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Jack Lambert (association footballer)

Personal information
Full nameJohn Lambert
Date of birth22 May 1902
Place of birthGreasbrough, Yorkshire, England
Date of death7 December 1940(age 38)
Place of deathEnfield, Middlesex, England
Playing positionCentre forward

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John "Jack" Lambert (22 May 1902 7 December 1940) was an English footballer.

A large and robust centre forward from Greasbrough near Rotherham, Yorkshire, Lambert was turned down by Sheffield Wednesday after a trial, so started his career playing for Rotherham County in 1922. He soon made a move to Leeds United, but spent three years there with little success. He finally came to prominence after becoming a regular goalscorer for Doncaster Rovers, joining the side in January 1925. Playing in Yorkshire, he had attracted the attention of Herbert Chapman when the latter was manager of Huddersfield Town; when Chapman became Arsenal manager, needing a quality centre-forward, he signed Lambert for £2,000 in June 1926.

Lambert made his Arsenal debut against Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park on 6 September 1926, but initially struggled, scoring only once in his first season; he was forced to play understudy to Jimmy Brain for several years. However, he got his breakthrough in 1929-30; with the aid of playmaker Alex James, Lambert scored 18 times in only 20 appearances, including Arsenal's second goal in their 1930 FA Cup Final victory over Huddersfield Town, the club's first major trophy.

The following season (1930-31) Lambert was even more successful, scoring 38 goals in just 34 games in the League, a club record at the time (which was later broken by Ted Drake) that included a total of seven hat-tricks; that season Arsenal won the First Division title for the first time in their history. Lambert continued to play for Arsenal over the next few years, scoring regularly (including five goals in a 9-2 defeat of Sheffield United, the most ever scored by an Arsenal player in a single home match); he helped Arsenal reach a third FA Cup final, a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United in 1931-32, and won a second First Division title in 1932-33, scoring 14 goals in 12 league appearances.

By now Lambert was over 30 and only a bit-part player (Ernie Coleman having led the front line through most of 1932-33), and the signing of Jimmy Dunne in September 1933 forced Lambert out of the side; his last game came on 13 September 1933 against West Bromwich Albion and he was sold in October 1933 to Fulham. In all he scored 109 goals in 161 games for the Gunners, a quite high ratio, but it wasn't enough for him ever to be selected for England.

Lambert played for two seasons for Fulham before retiring from playing in 1935. The following year he became coach of Margate (who at the time were Arsenal's "nursery" club) and returned to Arsenal in 1938 as a coach of the club's reserve side. He died at the age of 38, killed in a car accident in Enfield, Middlesex, on 7 December 1940.

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