Derby born wing half Jack Nicholas was one of the key figures in the successful period Derby County enjoyed in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He joined his hometown club as a youth in 1926 and turned professional in December 1927, making his Football League debut at Blackburn Rovers in December 1928. Initially a fringe player, he got into the Derby line-up in mid September 1931, and from then until the abandonment of peacetime football due to the outbreak of the Second World War he amazingly only missed 3 games, being ever present in the rest of his breakthrough season and in four of the other seven. He was a member of Derby County’s FA Cup semi final team of 1933 beaten 3-2 by Manchester City at Leeds Road, Huddersfield.
In 1935-36 he was an ever present as The Rams finished League Championship runners up. When the Second World War forced the abandonment of peacetime football he acted as Derby’s caretaker manager between 1942 and 1944. After the War Nicholas, by then playing at right back, played and captained Derby in 11 cup ties that finished with them winning the 1946 FA Cup Final at Wembley, beating Charlton Athletic 4-1 after extra time. It remains Derby’s only FA Cup triumph. He made his final appearance for The Rams in April 1947, having scored 17 times in 386 appearances over 19 years at the club. He later acted as Chief Scout.