Them and us – Jimmy Naylor (Wigan Athletic and Manchester City

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The visit of Manchester City on Monday evening gives TNS the opportunity to look back at the career of Jimmy Naylor, a player whose career briefly took in a spell at both clubs.

Jimmy was a wing half who was born in High Crompton on 1st March 1901.  It is fair to assume that his first love was in fact the ‘other’ Latics, Oldham Athletic.  He started his professional career at Boundary Park, breaking into the first team in 1922.

He was part of the second tier side that put then football giants Sunderland out of the FA Cup at the first round stage in season 1923/24.   In total he made 237 appearances, netting five times before signing for Huddersfield Town in the summer of 1928.   The Terriers had become the first team to win three consecutive top flight titles two seasons previously and the following two seasons saw them finish as runners up! Although Jimmy wasn’t involved in any of those campaigns he was a member of the Huddersfield team that lost the 1930 FA Cup Final against Arsenal (0-2) in front of 92,499 spectators.

Playing in goal for the Gunners was ex Wigan Borough custodian Charles Preedy!

He made 38 appearances in total netting twice before moving on to his next port of call, Newcastle United in the summer of 1930.  His stay in the North East consisted of 32 games during which he failed to find the net.  It was from the Magpies that he joined Manchester City in October 1922.

He made just one league appearance for City, against Middlesbrough on 7th January 1933.  In front of a 7,912 crowd at Ayresome Park the home side won 2-0.

He never featured for City again and in February 1933 he was loaned to Oldham Athletic and his second spell at Boundary consisted of 8 appearances without scoring.  The Boundary Park outfit could not offer Jimmy suitable terms and he returned to Maine Road before signing for Macclesfield Town in February 1934. He helped Macc to win the Cheshire Senior Cup before signing for Nelson in the summer of 1935.

By this time Nelson had relinquished their Football League status and if Jimmy ever thought things could get no worse for his new club, Nelson folded at the end of season 1935/36!  A new club ‘Nelson Town’, was formed and took part in the ‘Nelson and Colne League’ the following season, but Jimmy despite now being almost 37 years old, still felt that he had something to offer at a slightly higher level and he arrived at Springfield Park in August 1937.

Latics were competing in the Cheshire County League at the time and had lost the services of manager Charlie Spencer at the end of the previous campaign.  Latics were now managed by Frank Hancock, whom Spencer had signed from Millwall in early 1935.

After taking almost all before them since their formation in 1932, Latics were now beoming less and less successful and in what was Jimmy’s only season with the club, Latics finished in their worst ever position of eleventh in the league and did not win any domestic honours.

He played 24 games for Latics before finally hanging up his boots at the end of the season.  He was known within the game as ‘Gentleman Jimmy’ on account of the fact that he never picked up so much as caution throughout his playing days.

He passed away in 1983.

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