Spennymoor born wing half Jimmy Leach joined Newcastle St Wilfred’s in 1908, moving in 1910 to join hometown club Spennymoor United and then in 1911 Spen Black & White. He was spotted by First Division Aston Villa and signed for the club in 1912, making his Football League debut at Sheffield United in December of that year. He scored his first goal for Aston Villa the following March in a 2-1 win at Chelsea, and four weeks later, despite his relative lack of experience, he was picked for the FA Cup Final (as he had been for their 1-0 win over Oldham Athletic at Ewood Park in the semi final) as Aston Villa won the FA Cup, beating Sunderland 1-0 in a bad tempered Final at The Crystal Palace.
Leach was a Villa regular in the two further seasons leading to the suspension of peacetime football due to World War One, and while he resumed with Aston Villa in 1919, he only made 2 further first team appearances in February 1921 in a 7-1 implosion at Burnley, and in October 1921 in a 5-0 defeat at Middlesbrough. He was released in the summer of 1922 after 3 goals in 76 appearances for Villa and joined Queen’s Park Rangers, however he only played in the opening day fixture against Watford in August 1922 and thereafter left the professional game.