Batley, Yorkshire born centre forward Jack Smith started his football career with Whitehall Printeries in 1930 and played for Dewsbury Moor Welfare in 1931 before signing for First Division Huddersfield Town in June 1932, making his Football League debut at Chelsea in January 1933, scoring in a 1-0 victory. An impressive 9 goals in 15 appearances in his debut season was followed by 15 goals in 25 games in 1933-34 as they finished runners up in the League Championship, but he had played only 6 more times (without scoring) in the 1934-35 season when Newcastle United signed him in September 1934 shortly after their relegation to the Second Division.
He was one of manager Tom Mather’s first signings for Newcastle, scoring on his debut at Plymouth Argyle, and although he couldn’t inspire them to a return to the top flight, he maintained an impressive scoring record during his time at St James’ Park, and he was the club’s leading scorer for his first three seasons with The Toon. His 73 goals in 112 appearances included a hat-trick at Bury in November 1935, 4 goals against Doncaster in November 1936 and another hat-trick at Norwich a month later.
Smith was transferred to Walter Crickmer’s Manchester United for a club record £6,500 at the start of February 1938. He scored on his debut in a win over Barnsley at Oakwell on 2nd February, scoring 8 goals before the end of the season as United finished as Second Division runners up and were thus promoted back into the top flight, Smith scoring 6 goals as United consolidated their status in the First Division. The outbreak of World War Two then meant that the Football League was suspended for seven whole seasons. Smith was a prolific scorer in War League football for United, scoring 156 goals in unofficial games for them, and he also guested for Burnley and Blackburn Rovers. After the War he played in the 1946 FA Cup for United, scoring once, before being transferred to Blackburn Rovers in March 1946 after 15 goals in 42 appearances.
He had less than a single League season at Ewood Park, scoring 12 goals in 34 appearances, before he was signed by Gordon Hodgson’s Port Vale for a four-figure fee in May 1947. He scored on the penultimate day of the 1946-47 season, in a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace at The Old Recreation Ground. Smith enjoyed regular football until he pulled a stomach muscle in November 1947, which kept him out of action for four months. He recovered by March 1947 and regained his first team spot, but refused new terms at the end of the 1947-48 season and was transferred to Cheshire County League side Macclesfield Town, having scored 11 goals for the Valiants in 30 appearances.