Dr James Marshall: came for a near record fee but only played five games.

by Tony Attwood

Dr James Marshall known as Jimmy was born 3 January 1908 in Avonbridge, in Stirlingshire and started out with junior club Shettleston in the east end of Glasgow (a club still in existence) before joining Rangers in 1925.

13071934 Marshall Speculation

Dr Marshall stayed at Rangers for nine years, winning the league five times, the cup three times, and gaining three caps for his country, all of them curiously, against England.

His league figures with Rangers were extraordinary – 257 games and 138 goals – a remarkable number for an inside forward who would normally be expected to be playing behind the front three (outsides left and right, and the centre forward).

Dr Marshall however was not going to let the poorly paid life of a professional footballer get in the way of his long term profession as a doctor and so when a suitable medical job arose in London he decided to leave Rangers and head south in July 1934.

Rangers had no option but to sell the player although at first, Arsenal denied any interest however when he did finally move it was with an enormous fanfare.

From Rangers he moved to Arsenal, and his signing was handled with a huge amount of expectation as the second cutting below shows.


But then there was a change of mind, or perhaps more likely, a fee was agreed and the press became rather excited.

25071934 Arsenal Sign Marshall


He played his first match against Blackburn on September 17, n a 2-0 defeat.   Although Dr Marshall might have been the next Alex James, the current Alex James was still in the team, and James played 30 league games that season.  Ray Bowden was solidly entrenched in the other inside forward position, and when he was injured Bobby Davidson took over.  

Indeed the doctor only stayed the one season at Arsenal playing five and scoring one goal, before moving on to West Ham of the second division, for whom he played 54 games scoring 14 goals, before retiring from season two season later to focus on his medical work.  The difference between his lack of Arsenal appearances and his West Ham games can probably be put down to the fact that Arsenal were winning the league in his one season with the club, while WHU were in the league below.
Here’s his complete football record
Years Team Lge Games Goals
1925–1934 Rangers 257 138
1934–1935 Arsenal 4 0
1935–1937 West Ham United 59 14
National team
1932–1934 Scotland 3 0
1932 Scottish League XI 1 0
Dr Marshall continued his medical work in London and died on 27 December 1977 aged 69.
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