Ashington, Northumberland born left back Jack Milburn began his football career with Seaton Hirst Corinthians in 1925 and played for Spen Black & White in 1926 before joining First Division Leeds United in November 1927, making his Football League debut against Sheffield Wednesday in November 1928. Once he broke into the Leeds team at the start of the following season, he was all but an ever present for 10 seasons, being ever present in 3 of those seasons and missing a single match in another 3. He was also their penalty taker for many years, and only 2 of his 30 goals came from open play. At his peak he was tipped for England honours, but the nearest he got was when he was called into the England squad that toured Czechoslovakia and Hungary in May 1934, but didn’t play in either game. In 1935-36 he scored from the spot nine times in League matches, a club record. He also captained Leeds but, after losing his place to Les Goldberg, he moved to Norwich City in February 1939 for a £2,000 transfer fee, having made 413 appearances for the club.
He made 18 appearances for Norwich prior to the abandonment of peacetime football after the declaration of the Second World War, during which he played for Norwich, Darlington, and Bradford City.
In October 1946 he signed for Bradford City as player-coach to Jack Barker, aged 38. Barker resigned in January 1947 after just eight months in charge leaving Milburn as the natural replacement and becoming the club’s first ever player-manager. Milburn led the club to fifth in Division Three (North) in his first six months in charge, a season in which he scored 3 goals in his final 15 career appearances. The following season the club finished just fourteenth and in July 1948 Milburn handed over to David Steele although he remained at the club as Steele’s assistant.
Of course, he was a member of one of the most famous footballing families in history, indeed the oldest member. He was the brother of George and Jim Milburn, both of whom also played for Leeds United, and of Stan Milburn, who played for Chesterfield, Leicester City and Rochdale. He was the first cousin of Newcastle legend “Wor Jackie” Milburn, and the uncle of England 1966 legends Bobby & Jack Charlton.