A Yorkshireman born and bred, he had gone down the pit as a teenager, but his sporting prowess was spotted early, and by the time he was 18 he was playing for the Blades.
He had begun playing for the for the Pontefract Collieries Football Club, near his home town of South Kirkby, which he had joined after leaving school.
He made 99 appearances at left-half for United between 1953-7 before joining Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest and then Newcastle United, where his 232 appearances spanned the 1960s.
He had met his wife, Lily, in Sheffield, and the family continued to live there when he went to Spurs. At around the same time, he was capped for England’s under-23s.
At Forest, where he turned out 93 times, his combination of tough tacking and mild manners earned the nickname Gentleman Jim.
His seven seasons at Newcastle included a spell as captain in the top flight, after the team took second division title in 1965.
He was also a part of the Fairs Cup-winning Newcastle squad and twice represented the Football League XI.
In recent years, he enjoyed returning to the city as a part of the Newcastle United Legends Club.
But even at the height of his success, his family came first, and he was home as soon as possible after the final whistle. In 1969, he moved them to Peterborough where he became player-manager and then manager of the town’s team over a three year period.
By 1972, he was back in Yorkshire as manager of Barnsley, where, over six years, he laid the foundations of the club’s later promotion from the fourth and eventually to the second division.
The family then moved to Bolton, where Jim and Lily spent the last 40 years. He managed Blackburn Rovers for a spell, before taking charge at Bury, and finally Exeter City. He retired from management in 1985.
He continued as a scout for Luton Town, but also entered the restaurant business, buying an Italian eatery in the Lancashire town of Chorley, which he ran for five years.
He is survived by Lily, with whom he celebrated a 60th anniversary this year, their three sons and five grandchildren.