Bradford born goalkeeper Charles Sutcliffe began his football career with Heckmondwike in 1910 and joined Halifax Town in 1911, spending two seasons at The Shay before joining York City in 1913. After the First World War he was with Leeds City, but hadn’t made a first team appearance when the club was disbanded in October 1919, whereafter he joined Second Division Rotherham County, initially as understudy to Jimmy Branston. He made his Football League debut against South Shields in October 1920, his only first team opportunity in the 1920-21 season. When Branston joined Preston North End in March 1922, Sutcliffe assumed the gloves as undisputed number one, and he was an ever present during 1922-23 and 1923-24.
After 106 appearances for Rotherham County, he was signed by Sheffield United in September 1924, who were seeking a successor to Harold Gough, and in his first season he made 40 appearances including keeping goal in the 1925 FA Cup Final as The Blades beat Cardiff City 1-0 at Wembley. However Sutcliffe lost the gloves from the start of the new season to Jack Alderson and made only 11 more appearances before leaving Bramall Lane in 1926.