5 November 2006

Jack Diffen

Name: W. John Diffen (many sources use the spelling "Diffin")
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Ireland: 1 Cap (1931), Junior Caps; Irish League: 2 Caps (1926).
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Irish League Champion 1925/26, 1926/27, 1927/28, 1928/29; Irish Cup Runner-Up 1928/29; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1926/27; (with Linfield) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1932/33.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Belfast Celtic
24/25-28/29
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Shelbourne
29/30
c/s-1929
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Belfast Celtic
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-1930
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Linfield
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TOTALS
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£-
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Biography:
Recognised as one of Ireland’s leading ‘keepers from an early age, Jack Diffen was a member of the Belfast Celtic side that returned to the Irish League after a four year self-imposed exile in the mid-1920s. A key member in the team that took four consecutive titles, his diminutive stature did not prevent him from also claiming Inter-League honours as well as Gold Cup, City Cup and Co. Antrim Shield winner’s medals.

Diffen spent the 1929/30 season with Shelbourne, during which the club won the League of Ireland Shield. He returned to Paradise in 1930, and the following spring, with Elisha Scott unavailable due to injury, was called into the Ireland side for an international with Wales. The continued good form of Scott’s other stand-in, Cliftonville’s Alf Gardiner, meant that that was Diffen’s only cap.


After a brief spell at Linfield, Diffen moved to England where he ran a haulage business. He joined the board of Port Vale where he was also team manager from 1944-1945. A real character, in the days when football wasn't scrutinised so closely, during an extended run of clean-sheets, Diffen is alleged to have let a back-pass roll under his foot and into the net, admonishing his defender, “You’re supposed to be playing that way, not this!”

An advertisement featured in the Belfast Celtic matchday programme during the 1920s noted:

JACK DIFFEN,
General Draper and Boot Merchant,
Wholesale and Retail,
157 Divis Street and 11 Old Lodge Road.

Ireland Cap Details:
22-04-1931 Wales... A L 2-3 BC

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi just to say Jack Diffin was my Dad,s Brother Laurecen he also played for Belfast Celtic back when Jack played and my Dad played for Port Vale i do have photo,s of Jack and i have a old photo of a football team and my dad was the Goal Keeper,And i look forward,s to comeing to vist yr club when i come to Ireland in the very near futer,i also see,there is Kerr,Mckee,and Kernaghan who also played for Belfast Celtic and they are all family name,s so im quiet excited abt all of this and can not wait to visit you are right when you say Jack left to run an Haulage Company he ran with his brother,s and the Old Stone Spray Company in Stone was my Dad,s also run with Jack i see some one else has put that on as Additional info,but i have no clue to who it is,Kind Regards H Diffin

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