Blackwell, Worcestershire born inside forward Jimmy Birch joined Stourbridge in 1907 moving to Aston Villa in 1911 and made his Football League debut for Villa against Sheffield Wednesday in October 1911. Although Birch scored 49 goals for Villa’s reserves in two seasons he was only a fringe player at the Midlands club making only 3 first team appearances, and this form prompted Southern League Queen’s Park Rangers to sign him in 1912, he was signed by QPR manager James Cowan, a stalwart of his former club Aston Villa.
Birch was small in stature – only 5 feet 7 inches – but he was a stocky and bustling inside forward. He made his QPR debut in the September against Plymouth Argyle and scored both goals in a 2-1 win. Had the First World War not intervened it is very possible that he would have played in excess of 500 games for QPR and ended up as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Although never really prolific he was an extremely consistent goalscorer who could usually be relied on to score 15+ goals a season. He went on to make 363 appearances for Rangers, scoring 144 goals. He stands third in the all-time list of leading scorers at QPR. In 1926 he was transferred to Brentford, where he never made their first eleven before retirement.
NB slight mis-spelling on his surname!