Jack Greenwell

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Jack Greenwell
Personal information
Full name John Richard Greenwell
Date of birth 2 January 1884
Place of birth Crook, County Durham, England
Date of death 20 November 1942(1942-11-20) (aged 58)
Place of death Bogotá, Colombia
Playing position Wing-half
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1901–1912 Crook Town
1912–1916 Barcelona 88 (10[1])
Teams managed
1917–1923 Barcelona
1923–19xx[2] UE Sants
19xx–19xx CD Castellón
1927–1929 RCD Español
1930–1931 RCD Mallorca
1931–1933 Barcelona
1933–1934 Valencia CF
1935–1936 Sporting de Gijón
1939-40 Universitario de Deportes
1939-40 Peru
1942 Independiente Santa Fe

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

John Richard "Jack"Greenwell (2 January 1884, in Crook, County Durham, Northeast of England – 20 November 1942, in Bogotá, Colombia) was an English footballer and manager. He served as manager of Barcelona for seven consecutive seasons, a record that has only been beaten by Johan Cruyff and later had a second spell as Barcelona manager. In 1939 Greenwell became the only non-South American coach to date to win the South American Championship when he guided Peru to their first win. He also served as a manager with CD Castellón, RCD Español, Valencia CF, Sporting de Gijón,[3] RCD Mallorca, Universitario de Deportes and Independiente Santa Fe.

Crook Town and West Auckland

Greenwell, the son of a County Durham miner, became a miner himself after leaving school and played as a wing half for Crook Town of the English Northern League from the age of 17. He also played with West Auckland as a guest player in their Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy success in 1909.[1][4]


He made his debut as player for Barcelona on 29 September 1912 in a 4–2 win over FC Espanya de Barcelona. In 1913, Greenwell arranged for his former team, Crook Town to play a series of games against Barcelona. The visiting English team beat them 4–2 and then held them to 1–1 and 2–2 draws. Together with a very young Paulino Alcántara, Francisco Bru and Romà Forns, Greenwell subsequently helped Barcelona win the Campionat de Catalunya in 1912/13 and 1915/16.

After retiring as a player he was appointed manager of Barcelona by the club president, Joan Gamper, and made his managerial debut on 7 July 1917 in a 3–1 win over CE Europa. He would eventually take charge of the club for 492 games and coached the club during their first golden age. He survived early calls for his resignation after experimenting with Alcántara as a defender and went on to lead the club to four Campionats de Catalunya and two Copas del Rey.[1] After leaving the club in 1923, Greenwell returned to Barcelona for two further seasons in 1931, and guided the club to a fifth Campionat de Catalunya in 1931–32. As well as Alcántara the Barça team under Greenwell also included Sagibarba, Ricardo Zamora, Josep Samitier, Félix Sesúmaga and Franz Platko.

Greenwell was notable for his innovative approach to tactics, focussing on developing a passing game and building attacks from the back rather than concentrating on dribbling past opponents.[1]

RCD Español

After leaving FC Barcelona in 1923 Greenwell went on to manage their local rivals, RCD Español. In 1928 he led them into the inaugural La Liga but the club only managed to finish seventh. However RCD Español made up for their disappointing La Liga form by winning both the Campionat de Catalunya and their first ever Copa del Rey in 1929. With a team that included Ricardo Zamora and Ricardo Saprissa, Greenwell guided RCD Español through the early rounds beating Sporting de Gijón and Arenas Club de Getxo. In the quarter finals they beat Athletic Madrid 9-3 on aggregate before beating eventual La Liga champions, Barcelona, 3-1 in the semi-finals and Real Madrid 2-1 in the final. Greenwell remained in charge of RCD Español for one more season but failed to win another trophy.

Valencia CF

After leaving Barcelona for a second time, Greenwell joined Valencia CF for the 1933/34 season. The club only finished seventh in La Liga but won the Campeonato de Valencia and reached the Copa de España final. The game saw Greenwell face old acquaintances Samitier and Zamora, now playing for Real Madrid. The Madrid club, at the time known as Madrid CF, beat Valencia CF 2-1 in the final.

Universitario and Peru

Greenwell, along with his English wife Doris (née Rubinstien), fled the civil war. After briefly coaching in Turkey, in 1939 he turned up in Peru, as manager of both Universitario de Deportes and the national team.[1] He coached Universitario as they won the national championship. The same year saw Peru host the South American Championship. Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil all withdrew before the competition started, so the remaining five countries, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru formed a single mini-league with each team playing all the others once. Uruguay and Peru both won their first three games so when they met in the final round, the game was effectively a final. Peru, guided by Greenwell, won 2-1 and became South American Champions.


In 1940 he moved to the Colombian port city of Barranquilla, and worked with the national team in their buildup to the 1942 Central American and Caribbean Games. However, the city's games were postponed due to the worsening world situation, eventually being held in 1946.

In 1942 he joined Independiente Santa Fe, with whom he reached the finals of the Torneo de Cundinamarca (at the time there was no First Division in Colombia), which the team lost against América de Cali. Later that year he died there of a heart attack whilst driving home from a training session.[1][5] He was survived by his wife and their daughter, Carmen.[1]


As player

Crook Town

  • Crook and District League[6]
    • 1902

West Auckland


As manager


RCD Español

Valencia CF

  • Campeonato de Valencia: 1
    • 1933-34

Universitario de Deportes


Santa Fe


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Johnson, Lee; Leatherdale, Duncan (7 May 2016). "Jack Greenwell: From Durham miner to Barcelona FC coach". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://hemeroteca.elmundodeportivo.es/preview/1923/09/14/pagina-1/608877/pdf.html Greenwell fue entrenador deL equipo de Sants en septiembre de 1923
  3. http://www.realsporting.com/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=144&Itemid=216
  4. The First World Cup (1909 &1911) (retrieved 31 July 2012)
  5. A Forgotten Football Story in Bogota: The Jack Greenwell Legacy (retrieved 31 July 2012)
  6. The John Richard "Jack" Greenwell story(retrieved 31 July 2012)

External links