Of all Chesterfield's players, Harry Clifton came closest to playing for England while technically still a Spireite. He was Reserve for his country for their match in Germany on May 14th., 1938.This game lives in infamy as the one where England's players were told to give the Nazi salute to Hitler before the kick-off by supine members of the Football Association. A few weeks later Harry was sold to Newcastle for a club-record fee.
A natural athlete, full of high spirits and infectiously cheerful, Harry was a permanent tonic to all who came to know him. An early discovery of Harry Dormand, Chesterfield's scout in the north-east, Clifton had tried out unsuccessfully with West Bromwich and was playing for Scotswood when Chesterfield moved in for him ,in August 1933.
He made rapid progress through the reserves at Saltergate and, after one or two first-team games, began a regular run in the side on New Year's Day, 1935.Originally an inside-left, Harry was a key member of the '35-6 Third (North) championship side, but was left out of the team when it opened its Division Two campaign the following season. He was recalled, to the inside-right berth, with the club struggling and, under the tutelage of the experienced Joe Spence, helped the team to safety. In that season's Derbyshire Senior Cup match, he managed to score for both sides within about thirty seconds! Clifton finished as the club's top scorer in '37-8, with 26 goals; this brought him to the attention of England's selectors and Newcastle's scouts. Returning to his native north-east for a record fee received for Chesterfield, Harry took life at St. James's Park in his stride and looked well set for a long career with the Magpies when war intervened.
Before embarking for four years' army service in the Middle East he played and scored in England's first wartime international. After one post-war season at Newcastle and three at Grimsby he retired from the full-time game and returned to Chesterfield to work at Sheepbridge and the Tube Works before a spell at the Arkwright Colliery. In March, 1968, Harry was invited to become the first Steward of the newly-built Saltergate Club. In later years he returned to Tyneside and died in Newcastle in 1998, at the age of 84.
For Chesterfield: 121 league appearances, 67 goals.