A pioneer of football in the North East, William Harrison is perhaps the greatest player to pull on a Redcar shirt. A “hard-working forward” said Charles Alcock’s Football Annual in 1882, Harrison helped to form the town’s original team Redcar and Coatham, becoming their longstanding captain.
Under his stewardship, the team would become one of the most revered clubs in the North of England. They reached five consecutive Cleveland Challenge Cup finals as well as the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
Harrison was rewarded for his hard work by earning multiple call-ups to the famous Sheffield Association representative side, who toured England and Scotland in front of thousands of spectators. On one such occasion, he assisted a goal in Sheffield’s first ever win over Glasgow in front of 10,000 people.
He also earned a place in the North vs South match at Kennington Oval,. These games acted as a trial for selection for the England national team. Unfortunately players like Charles Bambridge, one-time England top scorer and captain, were above him in the pecking order. Harrison never wore the Three Lions.
As well as Redcar, Harrison guested for Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Olympic, facing some of the country’s top clubs in the process.
He moved away from football as he approached his late-twenties, instead focusing on his career. He sadly passed away from tuberculosis aged just 32.