James Jackson preaches moral and defends football

November 14, 1930
“I am convinced that my ability to play football is just as much a gift from God as any talent that man possesses,” said James Jackson, captain of the Liverpool Football team, speaking on religion and sport at the Great George’s Street Congregational Church, Liverpool.

He is to go to Cambridge next October for a three years’ course to equip him for the Ministry.

Mr. Jackson added “There is still an idea abroad that sport, and football in particular, are wiles of the Devil, used to seduce young men from the straight and narrow path.

“A man wrote to me to point out the un-apostolic proceedings of being a professional footballer, and, at the same time, a professional preacher of the Gospel.”

Mr. Jackson replied to three charges laid against football. He denied that swearing is ever learned at a football match, and declared that on an eight hours’ journey with the team he did not hear one offensive word.

It was not football that caused men to gamble, but the fact that men and women to-day would gamble on anything. As for the charge of drinking laid against footballers the professional player realised he must keep fit, and must be a total abstainer.
(Source: Nottingham Evening Post: November 14, 1930)