Lawrence was born in Glasgow on 16th February, 1885. He played
in goal for Partick Athletic in Scotland before joining
Newcastle United in 1904.
Lawrence replaced Newcastle's international goalkeeper, Matt
Kingsley in the 1904-05 season. Kingsley, who had played 189
league and cup games for the club, was transferred to West Ham
As Paul Joannou pointed out in his book, The Black and White
Alphabet (1996): "In the style of the day, Jimmy rarely caught
the ball but fisted away clearances and was always liable to
make a stunning save, yet also a costly error - two of which
occurred in FA Cup finals."
Lawrence played in the Football League winning teams in 1905,
1907 and 1909. He also appeared in five FA Cup finals, but won
only one winners medal in 1910, when Newcastle United beat
Bradford City 1-0.
The following year Lawrence won his only international cap when
he helped Scotland obtain a 1-1 draw against England at Anfield
in April, 1911.
Lawrence was active in politics and along with his friends,
Colin Veitch and Billy Meredith, he played an important role in
the growth of the Professional Footballers Association. In
1921-22 he served as chairman of the PFA.
Lawrence was Newcastle's first choice goalkeeper for 14 seasons.
During this period he appeared in a record 496 games for his
In 1924 Lawrence became manager of South Shields. After only a
few months he was persuaded to move to Preston North End. The
club was undergoing a financial crisis at the time and his first
action was to sell the club's leading scorer, Tommy Roberts to
Burnley. In the previous five seasons he had scored 118 goals in
Lawrence signed veteran strike, Horace Barnes, from Manchester
City in November, 1924. Barnes scored on his debut against
Nottingham Forest. He went on to score six in his first 10 games
and finished as the club's joint top scorer. Despite the goals
of Barnes, Preston finished in 21st place in the league and were
relegated to the Second Division.
In 1925 Lawrence resigned as manager of Preston North End and
moved to Germany where he managed Karlsruhe.
James Lawrence died in November, 1934.