Kiveton Park, Sheffield born full back Jack Butler began his football career with his hometown junior club, Kiveton Park in 1904. He moved on from ‘The Park’ to join Second Division Grimsby Town later in 1904, making his Football League debut against Bristol City in March 1905 initially as a centre forward, scoring twice on his debut and also the following week in a defeat at Manchester United, before a change of position to full back later in 1905, he played both sides, but more often at left back over the next two seasons. Butler made 47 appearances for The Mariners, scoring three goals before he moved to Southern League Plymouth Argyle in the 21907 close season, making his debut at Northampton Town that September, where he became the first choice right back for almost eight years and an extremely reliable performer.
On Boxing Day 1910, Butler was involved in a peculiar moment in Argyle’s history: an outfielder was forced to wear the goalkeeper’s jersey for the whole game, the only such circumstance in the club’s history and one that is unlikely to occur again. Horne was taken ill in London ahead of the match at West Ham, and with Sutcliffe not with the travelling party because he was unwell in Plymouth, Butler played the entire match between the posts. The 4-0 defeat was an inevitable result of the depleted side, which also saw Argyle play with only ten men in the first half, before trainer Tommy Haynes turned out for the second period.
The 1913-14 Plymouth Argyle handbook described Butler as “an evergreen, who retains most of his original speed, while as a genuine whole hearted trier he is unequalled”. The onset of the First World War effectively brought Butler’s career to an end, although he did return to Home Park after the conflict, but without making any further first team appearances to add to his 288 games for The Pilgrims over eight seasons, during which he scored twice.