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ALBERT JACKSON 1943-2014

3 December 2014

Club mourning passing of former captain Albert Jackson.

It was with great sadness that Wigan Athletic Football Club learned of the passing of former centre half Albert Jackson.

Below is a tribute to the former Latics captain, words by life-long Latics fan and broadcaster Paul Rowley.

They don't make 'em like Albert Jackson anymore. The rugged centre-half joined us in 1972 as one of Les Rigby's first signings, becoming the first man to lead us out at Wembley as we lost 2-1 to Scarborough in the FA Trophy Final in his first season.

With his slim moustache, he looked a dead ringer for the suave Hollywood actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. He had a ferocious tackle that scared the wits out of opposition centre-forwards, having begun his career as a 15-year-old striker at Manchester United in the Busby Babes era.

He joined Oldham Athletic in 1963, playing 22 games over three seasons, scoring four goals in the process and even deputised in goal in one match when regular keeper John Bollands was injured.

He moved into non-league football with Bangor City where fans remember him as "a centre-half who could - and would - tackle a runaway rhino, especially if he looked like threatening the Bangor goal!"

When he arrived at Springfield Park, he not only organised the back four, he weighed in with an impressive scoring average of one goal in every four games.

In his second season here, he was voted Player of the Year by supporters, as we missed out on the Northern Premier League title to Boston United by just one point.

Albert, by then in his 30s, even finished joint top scorer with Tony Marsden on 17 goals. He played fewer than half the games the following term, but still did enough to collect an NPL Championship medal under Brian Tiler.

The strapping defender also had an impressive FA Cup run that year against Fourth Division opponents, heading the winning goal against Shrewsbury Town in a First Round replay, and for good measure forcing Mansfield Town defender Colin Foster to head into his own goal in a 1-1 draw in the Second Round forty years ago today! I remember that game well. As a rookie broadcaster, it was the first football match I covered for the recently opened Radio City.

1974 was a significant year for Albert too. In those days, the best non-league and lower division players spent their summers in the States, performing in the emerging North American Soccer League. Jackson joined Dallas Tornado that summer along with midfield team-mate Tommy Gore and future Latics striker Micky Moore. It was quite a perk; a rent-free apartment, a car and $1500 a month (ten times the average wage back then). All three took part in a showpiece game against New York Cosmos, where Pele was making his debut, and Albert was given the job of marking him. The match finished 2-2 in front of a crowd of 33,000. Not a bad day's work to shadow the best footballer in the world. Especially for a part-timer taking extended leave from working as a quality control manager in an engineering factory near Oldham. I wonder what Pele made of it all?

WIGAN ATHLETIC - NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE - 1972-75. PLAYED 108 SCORED 27

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