|Full name||John Kirton|
|Date of birth||4 March 1916|
|Place of birth||Aberdeen, Scotland|
|Date of death||12 March 1996 80)(aged|
|Place of death||Stoke-on-Trent, England|
|–||Banks O' Dee|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Kirton was born in Aberdeen and played for St Marchers and Banks O' Dee, winning several Scottish schoolboy cap. Stoke City's Scottish based scouts recommend him to manager Bob McGrory who signed him in the summer of 1935 and he made a number of appearances as cover for Frank Soo over the following two seasons. Kirton's chance to claim his own place arrived when Soo moved to right half to fill in Arthur Turner's retirement in September 1938, playing in 38 matches in 1938–39. His career was interrupted by World War II and he continued to play for the club during the hostilities. He also guested for Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Notts County. By chance he was in the same battalion as a number of his Stoke team-mates and the unit's team prospered well in the Army football cup.
Once the Football League had been resumed Kirton lead Stoke to their first title challenge in 1946–47, described as the 'heartbeat of the side' Kirton's Stoke lost their must win match against Sheffield United and missed out on the grand prize. Stoke recorded record profits that season but little of it filtered down to the players and discontent set in. Kirton suffering from a broken ankle that restricted him to just one appearance in eighteen months handed in a transfer request in the summer of 1948, along with five other players. Kirton settled his differences with the club and following Neil Franklin's departure to Colombia he made team captain in August 1950 and missed just six matches in 1950–51 at just one, at the age of 36 in 1951–52. With Stoke heading for relegation in 1952–53 he lost his place to John Sellars and he moved to Bradford City on a free transfer. He was made player-coach and made eight appearances under manager Ivor Powell before deciding to retire. Kirton continued to play football for Hinckley Athletic and worked at Downings Tileries and returned to Stoke-on-Trent to earn a living in the building trade. He died in March 1996 at the age of 80.
|Stoke City||1936–37||First Division||12||0||2||0||14||0|
|Bradford City||1953–54||Second Division||8||0||0||0||8||0|