Chopwell, County Durham born centre half Jimmy Waugh began his football career with Chopwell Institute in 1920 where he was spotted by First Division Sheffield United who signed both Waugh and fellow defender Bill Sampy for a joint fee of £250 in April 1921. He made his Football League debut against Aston Villa on Boxing Day 1921 but made only 3 appearances in his debut season, becoming a regular in The Blades’ first team from November 1922. He was part of their 1923 FA Cup semi final team beaten 1-0 by eventual winners Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
An ever present in 1923-24 when Sheffield United finished fifth in the League Championship, he lost his regular place due to a neck injury in December 1924 and wasn’t selected for any of The Blades’ FA Cup ties in the run that saw them win the FA Cup beating Cardiff City in the 1925 Cup Final. He eventually returned to the first team in October 1925 before losing his place again in March 1926. Despite being selected for the FA Tour of Canada in the summer of 1926, Waugh was unable to reclaim his place in United’s starting eleven and was eventually transferred to Second Division Darlington in January 1927 having scored 3 goals in 138 appearances for The Blades.
Although The Quakers were relegated at the end of his opening season with the club, he continued to play for Darlington as a first team regular for a further seven seasons, and was an ever present in 1929-30 as Darlington finished third in the League. Waugh was part of the coaching staff at Darlington for much of his time there and took up a full-time coaching position once he retired from playing in 1933, having scored 11 times in 253 appearances for Darlington. With his career nearing an end, Sheffield United played a benefit match for Waugh in April 1932 and he later returned to the club to act as a scout from 1934.