Clayton, Manchester born outside right Harry Stafford began his football career with Manchester Zion and Openshaw before the end of the First World War and signed for Central League club Stalybridge Celtic in March 1919. When Stalybridge joined the Third Division (North) in 1921, Stafford made his Football League debut at Walsall that October and scored once in 22 appearances before the season end as Stalybridge finished seventh in the division. He was a regular in 1922-23, scoring once more in 37 further matches before Celtic lost their League status at the season end.
Before then, however, Stafford had joined Manchester United in March 1923, where he was a reserve team player and never made a first team appearance, before a transfer to Crewe Alexandra in June 1924. He had a single season at Gresty Road, scoring once in 22 appearances, but he wasn’t retained and played once for Accrington Stanley as a trialist against Halifax Town in October 1925 before leaving professional football.