Jimmy Ross (footballer, born 1866)

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Jimmy Ross
Personal information
Full name James D. Ross
Date of birth (1866-03-28)28 March 1866
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of death 12 June 1902(1902-06-12) (aged 36)
Playing position Inside forward[1]
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
St Bernard's
1888–1894 Preston North End 130 (85)
1894–1896 Liverpool 73 (27)
1896–1898 Burnley 51 (29)
1898–1901 Manchester City 67 (21)
National team
1895 Scotland 1 (0)

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

† Appearances (goals)

James D. "Jimmy" Ross (28 March 1866 – 12 June 1902), nicknamed the "Little Demon", was a Scottish footballer of the Victorian era, younger brother of Nick Ross. Born in Edinburgh, in the beginning of his career he played for Edinburgh's St Bernard's F.C., but he came to prominence as part of the Preston North End team known as "The Invincibles", who won the Football League during its first and second seasons, the first one being a double of the league and the FA Cup.


Jimmy Ross was the second-best scorer during the first league season, with 18 goals in 21 matches, and the best during the second season the second season, with 24 goals in 21 matches. He is said to have scored 250 goals in only 220 appearances for Preston. Among his goals were one that he scored against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1889 FA Cup Final, when Preston secured the double.

In 1894 Ross was signed to Liverpool by the club's manager John McKenna for £75. He made his debut for his new club in a Football League Division One match on 13 September 1894 and went on to score 12 times during the season, which ended with Liverpool being relegated. A prolific goalscorer in his time at Liverpool, Jimmy found the Second Division defences more to his liking managing to hit the net 23 times in 25 outings, spearheading the Reds charge back to the top tier.

The following season Liverpool managed to establish themselves in the First division, finishing 5th; he only scored twice in his 21 matches.

After his short spell at Anfield Ross was transferred out signing for Second Division side Burnley in March 1897. There he scored 29 goals in 51 games. Just prior to his arrival, Burnley had been relegated and with Ross's help, gained promotion back to the First Division in the 1898 test matches, that ended with a 0–0 draw against Stoke, a scandal that ended test matches in English league football.[citation needed]

Later that year Ross joined Manchester City, scoring 21 goals in 67 games there. He was forced to retire from football due to ill health after the 1900–01 season. Ross died 12 June 1902, aged 36.

Around the fin de siècle the Football league decided to impose a maximum wage of £4 per week for professional football players. For a full-time player like Ross, able to play for wages of up to £10 a week, this was serious threat to their livelihood. To curb this threat, Ross and other top players of the time formed the Association Footballers' Union (1898–1901).[1]

Goalscoring record (partial) in Football League.[2]

Season Rank Club Division Matches played Goals scored Goals scored per match His club's position in the league
1888–89 2nd Preston North End First Division 21 18 0.86 Champions
1889–90 1st Preston North End First Division 21 24 1.14 Champions
1890–91 ? Preston North End First Division 13 6 ? 2nd
1891–92 7th Preston North End First Division 26 16 0.62 2nd
1892–93 18th Preston North End First Division 25 10 0.40 2nd
1893–94 6th Preston North End First Division ? 17 ? 14th
1894–95 ? Liverpool First Division 27 12 0.44 16th (relegated)
1895–96 ? Liverpool Second Division 25 23 0.92 Champions, 2nd Division
1896–97 ? Liverpool First Division 21 5 0.24 5th
1896–97 ? Burnley First Division 4 1 0.25 16th (relegated)
1897–98 ? Burnley Second Division 27 23 0.85 Champions, 2nd Division
1898–99 ? Burnley First Division 20 6 0.30 3rd
1898–99 ? Manchester City Second Division 9 7 0.78 Champions, 2nd Division
1899–1900 ? Manchester City First Division 26 10 0.38 7th
1900–01 ? Manchester City First Division 25 3 ? 11th

Career details

As a player:

  • Liverpool FC (1894–1897): 85 appearances, 40 goals — Football League Second Division winner's medal (1896).[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Jimmy Ross : Preston North End : Biography". Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. 12 June 1902.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Fußball-Weltzeitschrift No. 10, Jan/Feb 1988.
  3. Player profile. "Liverpool career stats for Jimmy Ross – LFChistory – Stats galore for Liverpool FC!". LFChistory.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>