Greasbrough, near Rotherham born centre forward Jack Lambert started his career playing Army football in 1919 and played junior football for Greasborough in 1920 and Methley Perseverance in 1921 before, having had an unsuccessful trial with Sheffield Wednesday, signing for Rotherham County in 1922. He scored on his Football League debut, and only appearance for Rotherham’s first team, in a 1-0 victory at Bradford City in April 1923. He soon made a move to Leeds United, but spent only a single season at Elland Road with little success, playing once for the first team. He finally came to prominence after becoming a regular goalscorer for Doncaster Rovers, joining the club in January 1925 and scoring 13 goals in 44 appearances. Playing in Yorkshire, he had attracted the attention of Herbert Chapman when the latter was manager of Huddersfield Town. When Chapman became Arsenal manager, in needing a quality centre-forward, he signed Lambert for £2,000 in June 1926.
He made 16 appearances in his first season with the club, but only scored once. He also made 16 appearances in the 1927-28 season, scoring three times, and 1928-29 saw one goal in 6 outings. He became a regular for the club towards the end of the 1929-30 season, scoring 18 times in only 20 League appearances. Lambert was also prolific in the FA Cup campaign of that season, helping Arsenal to reach the 1930 FA Cup Final. Arsenal went on to triumphantly lift the FA Cup winning 2-0 against Huddersfield Town, with goals from Lambert and Alex James, the club’s first FA Cup triumph. He also played in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Charity Shield at Stamford Bridge in October 1930.
The following 1930-31 season Lambert was even more successful, scoring 38 goals in just 34 games in the League. This was a club record at the time, later broken by Ted Drake, that included a total of seven hat-tricks. Lambert’s feats helped see Arsenal win the League Championship that season, for the first time in the club’s history. Lambert continued to play for Arsenal over the next few years, with regular goalscoring. These scoring feats included five goals netted in a 9-2 defeat of Sheffield United, the most ever scored by an Arsenal player in a single home match. Lambert eventually helped Arsenal reach a third FA Cup Final, a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United in 1931-32, and won a second First Division title in 1932-33, scoring 14 goals in 12 League appearances.
By now Lambert was over 30 and only a bit-part player (Ernie Coleman having led the front line through most of 1932-33), and the signing of Jimmy Dunne in September 1933 forced Lambert out of the side; his last game came on 13th September 1933 against West Bromwich Albion and he was sold in October 1933 to Fulham. In all he scored 111 goals in 162 games for the Gunners, being the joint highest scorer of hat-tricks for the club as well with 11.
Lambert played for two seasons for Fulham scoring 5 goals in 36 appearances before retiring from playing in 1935. The following year he became coach of Margate (who at the time were Arsenal’s “nursery” club) and returned to Arsenal in 1938 as a coach of the club’s reserve side until his untimely death in a car crash in 1940 aged 38.