Costing £250 in May 1938, Atherton arrived at the Goldstone from Preston North End, having joined the Deepdale staff at the age of sixteen in May 1934. His opportunities with his home town club were limited, though, and he made their First Division side on just four occasions in four seasons. He couldn’t win a regular place on the South Coast with the Albion either, despite scoring a brace of goals against Notts County in only his third outing. Jack didn’t play senior football during the war years, but Albion retained his registration until May 1947 when he was put on the transfer list. There were no offers and Jack never again appeared in the Football League.
Jack played 10 matches for the Seagulls in 1938-39 scoring 2 goals.