West Derby, Liverpool born inside left Jack Balmer was spotted by First Division Everton when playing for Collegiate Old Boys and joined Everton as an amateur in 1934-35 but didn’t make their first eleven, opting to join Liverpool in August 1935, making his Football League debut at Leeds United that September. He had three seasons as a first team regular before the Second World War’s outbreak in September 1939, and was an ever present in Liverpool’s final campaign in 1938-39, scoring 14 goals during the campaign. It was during the War, which robbed him of the best years of his career, that he gained his only international recognition playing for England in an wartime match verses Wales at the Recreation Ground in front of a crowd of 17,000 on 18th November 1939, England won 3-2 with Balmer scoring one of England’s goals.
Balmer played for Liverpool both sides of the Second World War, and was a key part of Liverpool’s 1946-47 League Championship triumph, scoring a career best 24 League goals in 39 games that season, forming a fine partnership with Albert Stubbins. It was during that season that he scored hat-tricks in three successive First Division matches in November 1946 against Portsmouth, Derby and Arsenal. Balmer completed his hat-trick in the sixty-eighth minute when the score was 2-2. “All that was needed now was a Balmer goal to make three hat-tricks in succession,” reported the Echo. “No sooner had the words been spoken than Eastham started the run which produced an angled chance for Balmer, who veered to the right, and put the ball into the net to the biggest cheer Anfield has ever known in its long history. Having scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks, and 10 goals in three matches, Balmer must have established a record which will stand for many a year. He was mobbed by his delighted teammates.”
He became the third player to achieve that feat in the top division; first to do so was Tottenham’s Tommy Jennings in 1925 with Frank Osborne at Leeds following in his footsteps in 1926, no-one has since scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks in the top flight. Balmer, who was intelligent and very skillful, was given the captaincy in the 1947-48 season and continued to score for fun along with Stubbins. He also played in the 1950 FA Cup Final which Liverpool lost 2-0 to Arsenal at Wembley. After scoring 111 goals in 313 appearances through to his final match in February 1952, Balmer retired from the game after averaging exactly a goal every 2.8 appearances for the Reds.
His uncles Bob and Billy Balmer both played at full back for Everton in the first decade of the century.