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Dunn: James (Jimmy)

1947-1960 (Player Details)

Right Back

Born: Rutherglen: 23-10-1922

Debut v Cardiff City (a): 01-11-1947

5’8” 11st 9lb (1951)

#73 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

Educated at St Columbkille's RC School Rutherglen, he served with the Royal Marines in World War Two and played in the Services Cup Final at Home Park Plymouth. He then took a job labouring and played for the Scottish Junior club Rutherglen Glencairn. Several clubs were on his trail and although Arbroath were favourites to sign him, they were beaten by Leeds in June 1947, who paid £200. There was a promise of a further £100 if he became a first team regular. It did not take long for Dunn to satisfy that clause. The consistant Dunn was manifestly unlucky not to win a Scotland cap. In eleven years at Elland Road he barely put a foot wrong, and although he was often tipped for full honours, he never received an International call. Dunn became a permanent fixture at right back, including four seasons when he was ever-present, indeed, from August 1952 to May 1957 he missed just one Football League match for the club. The high point of his career came in the 1955-56 campaign, when he was a key figure in the Leeds team that won promotion from the Second Division thanks to a magnificent late run that saw them win eight of their last nine games. The Leeds team of the time was built around the considerable talents of John Charles, who rated his good friend very highly; Charles described Dunn as "one of the best full-backs I ever played with... at tackling and covering he was unbelievable. He was very fit, strong and hard." As befits a former Marine, he was a tough, uncompromising right back who took no prisoners in the tackle. His ability to halt opposing wingers was legendary, although he himself rarely ventured forward. He only ever scored one goal in his entire career and that came in the penultimate game of the epic 1949-50 season when he opened the scoring for United and other his good friend, Harold Williams, scored the second as United beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Elland Road on 26th April 1950. Jimmy eventually left Leeds in the summer of 1959, having made a total of four hundred and forty-three first team appearances for the club. Dunn was a key player for firstly Major Frank Buckley and then his successor, Raich Carter. When Carter left Bill Lambton took over in 1959, but he lost the respect of the players and, led by the two senior professionals Eric Kerfoot and Jimmy Dunn, they voiced their disapproval. Both players left Leeds, as did Lambton, with Dunn going to Darlington and then Scarborough. In the twilight of his career, he succumbed to a knee injury, which eventually forced his retirement.He stepped down to play in the Fourth Division with Darlington, but unfortunately a knee injury brought his full-time career to a close within twelve months. He subsequently had a very brief spell with Scarborough, then members of the Midland League, before retiring from the game. Dunn continued to live in a house close to Elland Road, and was a regular visitor to the ground, along with his two close Welsh friends, until shortly before his death. After first being a milkman, he worked for the Post Office for many years before retiring in 1987. He sadly passed away in Leeds on 24th January 2005 at the age of eighty-two after suffering a stroke.

League 4221
F.A. Cup 210



Jimmy Dunn, Former professional footballer

Published on Friday 11 February 2005 00:30

Born: 23 October, 1922, in Rutherglen, Glasgow.

Died: 7 February, 2005, in Leeds, aged 82.

There are natural laws governing the universe and the game of football. As to the former, for example, the world turns in an easily calculable manner. In the case of the latter, it is a canon that any winger attempting to take the ball beyond Jimmy Dunn found himself bounced off the stand. This was as precise and inevitable as the Earth’s relationship to its axis.

One of the greatest players never to be capped for Scotland, the bandy-legged, hard-as-nails Glesca "keelie" became a Leeds United legend during the heyday of the late 1950s.

Jimmy was an uncompromising defender who scored only one goal in 443 appearances. But his greatest strength was his ability to prevent opponents putting the ball in the net.

Some of the finest forwards of his era have said that jinking past Jimmy was no great problem; the trick was to get away, and stay away.

A master of the (crunching) sliding tackle - in the days before players were overly protected - Jimmy had the gift of depositing ball and player alike into the crowd.

It was hardly surprising. Jimmy, a Glasgow man, had a head start on toughness, which was honed to a fine degree by service during the Second World War in the Royal Marines, a band of brothers who knew a thing or two about inflicting injuries.

It was that physical hardness, allied to consistency, that guaranteed his name appeared on the team sheet week in, week out, for five seasons, during which he missed just one league game.

And it is a measure of his stature that even today - 45 years after he retired from professional football - his name regularly appears in the "greatest ever" team lists compiled by fans of the Yorkshire club.

Jimmy was born in Rutherglen and was a pupil at St Columbcille’s school.

At the age of 24, he joined the local junior team, Rutherglen Glencairn and soon came to the attention of several clubs, which began a scramble for his signature.

A promise of the princely weekly wage of 7 persuaded Jimmy that his future lay in Yorkshire with Leeds United, then a sleeping giant in the old second division, with aspirations to be in the top flight.

Jimmy once recalled: "Rutherglen got 200 for my transfer. I got 40 and the promise of 100 more if I became a first team regular."

It was not long before Jimmy earned his ton. His name soon became the first on the sheet as he became ever present in the team.

His contribution during the promotion-chasing season of 1955-56 was vital. While his team scored goals for fun through the legendary John Charles, Jimmy’s ability to prevent them at the other end was crucial.

When Leeds won eight of the season’s final nine games, including a thumping 4-1 success at Hull City on the final day, promotion to the old first division was assured.

The player became as big an influence on the team in the first division as he had been in the second, but one of his greatest regrets was that he never received international honours. Those who know the game recognise this grave injustice.

However, being "exiled" in England did win him a wife. He met and married Audrey and the couple had four children, Janice, Michael, Paul and John. The family lived a stone’s throw from the Leeds ground at Elland Road, where, until recently, Jimmy was a regular visitor, often to be seen in the stand with his old mate John Charles. Jimmy left Leeds in 1959 - when he was earning 20 a week - to join Darlington, but a knee injury ended his career soon after.

It was an era before football players earned the big bucks of today and Jimmy had to take a day job. He worked as a driver’s mate with the Post Office until his retirement in 1987.

His niece, Pat Morrow, described him as "very unassuming", and said: "He was a real gentleman, who loved coming back to Rutherglen."

A spokesman for Leeds United added: "We were saddened to hear of Jimmy’s death. He was a true legend at the club and is regularly included in fans’ greatest Leeds team."

Andrew Mourant: Independent

Jimmy Dunn, a swift, hard-tackling right full-back of the old school, is widely considered the finest in his position never to have played for his country. Right-backs for Scotland came and went during the 1950s without Dunn, who monopolised the position for his club, Leeds United, ever being called up.

James Dunn, footballer, milkman and postal worker: born Rutherglen, Lanarkshire 23 October 1922; played for Leeds 1947-59, Darlington 1959-60, Scarborough 1960; married 1951 Audrey Price (three sons, one daughter); died Leeds 7 February 2005.

Jimmy Dunn, a swift, hard-tackling right full-back of the old school, is widely considered the finest in his position never to have played for his country. Right-backs for Scotland came and went during the 1950s without Dunn, who monopolised the position for his club, Leeds United, ever being called up.

It mystified his team-mates, a close-knit group of players living cheek by jowl in the shadow of Elland Road. Few wingers got the better of Dunn, whatever their trickery. They might pass him momentarily, but Dunn's pace made him almost impossible to shake off. He tackled with a gusto that in modern times would incur many a card.

Dunn played in a no-frills game in a workaday team dominated, yet never knocked out of equilibrium, by its one colossal talent, John Charles. Dunn and Charles had a friendship that endured until the latter's death last year. Charles described Dunn as "one of the best full-backs I ever played with . . . at tackling and covering he was unbelievable. Very fit, strong and hard."

During the Second World War Dunn had served in the Royal Marines - although he could not swim and never left British shores - and he joined Leeds United aged 24, in June 1947, spotted by a club scout while he was playing for his local junior team, Rutherglen Glencairn. He made his début, the first of 443 league and cup games, in a 0-0 draw against Cardiff City in November that year. In 1948-49, aged 25, he took possession of the right-back slot for 10 seasons and became an icon of durability.

Dunn had joined an unfashionable club without a major honour to its name perennially lurching between the top two divisions. Leeds, relegated in disarray in 1947, came perilously close to a second demotion the following year. With the help of Dunn and other emerging talents, the rot was stopped and the club came under the firm, if eccentric, management of Major Frank Buckley.

Under Buckley and his successor Raich Carter, who took over in 1953, Dunn proved indispensable. Other solid professionals emerged around him; Grenville Hair at left-back and Eric Kerfoot, a constructive ball-playing right-half who later became captain. The team made it back to the top flight as Division Two runners-up in 1955-56.

The team had its one genius in Charles, supreme either at centre-forward or centre-half, and then, in Dunn's words, "a lot of quite good players who didn't always fire together". As for Dunn himself, Charles detected the one weakness, a limited ability in passing the ball, that may have dissuaded the Scotland selectors.

After the west stand at Elland Road caught fire in September 1956, the revival in Leeds United's fortunes faltered. The structure had been under- insured and forced the sale of Charles to Juventus to fund its replacement. The brief reign in 1959 of Bill Lambton, Carter's successor, was an unhappy one, provoking a players' rebellion in which Kerfoot and Dunn were to the fore. Both players left, Dunn going to Darlington and then Scarborough. In the twilight of his career, he succumbed to a knee injury. His fitness and good fortune had finally run out.

Dunn's first job after retiring from football was as a milkman. His round covered a tough estate in south Leeds and he was reluctant to collect cash from families he thought too poor to pay up. Instead, he took a manual job with the drinks manufacturer Schweppes before joining the Post Office, where he was a sorter until his retirement.

Dunn's dry humour, good nature and generous spirit were widely appreciated. A regular at Leeds home games, he was never heard to criticise another player. Fondly remembered for his innocence, Dunn belonged to an era when earnings were suppressed by the maximum wage; one in which he derived pleasure from Friday nights at the cinema and a shared packet of wine gums.

Rutherglen Reformer

A RUTHERGLEN footballer has been named as one of the best players in the history of Leeds United.

Full back Jimmy Dunn was on a shortlist of eight players to fill the right back berth in their all time 11.

And although he lost out to Paul Reaney, the fact he was listed by a Yorkshire newspaper shows the high esteem the Elland Road side hold him in.

And it was no disgrace to lose out to Reaney, a player that even George Best struggled to get past.

Only Gary Kelly, a recent Leeds hero, and Mel Sterland, who was full-back the last time they won the English title in 1992, also finished above him. Jimmy beat the likes of Trevor Cherry and World Cup star, Danny Mills in the fan poll.

Jimmy, who died in 2005 at the age of 83, actually started his rise to professional footballer relatively late in life, at Glencairn having previously served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War, where he also started in the Services Cup Final.

A former pupil at St Columbkille’s, Jimmy signed up at Southcroft in 1946 but quickly attracted the attention of senior clubs.

He looked set for a move north to Arbroath before Leeds stepped in to secure his signature for the princely sum of £7 a week.

He went on to make the right-back berth his own over the next decade, playing in 443 games, 15th on Leeds all time list, and going for three consecutive seasons between 1954 and 1957 without missing a game.

Incredibly, despite that record, Jimmy only ever scored one goal, against Blackburn in 1950.

He was an integral part of the Leeds side who gained promotion to the first division in the 1955/56 season but he was never called up for Scotland, a fact that bemused many of his teammates as well as the Leeds support.

Among his teammates was the great John Charles, who described Jimmy as “one of the best full-backs I ever played with, adding: “at tackling and covering he was unbelievable. Very fit, strong and hard.”

After leaving Elland Road, Jimmy turned out for Darlington and Scarborough before retiring due to injury and working as a milkman and then with the Post Office.

He continued to attend Leeds games and settled in Yorkshire, but often returned to Rutherglen to visit family.