Jeff Clarke was born in Hemsworth, a village just outside Barnsley in Yorkshire and began his football career at Manchester City when he was a eighteen years old. He played in a central defensive position and after learning his trade at Maine Road, made thirteen appearances for Manchester City in season 1974-75 before moving to Sunderland.
At Sunderland, Jeff became a first team regular and during his seven years at Roker Park he turned out 181 times in league matches and netted six goals. In 1982 he moved to Newcastle United where he spent five years and made 124 league appearances and scored four times. Jeff’s final club was a Turkish side, Ankara Gucu, and he was with them for only a short time before returning to the UK for a brief spell at Darlington.
He then became involved in community football and coaching the reserves and youth team at Newcastle. At the same time, he was attending Salford University and after four years he attained his degree in physiotherapy. He came out of coaching after a few years to concentrate on the physiotherapy side and returned to Sunderland before moving to fill the same position with Leeds United in 2001. After two years with the Yorkshire side he was made redundant but was soon heading north where he joined Dundee United in November 2003.