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David Jack was born in Bolton, Lancashire, on 3 April 1898, the first son of Robert (Bob) Jack, a professional footballer from Alloa, then playing for Bolton Wanderers. Educated largely at Leigh Road Presbyterian school, Southend, where the family had moved following his father's appointment as manager of Southend United in 1906, he eventually joined the navy as a writer, aged seventeen. Already showing great promise as a footballer, he attracted the attention of a number of major clubs, including Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
When football resumed its full programme in 1919 he chose instead to play at Plymouth Argyle, where his father was manager, before moving in December 1920 to Bolton Wanderers, where his brothers Rollo and Donald were to join him for a period in the 1920s.
His place in football's record books was assured in 1923 when, after only two minutes, he scored the first goal in the first ever FA cup final to be played at Wembley stadium, the so-called ‘white horse’ final.
The elegant, long-striding Jack was undoubtedly one of the finest inside forwards of all time—he also played on the right wing and at centre forward while at Bolton—and, in fact, a number of informed commentators regarded him as the greatest player of his generation. Between 1920 and 1934 Jack played 555 games, scoring 291 goals, winning FA cup winners' medals with Bolton (1923, 1926) and Arsenal (1930), and league championship medals with Arsenal (1931, 1933, and 1934).
Surprisingly he played only nine times for England between 1924 and 1932, although he captained the side in four of those games.
After a final brief spell managing the Irish club Shelbourne from 1953 to 1955, Jack finally left the game to work in the Air Ministry. He died of cancer at St Thomas's Hospital, London, on 10 September 1958 and was buried five days later in Streatham Park cemetery.