Little Hulton, Salford, Lancashire born centre forward Jimmy Hampson was a considerable 1930’s star who met a tragic early death at the height of his career and is to this day Blackpool’s all time record goalscorer with 252 goals in 373 games for The Seasiders. He started with junior clubs Little Hulton St John’s in 1922, Ogden Primitive Methodists in 1923 and Walker Primitive Methodists in 1924, before joining Third Division (North) club Nelson in June 1925 making his Football League debut against Southport that September, scoring in a 3-3 draw. In late December 1925/early January 1926 he scored 3 hat-tricks in 4 games against Tranmere Rovers, Wigan Borough and Crewe Alexandra, and the following season another 25 goals followed, including 4 in a 7-1 thrashing of Crewe and a treble against Accrington Stanley.
After 44 goals in 66 appearances for Nelson, Blackpool signed him in October 1927 for £1,000, Hampson scored on his debut at Notts County. He quickly became popular at Bloomfield Road and scored 5 goals against Reading in November 1928. After scoring 40 goals the year before, in 1929-30 Blackpool won the Second Division Championship and were promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history. Hampson was the top goalscorer in England with an incredible 46 strikes in 44 League and Cup games.
Hampson was first capped by England in October 1930, scoring against Ireland, and grabbed a brace a few weeks later against Wales. His final cap came in December 1932 against Austria when he also scored twice as England won 4-3. He also scored 9 goals in 4 representative games for The Football League as well as playing in the Jubilee Celebration match in May 1935.
Despite his consistent supply of goals Blackpool struggled in the First Division finishing 20th two seasons running in 1931 and 1932 and then bottom in 1933. His form suffered until a resurgence in partnership with Bobby Finan that saw him ever present and score 16 times in 1936-37 and Blackpool were again promoted to the First Division. The following season ended tragically early for Hampson, when in January 1938 two days after an FA Cup tie, while on a fishing trip, his boat was in collision with another vessel and he was knocked overboard. He drowned aged 31, and his body was never recovered.
NB this rather charming cartoon shows Hampson with George Stevenson of Motherwell and Cyril Spiers of Tottenham Hotspur.