John Richard Greenwell was born at Peases West, Crook in 1884. He played for Crook Town from 1901 to 1912 and won a Crook and District league winners medal in the 1901 - 02 season. Jack progressed into a Crook side rebuilding after the financial strain of winning the Amateur Cup in 1901. Jack scored a hat-trick for Crook in a 9-1 demolition of Scarborough in the 1908-09 season before guesting for the victorious West Auckland team winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in Turin, in the easter of that season.
Crook played in six F.A. Cup rounds in the 1910-11 season in the old format. Beaten 3-2 at home to Lincoln City. Beaten 2-1 in the F.A. Amateur Cup 3rd round by Royal Engineers (Aldershot) the eventual Cup winners that season.
Jack played his last game for Crook April 5th 1912 in a 2-1 win v Stanley United scoring from the penalty spot twice.
Jack left the family home in Garden Place Crook, family friend Cicily Etherington, who was six at the time remembered when her fathers very good friend Jack went off to live in Spain, and how brave it must have been at that time when most people found it an adventure going to Bishop Auckland. Jack played 88 games for Barcelona scoring 10 goals and winning two Campionat de Catalunya. Jack helped to set up a three match series in Barcelona in 1913 against his old mates from Crook, the visitors winning 4-2, then 1-1 and 2-2 draws.
Jack became manager of Barcelona in 1917 going down in history as the first official coach leading the club to their first golden age, winning 5 Campionat de Catalunya and 2 Copa del Rey. Crook returned to Barcelona in 1921 losing 3 of the 4 games played. In 1922 Crook won the Trophie de Catelonia recently valued at £3,500 in what would have been a team tournament. The trophy has recently been at St James Park for safe keeping. Jack moved to C D Castellon taking over RCD Espanol in 1927 leading them into the inaugural La Liga winning the Campionat de Catalunya and the Copa del Rey. Jack was married to Doris Rubinstien whom he met in Paris by this time and had a daughter Carmen.
Jack had the 1930-31 season with RCD Mallorca, returning to Barcelona and winning the Campionat de Catalunya in the 1931-32 season, Carmen being a mascot for a time. During 1933-34 Jack was manager of Valencia, and during 1935-36 Jack was manager of Sporting de Gijon.
Because of the civil unrest Carmen lived in South Wales with her grandmother. Jack was forced to leave Barcelona a place he loved, on the last refugee boat, everything he owned had to be left behind and was lost. A spell in Turkey was followed by a move to Peru to help train the national side for the Olympic Games in Berlin. Once settled in Lima he sent for his family and they left England on the last passenger ship allowed to leave before World War ll broke out.
In 1939 Jack managed Universitario de Deportes and won the Peruvian Championship, then the Peru National side and won the South American Championship; the only non South American to date to do so.
Was that the swan song? No! He accepted a contract with Columbia (who didn't come under the jurisdiction of FIFA until the 1950's) to do the job he was very good at, help fledgling football nations to take part in this wonderful game of ours.
Jack sadly died in Bogata of a heart attack in 1942, but what a life for a lad from our town, Crook.