Arsenal’s Century Club – David Jack

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. David Jack sits at number 7

Born in Bolton, Lancashire, David started his career with his father’s club, Plymouth Argyle in 1919. There he scored 15 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions. In 1920 he returned to the town of his birth, moving to Bolton Wanderers for £3,500. He spent eight seasons with the Trotters, forming a formidable partnership with Joe Smith, and between them they scored over 300 goals. While at Bolton, he made history by being the first person to score a goal at Wembley Stadium, in the 1923 FA Cup Final; Bolton won 2–0 and Jack earned his first medal.

A year later, he won his first England cap, in a 1–2 defeat against Wales on 3 March 1924. In eight years he played eight times for his country and scored three times. He continued to have success with Bolton, winning the FA Cup again in 1925–26, scoring the only goal in a 1–0 win over Manchester City. He was the club’s top scorer for five of the eight seasons he was there, scoring 144 goals in 295 league matches.

David Jack scores in the 1930 FA Cup semi against Hull City

In 1928, with Bolton in financial trouble, he was signed by Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal for £10,890 (nearly double the previous record).

Here is the complete story of when Herbert Chapman signed David Jack.

Once upon a time, Arsenal actually spent big in order to attract quality players and their free spending ways attracted criticism from the Football Association.

David Jack was well known to football fans when Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman signed him for a record £10,890 in 1928.

The striker had scored the first ever goal at Wembley (the stadium had just been built) when his Bolton team beat West Ham in the 1923 FA Cup final, but the fee appalled some.

Sir Charles Clegg, head of the Football Association, believed no player was worth £10,000, but it could have been worse given Bolton initially asked for £13,000 – double the previous transfer record set by Sunderland when they bought Bob Kelly from Burnley in 1925.

Chapman, though, had a trick up his sleeve according to club secretary Bob Wall when he invited a Bolton delegation to London for drinks.

Wall was just 16 at the time and carrying out minor admin duties when he accompanied Chapman to the ‘meeting’.

Instructing the barman to give his guests whatever they wanted as long as they were double measures, Chapman explained he would be drinking gin and tonic and his young assistant was on the whiskey and ginger.

Except the barman, whose pockets were now stuffed with Chapman’s cash, was to leave the gin and whiskey out.

So, many rounds later when the Bolton lot were feeling merry, a very sober Chapman was able to haggle the price.

But surely Jack was past his best at 29 years old anyway?

No is the simple answer. He finished the season as top scorer and in 1930 won the FA Cup again to become the first player to win the trophy with two different clubs at Wembley.

They were magical times for Gooners, with Jack playing in one of the most devastating attacks the game has seen alongside Joe Hulme, Alex James, Jack Lambert and Cliff Bastin who was dazzled by his team-mate’s talent.

David was one of the finest inside-rights I ever saw,” he explained in his autobiography Cliff Bastin Remembers.

An amazing natural body swerve and a terrific shot made him a terror to defences,” he added.

In addition to FA Cup glory, Jack won three league titles and scored 124 times in 208 matches before retiring in 1934.

Intended as a replacement for retired captain Charlie Buchan, David was a success at Highbury. He made his debut against Newcastle United on 20 October 1928, and became a regular straight away. He was the club’s top scorer for the 1928–29 season. Although less prolific than centre-forward Jack Lambert, he still scored important goals, including the one in the 1929–30 FA Cup semi-final against Hull City which sent Arsenal through to the final; Arsenal beat Huddersfield Town 2–0 in the final and he became the first player to win the Cup at Wembley with two different clubs.

He continued to feature for Arsenal through the early 1930s, recording a personal best of 34 goals in Arsenal’s First Division-winning season of 1930–31. He won two more titles in 1932–33 and 1933–34; however by the time of the latter he was in his mid-30s and reaching the end of his career, with competition for his place from new signing Ray Bowden meant Jack played only 16 matches that season. He retired soon after winning his third league medal, in May 1934. In all he scored 124 times in 208 matches for Arsenal.

Arsenal’s David Jack (l) directs a header goalwards (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

After retiring from playing, he went on to become manager of Southend United, and then Middlesbrough. He also managed League of Ireland side Shelbourne from the summer of 1953 to April 1955.

He died in 1958, aged 59.

Click on image to see expanded



21 Responses to Arsenal’s Century Club – David Jack

  1. chas says:

    Many thanks, GN5.

    Signed for double the world record transfer fee – so David Jack was the Kylian Mbappé of his day!

  2. chas says:

  3. LBG says:

    RC 6.33
    How on earth do you know we dont have , potentially, world class players in our youth set up.
    Trent Arnold was unknown until this season, even by close Liverpool followers(and I know a significant one). Foden has been given a chance, and Robertson has been made by Klopp.
    We will lose our best, however eventually good they become, if they are not given the genuine experience of rough and tumble in the Premier League.

  4. LBG says:

    Thanks GN5.

  5. Sue says:

    Wow, yet another beauty from yesteryear! it amazes me where you get the pictures & clips from chas…. nice work both of you 👏

  6. LBG says:

    The Jack Hobbs of his day, GN5

  7. Sue says:

    Checking out our transfer news…. omg Ziyech is mentioned once again, he has a 25m release clause & is an Arsenal fan apparently! Can’t believe Ajax are letting him go (as well as De Ligt – he may go to Liverpool WTH!!!)
    Zaha (😍) & Trossard are mentioned..
    Realistically though, as much as I’d love Wilf, I reckon we’ll end up with Fraser (I’d be happy with that though as he’s been fantastic!) don’t these transfer rumours toy with you?! Argh it drives me nuts!! 🤣

  8. LBG says:

    Happy Birthday, Petr.

  9. RA says:

    Well Sue, not that I am an expert in nuts, but it is difficult for those of us who don’t climb monkey-puzzle trees to differ with your grammatical use of the present and past tense of English verbs — however, if you are already nuts, you can not logically be driven nuts — but if it helps — you can, should you so wish, drive the rest of us NUTS – salted NUTS – hazel NUTS – Brazil NUTS – wheel NUTS

    I have a tear in my eye as I sing “unbelievable, that’s what you are – nutty as a fruit cake, is what you are, ……… bugger – forgotten the words ………. 😎

  10. allezkev says:

    Another great piece GN5, apparently Jack was an avid smoker, how times change. Alex James used to drink several bottles of beer in the dressing room after every game and had black and blue legs from all the kicks he suffered. What a team that was in the 1930’s.

  11. Sue says:

    Well of course RA, as I wrote “nuts” I immediately thought of you!! 😂 hehe 😉
    You forgot my fav – cashew!!
    You singing?? There’s obviously no end to your talents (although I feel for your secretary right now 🤣🤣🤣)

  12. fred1266 says:

    Why arsenal top scorers hardly get games for country

  13. GoonerB says:

    Another brilliant piece GN5. Thanks for all your hard work.

    Sorry I was not here yesterday for your youth revolution post LBG. I am with you on the youth. They need to be played and tried at us to see if we have an Arnold, Robertson, Foden with us. I find many of these loans hit and miss anyway and often just wastes a year in the players development. As we are in transition we can get them in there this season, obviously with some astute additions.

  14. Sue says:

    We’re playing a behind closed doors friendly (at London Colney) on Thursday against LASK Linz from Austria (no, never heard of them) oh please no injuries 🙏

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    Good afternoon all,

    He was before my time but what a player he must have been, my family were always full of stories about the teams and players of the 30’s. I always get a kick out of the story of Chapman buying David Jack.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff again GN5.

    Jack must have been one hell of a player. HIs scoring record is outstanding.

    LBG. I wasn’t able to join yesterday’s discussion but agree entirely with you. Arsenal under the ownership of Kroenke are not going to buy their way to a new era, so we will have to develop the youth players. Would Willock have done any worse than Elneny? Would Medley or Mavro created more panic than mid-season Mustafi?Nelson must get game time or he will copy Gnabry.

    The youth players need extended runs in the team in order to become PL players – look at Iwobi, AMN and Hector – they represent the future.

  17. fred1266 says:

    The hostess by chance has anyone here ever seen her at games

  18. chas says:

    I’ve seen her in Finnary’s before

  19. chas says:

    …. and she was in the Faltering Full Back that time you failed to show up.

  20. chas says:


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