association. He served as editor of the Athletic News Football Annual and also of the Athletic News Cricket Annual. In 1936 he was selected by the BBC to be one of two journalists (the other being former Amateur international Norman Creek) who for the first time provided live commentary on the FA Cup Final. He continued to contribute a hard-hitting article to the Wolverhampton Wanderers match day programme for many years right up to his death in 1968. He produced a volume of memoirs “40 Years in Football” in 1954, as well as writing “Soccer Top Ten” in 1962, detailing his ten favorite players.