Stocksbriddge, Sheffield born goalkeeper Jack “Smiler” Smith began his football career with Bolderstone in 1928 and played for Worksop Town in 1929, signing amateur forms for Sheffield Wednesday without playing for them, before turning professional with First Division club Sheffield United in October 1930 as understudy to Jack Kendall. He made his Football League debut against Liverpool in April 1931 as Jimmy Dunne scored all four goals in a 4-1 victory, making the gloves his own from December 1931. He became one of The Blades’ most popular players, always remembered for his cheerful grin, not for nothing was he nicknamed “Smiler”.
Despite missing almost all of the 1934-35 season after United’s relegation the season before, he returned to be The Blades’ principal glovesman in 1935-36, a season which saw Sheffield United get to Wembley only to be beaten 1-0 by Arsenal in the 1936 FA Cup Final. He then helped The Blades to promotion in 1938-39 as Second Division runners up, however the Second World War forced the abandonment of League football in September 1939.
Between 1935 and 1949, he made 206 consecutive War interrupted appearances for Sheffield United. In all, Smith played for Sheffield United for 19 years, and in the final match of the 1948-49 season – a County Cup match against Barnsley he was chaired from the field. This was to have been his last appearance for The Blades, but he played two matches the following season and his final match was a Second Division match away at Grimsby Town, played on 24th September 1949, retiring after 381 appearances.
NB in the photograph Smith is beaten by Ted Drake’s winning strike for Arsenal in the 1936 FA Cup Final.