Murton, County Durham born goalkeeper Jack Clough’s football career came on the back of his survival of his service during the First World War, where he clearly demonstrated his exceptional bravery, winning a Military Medal and bar. Clough served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the War. He was awarded the Military Medal for “rendering first aid and bringing in wounded comrades from the front lines under continuous enemy shell fire” during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. In October 1918, Clough was awarded a bar to his Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty in action.
After demobilisation, he played for Sunderland club Fatfield Albion from where he joined First Division Middlesbrough in September 1922, making his Football League debut in March 1923 and taking over the ‘Boro gloves from Reg “Tim” Williamson, who had been the incumbent between the Middlesbrough sticks for the previous twenty years. Once Clough had made his debut, Williamson only appeared once more for the club before his retirement. However in Clough’s first full season as number one, Middlesbrough were relegated from the First Division, and despite his consistency over the following two seasons, when he was an ever present in 1924-25 and missed only 3 matches in 1925-26, they didn’t manage better than a mid table finish, before joining Bradford Park Avenue in August 1926 after 128 appearances for Middlesbrough.
At Park Avenue Clough played a remarkable 143 consecutive matches and was an ever present for three seasons before finally missing a match in December 1929. He was described in 1930 as “a goalkeeper who is conversant with every phase in his art, all shots come alike to him. being especially clever in dealing with the cross shot which travels away from him”. Those seasons included Bradford winning the Third Division (North) Championship in 1927-28, the season after which they narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight, finishing third in the Second Division. He remained Bradford’s number one until he lost his place in September 1931, after which he played only 4 more matches before joining Mansfield Town in August 1932 after 222 appearances over six seasons.
After a season at Field Mill, making 30 appearances for Mansfield Town, he returned to the Second Division with Brentford in June 1933, and helped them to finish fourth in the League in 1933-34, before returning to Yorkshire in May 1934 when he joined Rotherham United. Already 37, he was an ever present for The Millers in 1934-35 and remained their principal goalkeeper until losing his place in October 1936, and he played his last match of 99 for Rotherham United in a defeat at Halifax Town in March 1937, in a match when he also made his 500th career appearance.
After retiring as a player, he served Mansfield Town as a trainer between 1939 and 1949.