Boston, Lincolnshire born outside right Jack Manning began his football career playing amateur football for Boston Lindum, Boston Swifts in 1903 and Boston Town in 1904 before signing professional forms with Second Division Hull City in April 1905, making his Football League debut against Stockport County that November, having made his senior debut two weeks earlier in an FA Cup victory at Denaby United. He became a regular in The Tigers’ line up during which time he was mentioned as an “excellent forward” and Hull’s “most dangerous man” as it took Tottenham Hotspur two replays to eliminate them from the 1907 FA Cup by a single goal.and he remained a Tiger until he was signed by Bradford Park Avenue in August 1907 after 9 goals in 62 appearances for Hull City.
Bradford Park Avenue was a newly founded club, who had been accepted into the Southern League for the 1907-08 season despite being based in Yorkshire. Manning scored in the opening match, a 3-1 win away at Reading, scored again four days later at Watford, and again in Bradford’s first home fixture, also against Watford. Bradford joined the Football League the next season and he had two seasons of League football at Park Avenue, playing in their inaugural League fixture against former club Hull City in September 1908 and the next month Manning scored a hat-trick in an 11-0 FA Cup romp at non league Denby Dale, but after 12 goals in 50 appearances he transferred to Rochdale in July 1910, whom he assisted to the Lancashire Combination Championship in 1911.
Manning joined Lincoln City in August 1911, and spent the 1911-12 season playing in the Central League after The Imps had failed to be re-elected to the Football League. Manning’s 11 goals contributed to Lincoln winning the Central League title that season and to reaching the second round of the FA Cup, in which they lost by the odd goal to Wolverhampton Wanderers. He remained with the club after their re-election to the Football League in 1912 and played regularly until the First World War put an end to competitive football for the duration in May 1915, by when he had scored 9 goals in 95 appearances in their League seasons.
After the resumption of peacetime football he spent the first post-war season with newly elected Second Division club Rotherham County, joining them in August 1919, for whom he played 5 matches, all defeats, before joining Queens Park Rangers in July 1920, his fourth club playing its debut season in the Football League. He began the season in the reserve team, and after a 4-2 win against Arsenal’s reserves, the Daily Express reported that “if he continues to exhibit the form displayed yesterday, he should soon fill a vacancy in the first eleven. His accurate passing with his wing and centre men and the manner in which he made rings round The Arsenal defence were worthy of attention.” Called up for first-team duty for the visit to Swansea Town in October, Manning scored Rangers’ third goal in a 3-1 victory, and also scored in each of the next two games. He remained a regular member of the first team, and finished the season with 5 goals from 24 appearances for Rangers, before returning to his hometown to play for Boston Town in the summer of 1921, already in his mid 30’s.