Overseal, Derbyshire born goalkeeper Jack Kirby began his football career with Newhall United, from where he joinedjoined First Division Derby County in April 1929, making his Football League debut against Newcastle United in April 1930. Initially understudy to Harry Wilkes for three seasons, making only 2 appearances per season, when Wilkes moved to Sheffield United at the end of 1932 he became Derby’s principal goalkeeper.
In 1934 he was part of the Derby side that toured Germany. Kirby defied the German authorities by being the only member of the team to refuse to give the Nazi salute before each game. He was an ever present as Derby finished as League runners up in 1935-36, but lost his place from the start of the 1937-38 season and played only 10 games over the season before he left in August 1938 to become player-manager of Folkestone Town, a position he held until August 1939. In total he played 191 times for Derby County over nine seasons.