Wolverhampton born centre half Harry Wilding has one of those faces among 1920’s footballers that are both memorable and reminiscent of the hardships of the time. He was first joined the books at First Division Chelsea in April 1914 but the First World War soon interrupted his career and he played football while serving during the First World War with The Grenadier Guards, where he gained a Military Medal and bar for his bravery. He then returned to Stamford Bridge in 1919, making his Football League debut at Everton that August and becoming straight away a key member of Chelsea’s first eleven.
Described as “equally at home in either the forward or half back line… he has frequently been taken from half back to forward with beneficial results in attack”, he missed relatively few games during his first five seasons in the First Division, but when The Pensioners were relegated in 1924 his role was reduced as various other players were tried at centre half, latterly George Rodger and Jack Townrow were generally preferred.
He signed for Tottenham Hotspur in November 1928 having played a total of 265 matches, scoring on 25 occasions in all competitions for Chelsea, but only featured in 12 matches for Spurs during 1928-29, scoring a single goal on his third appearance, a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest at White Hart Lane. After leaving White Hart Lane, Wilding joined Bristol Rovers in April 1930 where he ended his playing career without appearing for their first team.
NB in the photograph, Wilding (centre) and Jimmy Croal (right) watch Jack Cock sign an autograph.