Preston born winger Jim Smith played for Chorley in 1902 and joined Lancashire League rivals Stalybridge Rovers in 1903 before signing for First Division Bury in February 1904, making his Football League debut against Newcastle United the next month. However he made only 6 appearances during his stay at Gigg Lane, and joined Accrington Stanley in 1905. A return to Stalybridge Rovers in 1906 was short lived, and he re-joined Accrington Stanley later the same year before moving to Nelson in 1907, re-joining Chorley in 1908.
He returned to the Football League in March 1909 when he joined Second Division Fulham, where he established himself as a core member of their team over the next several seasons, scoring 11 goals in their 1910-11 campaign which was enough to see him as the club’s leading goalscorer. He continued to play for Fulham until peacetime football was suspended due to the advent of the First World War, scoring 19 goals in 195 appearances for The Cottagers.
For whatever reason he didn’t feature during the 1919-20 season after the resumption of peacetime football, and in May 1920, already aged 33, he joined First Division Arsenal, his debut on the opening day of the 1920-21 campaign in a disappointing 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa – the first of 10 starts that season, Smith scoring his only goal for The Gunners two days later in a home win over Manchester United. However Smith lost his place at the end of September and only played 3 more games in November, and was eventually given a free transfer in the summer of 1921, whereupon he re-joined Chorley where he finished his playing career.