History: The prolific David Jack – Arsenal’s first ever transfer of over £10,000

David Jack: The first five figure footballer

In 1898 one of the 1920s and 1930s football heroes David Jack was born into a family of already talented footballers to grace the game.

His father Bob had played for Bolton Wanderers during the late 1890s to early 1900s and was their top goalscorer during the 1896/97 season. He later managed Southend United winning the Southern League Second Division double in 1908, before clinching the 1912/13 Southern League First Division and 1929/30 Third Division South at Plymouth Argyle.

The future Arsenal striker would start his career off alongside his dad at Argyle in 1919, becoming a part of the clubs first ever starting line-up to play their opening match in the newly constructed Football League Third Division South. During his time at Plymouth Argyle he netted 15 times in 48 games.

After a season with his dad Bob, David retreated to his hometown team Bolton Wanderers for a figure of £3,500. He would spend eight seasons at Wanderers where he created a menacing partnership up front with Joe Smith where in total the two of them scored over 300 goals together! At The Trotters he became the first player to whip one into the back of the net at the newly made national stadium Wembley during the 1923 FA Cup Final witnessing Bolton beat West Ham United 2-0.

In 1924 Jack secured his first England cap in a 2-1 loss versus Wales, he would end up only playing nine times for his nation across eight years. During that period he skippered England four times scoring on three occasions.

Success in the FA Cup continued at Bolton when in 1926 he lifted his second FA Cup netting the only goal of the match in a narrow 1-0 victory over Manchester City. On top of this he was the Trotters top goalscorer for five of his eight campaigns, snapping up 144 goals in 296 league appearances. At the moment he is Bolton Wanderers third all-time top goalscorer with 161 strikes in 324 games.

In 1928 Bolton found themselves in financial difficulties witnessing legendary Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman come along and signing Jack for £10,647 becoming the first five figure transfer in football.  Chapman brought Jack originally to replace retiring skipper Charlie Buchan who was often hailed at the best footballer in the England until that time. During October of that year Jack made his first Arsenal appearance versus Newcastle United, earning a spot in the starting-line up straight away. By the end of the 1928/29 season Jack was The Gunners top goalscorer a title he was already used to at Bolton.

Towards the end of the 1929/30 campaign Arsenal found themselves in the semi-finals of the FA Cup up against a dogged and determined Hull City who forced The Gunners to overcome a two goal deficit drawing 2-2 taking the tie to a replay days later. Within eleven minutes of the replay Jack who scored Arsenal the winner to advance through to the FA Cup Final against Huddersfield which The North Londoners won 2-0. This saw Jack achieve a unique milestone becoming the first footballer to win the Cup at Wembley with two different sides.

Jack remained a regular talisman in the Arsenal line-up come the start of the 1930s, claiming a personal record of 34 strikes in their 1930/31 First Division winning campaign. He later helped The Gunners to a further two league championships throughout the 1932/33 and 1933/34 seasons. Jack would finish his playing days on a high after winning three league titles at Arsenal with age (30) and fitness no longer serving him anymore.  Overall Jack had accumulated 124 goals in 208 games for The Gunners and is currently tenth in the all-time list of goalscorers at the club.

Jack is also a part of a special club being one of only three players to reach over 100 goals for two English top-flight teams alongside Jimmy Greaves and Alan Shearer.

Within a couple of months of retiring as footballer Jack furthered his career in the game as manager at Southend United where he would remain in charge of till 1940, before going back up North to Middlesbrough for nearly ten seasons from 1944 to 1952.  He then switched to managing League of Ireland club Shelbourne from 1953 to 1955 before retiring from the game completely.

After a successful playing career which saw Jack win three league titles at Arsenal and two FA Cups at Bolton Wanders the great man died three years after retiring from football in 1958.

Liam Harding

CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags David Jack
Top Blog Sponsors