Hetton-Le-Hole, County Durham born right half Jimmy Hamilton played Army football for The Coldstream Guards in 1922 before joining Second Division club Crystal Palace, for whom he made his Football League debut at Bradford City in October 1923. Despite their relegation in 1924-25, he was part of a decent team that twice finished as runners up in the Third Division (South) in 1929 and 1931, narrowly missing out on promotion. Hamilton missed only two matches in 1927-28 as they finished fifth in the division.
Having lost his place in October 1930, Hamilton played just 5 more matches for Crystal Palace, by when he had scored 5 times in 196 appearances. In the 1931 close season he returned to the north east and joined Third Division (North) cub Hartlepools United, playing two seasons at Victoria Park and scoring twice in 52 appearances before joining non league City of Durham in 1933. He returned to League football with Gateshead in 1934 scoring once in 5 appearances, before finishing his playing career and going into management in July 1935, returning to Hartlepools United as their manager, managing them through to July 1940 when the Second World War effectively ended his football career.