Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday August 4 2014
It's back to the 1920's and 30's for this chapter in the Where Are They Now series with a look at the career of defender Jack Hill.
JACK HILL - Born 2nd March 1897 Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham.
Jack was born into a coal mining family and when he left school he began working down the pit. He combined his job with playing amateur football for Durham City as a centre half.
1920-21 was to be Argyle's first season of league football after leaving the Southern League at the end of the previous season. Manager Bob Jack was looking for an imposing central defender, and working down the pit had given Jack a powerful physique, Bob obviously thought he could step up to professional football and offered him £5 a week to join the club.
Jack didn't play in the opening game of the season, it ended in a 1-1 draw at home to Norwich with Jimmy Heeps having the honour of scoring the first Argyle league goal. Jack made his debut on 8th September in a 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace and was promptly dropped. He returned four games later and scored the goal in a 1-0 win at Gillingham.
Jack, who was known as Ginger to his team mates and fans as a result of his hair colour, then became a regular in the first team and apart from a spell in March hardly missed a game for the rest of the season.
He scored two further goals, with both games ending in 1-1 draws, the first came in late November at Northampton and the other two months later at Grimsby. Despite only scoring three times Jack finished third in the list of scorers with goals hard to come by in the clubs debut season in the league. They were the lowest goal scorers in the division, but to balance it out only two teams conceded less than they did which resulted in them finishing a credible eleventh.
After taking the first season to settle in, 1921-22 was a much better one for the team, mainly thanks to the signing of centre forward Frank Richardson, he scored a hat trick on his debut on the opening game of the season, a 3-1 win at Bristol Rovers, Frank scored another 28 for the season including another two hat tricks.
With Jack at the heart of the defence they did even better than the previous season only conceding 24 goals including 25 clean sheets. Jack managed to score four goals.
On 17th December he scored the last goal in a 4-0 win at home to Southend with Bertie Bowler (2) and Jack Fowler also scoring. In February Jack got the first goal in a 3-0 win at home to Aberdare with Billy Baker and Tommy Gallogley scoring the second and third goals.
The following month he scored the goal in a 1-0 win at Watford. Jack scored his fourth of the season in the final home game, a 4-0 win at home to QPR, after Tommy Gallogley had started the rout Frank Richardson scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season and Jack finished the scoring off. Unfortunately Rangers had their revenge in the final game the following Saturday, winning 2-0 at Loftus Road with Argyle missing out on promotion to Southampton on goal difference.
Argyle started the 1922-23 season in great form, winning eight of the first ten games with Jack scoring three goals before the end of September. He started by scoring the only goal of the game at Home Park against Millwall and followed that up by scoring the first two goals in a 3-0 win at home to Reading, Bert Batten got the third goal.
Jack's impressive performances both in defence and when he joined the attack for corners and free kicks began to get the attention of much bigger clubs.
He was selected to play in a South v North international game, which was an indicator full International honours would follow.
When Division one (Premiership) team Burnley offered £5,450, an enormous fee for a Division 3 player, Argyle accepted.
Jack played his last game for the club on 28th April in a 1-0 win over Newport with fellow defender Moses Russell scoring a rare goal.
Jack may have moved to a club at the top of English of the game, but he settled in to a higher class of football right away. He represented the Football League three times before he was selected for his first England cap, it came on 28th February 1925 in a Home Championship game against Wales with England winning 2-1, also playing in the game for Wales was Jack's former team mate at Home Park, Moses Russell.
The following season he took over as England captain, as far as I know Jack along with Argyle manager Bob Jack's son David are the only two former Argyle players to have captained England at full international level.
England won the first game with Jack wearing the captain's armband, beating Scotland 2-1.
In total Jack played eleven times for England, eight of them as captain.
In October 1928 North East rivals Newcastle and Sunderland both made bids for Jack with Newcastle coming out on top, although it took a record fee of £8,100 to secure his services. It may have been money in the bank for Burnley but without Jack to hold the defence together they were relegated at the end of the season.
While at Turf Moor Jack made 184 appearances and scored 13 goals.
Jack was made the Newcastle captain and soon became a favourite with the fans with his ability to dribble the ball out of defence and provide pin point passes to his forwards.
Unfortunately he got into a dispute with the Newcastle directors which led to him leaving the club after playing 74 league games and scoring two goals was transferred to Bradford City for a fee of £7,500.
He joined Bradford City in June 1931 but in November after playing only eight games and scoring one goal moved to Hull City in a player exchange for Stan Alexander.
After three seasons at Hull he helped them to win the 1932-33 Third Division (North) championship, it was the first and only title he won throughout his long career.
On 1st March 1934 Jack took over as manager after Hadyn Green left the club.
In his first season Hull finished 13th in Division 2, five places below Argyle.
The following season didn't go so well for them with Hull finishing bottom of the league, conceding a colossal 111 goals and only winning twenty points, they only won five games, two of them against Argyle, who finished in seventh and with the four points they dropped to Hull would have finished third.
Hull's failure to survive cost Jack his job and he was dismissed and replaced with David Menzies.
After the Second World War Jack returned to Hull as a scout, staying in the job from 1948 to 1955. When he left Hull he moved to Scarborough where he ran their football pools scheme until he retired in August 1963.
After he retired from football Jack moved to Scotland to live in Helensburgh where he passed away at the age of 75 in April 1972.
Date:Monday August 4 2014
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