Leigh, Lancashire born right back Jack Fort began his football career with Plank Lane Juniors and Bolton and District League side St Andrew’s Mission before turning professional with Atherton in 1907, where he featured in 37 Lancashire Combination matches in 1910-11. He signed for Southern League Exeter City in the summer of 1911, madking his Exeter debut in a 1-4 home defeat to Swindon Town that October. In his three seasons at Exeter, they finished each season in a mid-table, Fort making 85 appearances for The Grecians. After Exeter’s 1914 summer tour of South America, which took in a game against Brazil (Exeter became the first British team to play there), fellow Southern League club Millwall Athletic signed Fort, along with Fred Whittaker, on 19th August 1914.
His career was interrupted by the onset of the First World War which forced the suspension of peacetime football, but after the conflict was over he resumed with Millwall for their final Southern League season before they joined the Football League Third Division for the 1920-21 campaign, and he played in Millwall’s inaugural Football League match against Bristol Rovers in August 1920, and remained a regular in Millwall’s line up throughout most of the rest of the 1920’s. He played 27 games in 1927-28 as Millwall won the Division Three (South) Championship.
Having made one representative appearance for The Southern League, Fort became the first third tier player to play for England when he was selected to play in a 2-0 friendly win over Belgium in Brussels in May 1921, which proved his only England cap.
Having lost his regular place in 1928-29, when he made only 15 appearances during their maiden Second Division campaign, he played his last match against Bristol City in December 1929, and he retired in 1930 after 266 Football League and Cup appearances from 1920 onwards in addition to his previous Southern League record for Millwall. He continued to be associated with Millwall for the rest of his life in a variety of roles, including coach, trainer, assistant groundsman and scout. still working for the club until a few days before his death on 23rd November 1965, aged 77.
He holds two records at Millwall which are unlikely to be broken. He is the oldest player ever to have played for Millwall in a League match at 42 years of age and he is still Millwall’s longest serving employee having joined from Exeter City in 1914 and staying on in various capacities until his death in 1965, a total of 51 years.
His younger brother, Paul Fort, also played for Millwall, albeit never for their first eleven, making one Football League appearance for Wigan Borough in 1923.