Portsmouth, Hampshire born centre forward Jack Vidler joined Plymouth Argyle from the Army and made his Football League debut at Southend United in March 1929, and from his first full season with Argyle he immediately started scoring with unerring regularity. He was a left-sided forward who could unsettle defenders with his determination and bustling style, and in 11 seasons at Home Park he amassed more than 250 appearances and over a century of goals, placing him 6th in the all-time goalscoring list.
In his time at the club he netted six hat-tricks and became one of a select band to have hit four in a game when he scored all the goals in a 4-1 home win over Norwich City in April 1930, with further hat-tricks that season against Watford in the FA Cup and Queen’s Park Rangers, scoring 19 goals in the campaign as Argyle finally won the Third Division (South) Championship and promotion to the Second Division after eight successive top four finishes including 6 runners’ up finishes since 1922.
He played a key role in one of the two instances of the club’s largest victory, a hat-trick in the 8-1 home win against Millwall in January 1932, a week after scoring in the 4-1 FA Cup defeat of Manchester United, scoring 20 goals during the campaign, and three years later he finished the season as the club’s leading scorer with 21 goals when he was an ever present for The Pilgrims during 1934-35.
After 104 goals in 257 appearances, Vidler’s time at Home Park ended with a move to Bristol City in the summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. After the 1939-40 League programme was abandoned, Vidler having played in all 3 of The Robins’ matches at the start of the season, he continued to play for City in the wartime South West Regional League, which included two returns to Home Park at the age of 35 – a 6-0 drubbing for the Bristol club in October 1939 followed by a 10-3 hammering in February 1940 – an unfortunate end to the career of a true Home Park legend.