English, Jack

Birth Date

13th December 1886

Birthplace

Hebburn

Occupation

Manager

Biographical Text

Jack English had a brief playing career with Watford and Sheffield United, helping the latter to win the FA Cup in 1915. After the war he became manager of Darlington, who were then a non-League club. Two of his best discoveries were Mark Hooper, a midget winger who enjoyed much success with Sheffield Wednesday, and Arthur Childs, who became one of the stars of Exeter’s promotion seeking side of 1932-33. Apart from Darlington, English managed Nelson (two years) and Northampton Town (four years) before coming to St James’ park.

English was appointed manager during one of the club’s most critical periods, when at least one director was quoted as saying: ‘Thank goodness when this season is over’. Essentially, at the end of his first seasons City had to apply for re-election for the third time in their League history and, not surprisingly, Mr English had a clear-out of players. To illustrate the point, his professional staff was swiftly reduced to six people which prompted him to sign no less than 14 players in the summer of 1936. Jack English obviously had nerves of steel.

Furthermore, his experience illustrates once again how difficult it is for any club to shake themselves out of the doldrums once they have hit bottom. English must have travelled further than any City manager in his continuous quest for talent. During the four years up to the outbreak of war, he signed nearly 60 new players beginning with former Welsh international Wynne Crompton from Crystal Palace on 28 October 1935 and ending with Ray Freeman on 10 August 1939. Not long after the start of the Second World War, he retired to Northampton where he died in 1953.

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