Jim Whitely was born in Zambia and went to school in Wrexham before signing for City in 1993 at the age of 15 and was on the books, including various loan deals, until 2001. He made 38 appearances in City’s midfield over his time before finally returning to Wrexham in 2001 where he would go on to make a further 140 appearances. His career eventually ended in 2006 following a succession of injuries.
His post-football life has been much more interesting.
Unusually for a former footballer, Whitley is a talented stage actor and singer and has appeared as both Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jnr. in various productions over the years, as can be seen in the picture above. Outside the theatre, he has performed in such diverse places as in front of a 22 piece band at the Manchester Opera House, appeared on the Ricky Hatton Show and has supported Billy Ocean and Girls Aloud live in concert.
He has also performed Christmas sets with The Bombshell Belles at corporate and private parties.
Aside from the singing and dancing, Whitley is also a talented artist specialising in portraiture and chiaroscuro, the effect that dramatic lighting has on a subject. A gallery of his work can be found here which includes many professional footballers such as Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch and David Beckham. His art was once featured in an exhibition at Maine Road in 2005.
So whether you’re looking for a slightly off kilter City theme for your wedding band, a dramatic drawing of a footballer for your bedroom wall, or a singer/actor/dancer for your stage production then Jim Whitley may well be your man.
Written by Alex Timperley