266 Jim Melville

Biography

Six foot one inch tall centre half Jim Melville was a giant of his time who signed for Hull City the weeks before Christmas 1933 for a fee of £750. A signing designed to replace Jack Hill, the similarly tall ex-England centre half who later became Hull City manager, Melville was introduced to the City first team in late December and made four starts in two months, scoring a consolation goal in early February in a 1-3 defeat to Bury. In late February, with City manager Hayden Green on the verge of leaving the Tigers, Melville was handed the centre half shirt and he kept it for two months as Green left the club, the directors stepped in for a month and Jack Hill was appointed City’s new manager. After a punishing 0-7 defeat to Oldham in the penultimate match of the season Melville was dropped and by June 1934 he was off seeking pastures new.

James “Jim” Melville was born in the Lancastrian (now Cumbrian) industrial coastal town of Barrow in Furness to a bricklayer father. An accomplished cricketer as well as a footballer, the teenage Jim combined summers playing in the Lancashire League for Furness CC with winters playing football for Vickerstown Athletic. In July 1926 the 17 year old Melville signed amateur terms for his local Division Three North side Barrow. Playing as a forward in his early years, Melville scored on his senior debut in January 1927 against New Brighton and netted again a fortnight later against Crewe. He started only six games in the 1927/28, taking his tally for Barrow to two goals in 22 starts, but did enough to attract the attention of First Division Blackburn Rovers. He signed a professional contract for Blackburn in July 1928 and stayed at Ewood Park for five and a half seasons, mostly as a stand-in centre half and left half. His First Division debut came in January 1930 against Grimsby Town and by the team he moved to Hull City in December 1933 his Blackburn appearance tally had risen to 25.

Melville signed for Northampton Town in June 1934 and in the next two seasons he started 24 senior matches for the Cobblers and scored the last of his four senior career goals in October 1935 against Torquay United. Melville stopped playing football in the 1936 close season to concentrate on his cricket – after playing for Furness CC and Millom CC in his youth while living in Barrow and Blackburn, by 1936 Melville was playing cricket for Courtaulds in Coventry. Living in an Edwardian style end-terrace house in northern Coventry, Melville worked for a local chief engineer while also playing cricket into his late 30s – in 1946 he was twice given the chance to play first class county cricket for Warwickshire.

Meville remained living in Coventry for the rest of his days, dying in August 1961 at the age of just 52.

Details

Nationality: England
Date/Place of Birth: 15 March 1909, Clackmannan
Hull City First Game: 30 December 1933, Notts County A (Division Two), 24 years, 290 days old
Hull City Final Game: 28 April 1934, Oldham Athletic A (Division Two), 25 years, 44 days old

Clubs

Vickerstown Athletic (1925-1926), Barrow (1926-1928), Blackburn Rovers (1928-1933), Hull City (1933-1934), Northampton Town (1934-1936)

Hull City Record

Career: 16 apps, 1 goals

Jim Melville
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1933/3414120------

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