Jimmy Cookson was signed as cover for Alf Saxby, the club's veteran right-back, and it was in this position that he made his Chesterfield debut. Injuries and loss of form were rife among the forwards, however, so, with Saxby fit again, Jimmy was tried at centre-forward for the next match. Jimmy had no pedigree as a forward - all his reserve games before his first-team call up were at right-back, but he scored a hat-trick - the first of nine for Chesterfield - as the experiment became an immediate, unqualified success.
In Cookson's two-year spell at Saltergate, several club and League scoring records were broken. He overhauled George Beel's club-record 23 goals in one season in just his nineteenth game. By the end of his first season he had netted 44 times, establishing a new League record for the highest number of goals scored by one player in one season. This, remember, from only thirty-three games at centre-forward. His second season saw him net in eight consecutive League appearances - another Chesterfield record, although equalled by Dave Waller in 1989. Although George Camsell broke the League record in '26-7, scoring 59 times, Jimmy's total remains a club record and is unlikely ever to be broken. One of the most surprising aspects of Jimmy's Chesterfield career is that it lasted two seasons: when he was finally sold, the fee received was two and a half times higher than that received for Willis Edwards in 1925. In his thirteenth game for the Baggies he scored his 100th League goal, becoming the fastest player to reach that total.
Jimmy wasn't particularly refined as a centre-forward: he had little understanding of the finer points of distribution, or of the role of the leading forward in knitting the wingplay together. He was a ready shot with either foot, and the ability to move into the right position came naturally to him. His quick control enabled him to take the ball in his stride, and his trademark was the straightness of his run to goal when in possession. To a defender, Cookson was a damned difficult player to force to one side of the goal or the other. His greatest strength, though, was his pace: he would be off the mark and away, leaving defenders vainly appealing for offside. It is possible, of course, to suggest that the change in the offside law in 1925 that reduced to two the number of defenders needed to play a man onside worked to the advantage of those with Cookson's strengths. If that was the principal reason for Jimmy's startling success, though, one would have expected others to equal his feats and there would have been a rapid fall in his effectiveness, once defenders had evolved other tactics to stop him. As it was, he continued to score at a remarkable rate throughout his senior career.
Criminally, Jimmy won very few representative honours. He played for the FA against the Northern Counties in April, 1926, and went on an FA tour of Canada in 1931. His brother, Sam, enjoyed a long career with Manchester City and Bradford City. As his pro career came to a close Jimmy became a publican and continued to play local football in Swindon into his late forties; he eventually settled in the West Country, becoming the steward of a social club in Frome, and serving on the committee at Frome Town and Warminster Town.
For Chesterfield: 74 league appearances, 85 goals.