Seaton Delaval, Northumberland born right half Harry Wake began his football career playing for junior sides Bigges Main Colliery and Birtley at the end of the First World War and signed for First Division club Newcastle United in May 1919, making his Football League debut against Manchester City in April 1920. He made one further appearance before the season end and played in just one further match at Bradford City in April 1922 before being signed by First Division rivals Cardiff City for £200 in May 1923.
After his debut for The Bluebirds in a draw at Tottenham Hotspur in February 1924, he established himself in the Cardiff line up from the following month, and in their 1924-25 campaign he played 31 League matches and in all 8 cup ties as Cardiff City reached the 1925 FA Cup Final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield United at Wembley. It was a mistake from Wake that cost his team the match. United defender Harry Pantling hit a long pass down the pitch towards an area of the field Wake was covering but he hesitated and failed to cut out the pass, leaving the ball to fly past him into the path of Fred Tunstall, who scored the only goal of the game.
Wake was less regular over the next four seasons, and began to sometimes appear at inside right from December 1926, and in their 1926-27 campaign he again played in their Cup run that led to the 1927 FA Cup Final, including scoring as Cardiff beat Reading in the semi final at Molineux to reach Wembley. However he was not fit to be selected for the Final as he suffered damage to his kidneys in a 3-2 win against Sheffield Wednesday in a League match a week before the Final, a match in which he scored as Cardiff won 3-2.
Despite their relegation in 1929, after which he reverted to right half, Wake continued to play for Cardiff until June 1931 when, after 10 goals in 166 appearances for The Bluebirds he joined newly elected Third Division (North) club Mansfield Town, playing in The Stags’ first ever League match in a win over Swindon Town that August, making 21 appearances for them during a single season at Field Mill. He then had a brief spell with Gateshead without making their first eleven, and also played in the first ever match played by newly founded Cheshire League club Wigan Athletic against Port Vale Reserves on 27th August 1932, following the collapse of the previous club, Wigan Borough, his last known club before his eventual retirement.
NB this photograph shows Cardiff City goalkeeper Tom Farquharson gathering the ball in a match against Arsenal at Highbury on 17th October 1925. In the distance far left is Cardiff’s Fred Keenor, the player immediately behind Farquharson is Jack Page, the dark shirted Arsenal forward is Jimmy Brain and the blond Cardiff City player on the right is Harry Wake.