Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-13 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games

Potts: James Forster (Jimmy)

1926-1934 (Player Details)

Goalkeeper

Born: Ashington: 25-02-1899

Debut: v Huddersfield Town (a): 27-02-1926

6’1” 12 st 0lb (1930)

Potts was probably United’s best goalkeeper of the inter-war period. He was the brother-in-law of the Milburns, his sister Bella having married Jack Milburn. He joined Blyth Spartans at the age of sixteen and played for them for three years while he worked as a coal-hewer at Ashington Colliery. His occupation was one of the most dangerous jobs down the pit but it helped build his unique physique and he was known to have hands like shovels. He remained the main stay of the Spartans side until February 1926, when Leeds United made an approach for his services. In late February 1926, the Blyth officials meet with Leeds officials and a £200 fee was agreed for his signature and Potts signed professional terms. He made his debut within two days of signing. The two full backs in front of him were George and Jackie of the famous Ashington football family of the Milburns. The trio became known in football as the Ashington Defence. He became firmly established at Elland Road, using his marvellous physique to dominate the penalty area. After making his debut, he played eighty-five consecutive League and Cup games before injury saw him sidelined almost two years later. In his first two full seasons he saw United be relegated and promoted back to Division One as United established themselves as a "yo-yo team". Arthur Fairclough had certainly been impressed when he brought the promising Blyth Spartans goalkeeper to Leeds, giving him an immediate debut at Huddersfield Town, and in his dozen appearances towards the end of the 1925-26 campaign he had helped Leeds secure their First Division status with four priceless wins and four clean sheets. Since gaining First Division status at the end of the 1923-24 season Leeds had struggled and it came as no surprise when they were relegated at the end of the 1926-27 season. During the ensuing close season, Dick Ray replaced Arthur Fairclough, and he kept faith with the new goalkeeper at the start of the new season. Throughout that 1927-28 season, promotion always looked to be imminent as two glorious runs, one of nine games, from 10th December 1927 to 28th January 1928 and the con of eleven games from 18th February 1928 to 21st April 1928, was the basis of success of that season. A one goal defeat in the last home game by Manchester City cost the title, as Leeds finished runners-up. Potts had been sensational and had kept eighteen clean sheets, which included a nine game run during the eleven match unbeaten spell in which he held the opposition scoreless. Back in the First Division, after a season of consolidation in 1928-29, Leeds surprised many teams by finishing the 1929-30 campaign in fifth place, their highest position since formation. They also recorded a club-record 8-1 win in the F.A. Cup against Crystal Palace. It was felt Leeds could challenge for the title, but the 1930-31 season proved to be a disaster. On occasions, Leeds could annihalate opponents, twice recording seven goal hauls and on of five, but most of their campaign was inconsistent. Relegation, which had always threatened as United spent much of the season in twenty-first spot was confirmed on the last day of the season, when, although United defeated sixth place Derby County 3-1 at Elland Road, Blackpool got the point they needed in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City at Bloomfield Road. United were back at the first attempt. Nine consecutive wins, in an unbeaten run of fifteen games, including seven clean sheets in the autumn set them on their way, but poor form during the run-in, when they only managed two wins in ten games, meant they had to settle for runners-up spot again. A firm favourite with supporters, and for eight seasons he was the accepted first choice keeper. A commanding keeper he dominated the box and was a great anticipator of crosses, Potts was a consistent performer for many seasons. He was eventually replaced by the younger Stan Moore towards the end of the 1932-33 campaign. With no return in sight, Potts joined Port Vale in May 1934, at the age of thirty-five, and stayed at Port Vale for a couple of seasons, making his debut in a 2-0 home win over Sheffield United on 25th August 1934. He hardly missed a game, amassing eighty-two League appearances and four F.A. Cup ties in that time. He was released by Port Vale at the end of the 1935-36 season and finished his career at Workington before returning home to Ashington to take up a job back at the Colliery. He died in Northumberland on 1st October 1986.

AppearancesGoals
League 2470
F.A. Cup 150