Number two in the top ten Lincoln City goalscorers is 110 goal Johnny Campbell.
Full Name: John Campbell.
Imp Career (1933/34-1938/39)
Apps : 198 (League 184)
Goals : 110 (league 104)
Date Of Birth : 07/03/1910
Birthplace : Stevenston, Ayrshire
Our second top scorer of all time was almost lost to the game until Leicester City managed to change his fathers mind. The intention had been for the bright lad to become a chemist. However the foxes signed John and good friend and scoring partner John Calder from Dalry Thistle in July 1931. He made his debut in December 1932 at Filbert Street and although he scored on that day against Birmingham and netted regularly when given the opportunity of first team football (14 goals in 22 League and cup games) he was continually frustrated at being left out of the Foxes first 11.
With the Imps fighting a relegation battle at the time having sold Allen Hall to Spurs the previous season we needed a centre forward who could get goals. Imps supremo Harry Parkes put in a record Imps transfer fee in December 1933 £1,250. Parkes knew a goalscorer when he saw one and noted that Johnny could get goals on the right wing as an inside right or as a quicksilver centre forward. He was right as the Celtic Clamor netted an astonishing total of 110 goals for the Imps in just 199 games.
Apps : 28 (27 Div 2) ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 6 (6 Div 2)
JC went straight into the City team making his debut against Oldham in a 1-1 draw in front of 6875. That season crowds were disappointing, a backlash against poor form and the lack of ambition following the sale of Allen Hall. The typical crowd was 5200 and only 8700 for a seasonal high against Grimsby as the Imps were relegated back to Division Three North at the end of the season.. Johnny however stuck in and bagged a brace at home to Burnley in a 4-0 win that attracted just 3483 fans. Seasonal highlights included hammering Man U 5-1 and Fulham 5-0 with Campbell scoring in both games. .
Apps : 42 (Div 3 N 39) ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 18 (Div 3 N 17)
Johnny began the 1934/35 campaign playing on the right wing but when he was restored to centre forward he began to find the net regularly and finished as the Club’s leading. He bagged braces against York, Walsall, Hartlepool and Southport with the Imps flirting with promotion aspirations. Despite a late unbeaten flurry winning six and drawing two of their last 8 games we finished fourth. Gates rose seeing typical gates of 6,300 with a high of over 8,500 against Carlisle.
Season 1935/1936 :
Apps : 40 ( Div 3 N 36) Goals : 30 (Div 3 N 28)
Now the centre forward position was his own with Parkes able to select a familiar side. JC scored in the opening four games with two against Accy on opening day and then a hatrick in a 6-2 romp over Crewe. He would get braces against 4 more sides against Oldham, Rotherham, Rochdale and Tranmere to finish the season on 28 League goals. The Imps fell at the first hurdle of the FA Cup but got to the semi final of the Div 3 N cup with JC netting in 2 of the games including the 3-2 semi defeat at home to Chester. Crowds again held up until February when promotion was a forgone conclusion and dropped to 3500 and twice below 3,000. In those days only the Champions went up but we would have at least a laugh at their expense and do Chesterfield on their own patch 1-0, with Campbell settling the game 1-0.
Season 1936/1937 :
Apps : 45 (Div 3 N 42) Goals : 36 (Div 3 N 35)
The Imps narrowly failed to win promotion as Campbell caught fire. He scored all 5 five in a 5-3 victory over Rochdale in November 1936. He got 4 hatricks against Southport, Halifax, Darlo and Gateshead. His only brace was also against the tynesiders. Crowds were good with us regularly getting over 7,000 and 11,000 at home to chester plus 13,000 at home to Port vale. The City emptied for the title decider away at Stockport on the last day of the season when 26,135 saw us lose 2-0. Significantly JC did not score in our last 5 league games of that season.
Season 1937/1938 :
Apps : 24 (Div 3 N 23) Goals : 14 (Div 3 N 13)
Despite the Imps finishing 7th this season the crowds were maintained and though Johnny continued to score regularly for City he struggled with niggling injuries limiting him to 14 goals from 24 appearences including 4 in a 7-1 romp over Wrexham. He also got two against Darlo and New Brighton.
Season 1938/1939 :
Apps Div 3 N – 20 ; Goals Div 3 N – 6
Johnny now very much in the twilight of his career continued into the summer of 1939 before a ligament injury led to his retirement from League football. He refused an offer to continue his career with Ipswich Town and signed for Midland League Scunthorpe United. He showed he had lost none of his scoring touch by netting in each of the Iron’s three games before war intervened. During the war he returned to play as a guest for the Imps in the regional war-time competition scoring four goals in 13 games before finally retiring. After the war he was registered as a permit player for the Lincoln Co-op for a time but work commitments prevented him from playing on Saturday afternoons.
After starting his training as a chemist in Scotland, he continued his education before moving back to Lincoln moved south and eventually earned a degree in chemistry and opthalmics. He worked for the Lincoln Co-operative Society becoming superintendent chemist/optician – a position he held for many years before his retirement in 1975. After that he worked part-time for Maltby’s Chemists in the city, continuing to live at North Hykeham. Johnny Campbell was also a keen golfer being a member at both Blankney and Torksey, and at his best was a three handicap. He sadly passed away in July 1999 at the age of 89.