Blue plaque noting six goal hero Bambrick's home in Roden Street, Belfast
|Full name||Joseph Gardiner Absolom Bambrick|
|Date of birth||3 November 1905|
|Place of birth||Belfast, Ireland|
|Date of death||13 October 1983(aged 77)|
|Place of death||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|1927–1932||Irish League XI||12||(9)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
A former gas worker of medium build, he was a prolific goalscorer in the Irish League and the Football League, adept at getting into good scoring positions and athletic enough to make the final touch count. “Head, heel or toe, slip it to Joe” became a famous catch-phrase when referring to him. His scoring of six goals for Ireland v Wales at Celtic Park on 1 February 1930 in a 7–0 win, still remains the record score for a British Isles player in an international fixture.
Bambrick began his professional career with Glentoran, spending a season there before moving to Belfast rivals Linfield. His scoring record with Linfield was phenomenal: he scored a total of 286 league goals in just 183 games, 50 of these coming in the 1930-31 season, which was the highest in the world that year and a then record in British football (Fred Roberts of Glentoran scored 55 the following season). In total that season he managed 96 goals in all competitions, and his overall goal tally for Linfield was 509 goals managed in just 8 years, finishing as Irish League top scorer on four occasions.
On 24 December 1935 Bambrick signed for English side Chelsea for a fee of £3,000, making his debut the following day (Christmas Day) against Aston Villa. He then scored his first goal the day after (Boxing Day) also against Aston Villa at Villa Park. Bambrick scored Chelsea's goal in their highest-attended competitive match at their ground Stamford Bridge. A crowd of 82,905 watched the 1-1 draw with local rivals Arsenal on 12 October 1935. In total he scored 38 goals in 66 appearances for Chelsea, including four hat-tricks (on two of these occasions he managed four goals).
Bambrick gradually fell out of favour, losing the number 9 shirt to George Mills, transferring to Walsall in July 1938 where he spent a season before the outbreak of World War II led to his retirement. He returned to Linfield as a coach, but Walsall retained his registration and refused to release him to play for Linfield in war-time competitions. He eventually played for Linfield in the 1943 County Antrim Shield when he scored his final goal.
Bambrick scored 12 goals in 11 games for Ireland, including six in one game against Wales. His goal tally ensures that he still ranks as the joint-fourth highest goalscorer for the Northern Ireland national side.
Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
|1||22 October 1928||Liverpool, England||England||1–2||1929 British Home Championship|
|2||23 February 1929||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Scotland||3–7||1929 British Home Championship|
|3||23 February 1929||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Scotland||3–7||1929 British Home Championship|
|4||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|5||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|6||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|7||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|8||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|9||1 February 1930||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||7–0||1930 British Home Championship|
|10||5 December 1931||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||4–0||1932 British Home Championship|
|11||27 March 1935||Wrexham, Wales||Wales||1–3||1935 British Home Championship|
|12||16 March 1938||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Wales||1–0||1938 British Home Championship|
- "Joe Bambrick". Northern Ireland Football Greats. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Ryder, Chris. "Joe Bambrick: Footballer 1905 -1983". Ulster History Circle. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "World League Topscorers". Rsssf.com. 2006-02-19. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
- "NIFG: Joe Bambrick". Nifootball.blogspot.co.uk. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
- "First XI: Capital punishment ... games between Arsenal and Chelsea | Football First XIs". ESPN.co.uk. 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
- "Players Appearances Ba-Bd". Bounder.friardale.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-23.