Smith JR “Jack” Image 3 Kilmarnock 1920

Smith JR “Jack” Image 3 Kilmarnock 1920


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Centre forward John Reid “Jack” Smith was born in Pollokshaws, to the south of Glasgow and played youth football with Battlefield Juniors in 1013, before joining Albion Rovers in 1914. From there he moved on to Kilmarnock in 1919, where he scored seven of their 14 goals on the way to winning the Scottish Cup in 1920, including scoring the third goal for Kilmarnock in the Final when they defeated his former team Albion Rovers 3-2.

Following a disagreement with Kilmarnock, Smith joined Cowdenbeath in 1921, where during 1921-22, he netted 45 goals as they finished runners-up in Division Two. At the season’s end he joined Rangers for £3,000, making his debut at Ibrox Park on 15th August 1922, scoring in a 2-0 victory over Alloa Athletic. He only made two further appearances for Rangers, scoring once more, before losing his place to Geordie Henderson. Bolton Wanderers signed him three months later. Smith arrived at Burnden Park in November 1922 as a replacement centre-forward for Frank Roberts who had joined Manchester City. He scored an 89th minute winner on his debut, against Manchester City, but quickly became thought of as a “crock”, for he always appeared to be limping. Despite this, he managed to get his fair share of goals, scoring 21 goals in 35 games in the 1924-25 season, thus helping Bolton to finish in third place in the First Division table.

He netted Bolton’s second goal in the 1923 FA Cup Final against West Ham United. The goal was scored in controversial circumstances when outside-forward Ted Vizard played the ball into a central position and Smith shot past Hufton in the West Ham goal. West Ham’s players claimed that the ball had not entered the goal but rebounded into play from the goalpost, but referee D. H. Asson overruled them, stating that in his view the ball had entered the goal but then rebounded off a spectator.

Smith won another FA Cup winners’ medal in the 1926 Final in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City. However, after the arrival of Harold Blackmore, Smith found it difficult to hold his place in the first team and in March 1928, after 87 goals in 174 appearances, Bury paid £1,500 for him. The Shakers were still in the First Division and Smith netted a hat-trick on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday. At Bury he scored 112 goals in 169 games before joining Rochdale in August 1933, where he stayed a single season netting 8 goals in 26 appearances. He joined non league Ashton National in 1934, subsequently playing for Whistons Temperance in 1935. In 1939 he was appointed assistant trainer at Cardiff City, who were managed by another ex-Wanderer, Bill Jennings.

His son (Jack Denver Smith) and grandson (Barry Smith) also played for Bolton Wanderers.

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