Jackie Coulter’s size 12 boots did not prove an undue hindrance to one of the most skilful wingers of his age…
Name: John Coulter
Born: 1912, Whiteabbey
Representative Honours: Ireland: 11 Full Caps / 1 Goal (1933-1938); Irish League: 2 Caps (1933).
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Irish League Champion 1932/33.
Teams.......... --Seasons-- League FACup
Brantwood...... (Irish Intermediate League)
Dunmurry....... (Irish Intermediate League)
Belfast Celtic. 29/30-33/34
Everton........ 33/34-37/38. 50/16 .8/ 8
Grimsby Town... 37/38....... 25/11
Chester........ 38/39........ 4/ 0
Chelmsford City (Southern League)
Swansea Town... 39/40........ 3/ 0
Linfield....... (Northern Regional League)
Jackie Coulter played football for a number of intermediate clubs before signing for Belfast Celtic as a seventeen year-old. At Celtic Park he developed into one of the finest players in the Irish League, usually starring at inside-left or on the left-wing. His finest performance in the hooped jersey was perhaps in the 1930 City Cup deciding play-off. Slotting in at centre-forward, Coulter scored a hat-trick to take the trophy back to Celtic Park. More honours came his way in the shape of the further City Cups, the Belfast Charities Cup and finally in 1933, the Irish League Championship.
Early in the 1933/34 season Coulter won his first Ireland cap in a 2-1 win over Scotland, maintaining his place for the remainder of that season's British Championship. He also featured in both of the Irish League’s representative fixtures, including in a 3-0 victory over their Scottish counterparts. It was performances in matches such as these which drew the attentions of some of the leading clubs in England. His signing for Everton in the spring of 1934 did however surprise his Celtic teammates. Having been sent-off in a match at Ballymena, Coulter was approached by an Everton official, and terms were agreed on a £2,750 fee. When the Celtic players returned to the dressing room after the final whistle they were greeted by the news of his departure.
Coulter made his League debut in a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth in April 1934, and although his spell a Goodison Park coincided with a lull in fortunes after the successes of the early-thirties, he was a popular addition to the Everton squad and earned the nickname "The Jazz Winger". He will no doubt be best rememembered by the Goodison faithful for his hat-trick in a 6-4 FA Fourth Round replay defeat of Sunderland, a match regarded as one of the best in the ground's history.
Coulter added further caps to his collection whilst with Everton too, scoring the winner in his first international match since his move to England against Scotland in October 1934. The Irish had been forced to play with ten men following an injury to Elisha Scott, but battled on gamely and staged a fighting finish. From a cross from Jimmy Duggan Coulter tore in from the left to head the ball into the top corner. Four months later he starred in one of Ireland’s best performances of the time, only to see his penalty - that would have put the Irish into a 2-1 lead - crash against the crossbar. Cliff Bastin later seized upon an under-hit pass by Irish captain Bertie Fulton to give England a 2-1 victory. A month later he suffered a broken leg in an international match against Wales following a clash with club-mate, Ben Williams.
A move to Grimsby Town in September 1937, then in the middle of the most successful period in their history, lasted a little under a season. After that Coulter had a brief spells at Chester (in Division Three (North)), Southern League Chelmsford City (where he won his final cap) and finally at Division Two Swansea, before his career was cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War. The War brought a brief spell with Linfield, but having been out of the game for eighteen months he was without his former impact, and quit after three games.
As well as his distinguished footballing career, Jackie Coulter also excelled at roller skating, becoming an Irish Champion!
Ireland Cap Details:
16-09-1933 Scotland A W 2-1 BC
14-10-1933 England. H L 0-3 BC
04-11-1933 Wales... H D 1-1 BC
20-10-1934 Scotland H W 2-1 BC 1 goal
06-02-1935 England. A L 1-2 BC
27-03-1935 Wales... A L 1-3 BC
31-10-1936 Scotland H L 1-3 BC
17-03-1937 Wales... A L 1-4 BC
10-11-1937 Scotland A D 1-1 BC
16-03-1938 Wales... H W 1-0 BC
08-10-1938 Scotland H L 0-2 BC
Summary: 11/1. Won 3, Drew 2, Lost 6.