Conisbrough, Yorkshire born centre half Jack Barker started his career with Rawmarsh League Denaby Rovers in 1926. He joined Midland League side Denaby United for one season in 1927 before he signed for Derby County for £200 in April 1928, making his Football League debut against Bury the same December. He soon became a regular in Derby’s season run in, and although he made only 14 appearances as The Rams finished as League Championship runners up in 1929-30, he became a crucial member of the team and the club’s captain during the club’s best period of consistency throughout much of the 1930’s, and although (unlike the 1970’s team) they never won the League Championship they spent most of the decade in the League’s top 6 and were runners up for a second time in 1936.
He was first selected for England playing in a 4-0 win over Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff in September 1934 and won 11 caps in total, being captain in the last of those internationals, a 2-1 defeat to Wales at Ninian Park in October 1936. He also played three times for The Football League.
He played 356 games for The Rams, scoring twice, up until the outbreak of the Second World War, retiring in late 1939 due to an ankle injury. He did return to the playing field during the War, when he represented the Physical Training Corps, as well as the Derby Borough Police.
After the War he was appointed manager of Bradford City in May 1946 but resigned in January 1947 despite the team doing well. He later became manager at Dundalk in December 1947, he was briefly a coach at Oldham Athletic for three months from November 1948, and finally returned to The Baseball Ground as manager from November 1953 until his resignation in April 1955.