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January 30 2023 10.27am

John 'Jacko' Jackson

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View Vectis's Profile Vectis Flag 07 Jan 23 3.59pm Send a Private Message to Vectis Add Vectis as a friend

It was extremely sad to hear of the passing of John Jackson. One of the true greats of the club’s history, who didn’t ever really get the appreciation and plaudits he deserved within the wider game. Many will say he never played for England (he had one match representing the Football League only) so cannot have been as good as many of us on here claim, but that is not true.

I started following Palace in 1967 and attended every home match and several away ones throughout the 1968–69 promotion season and the subsequent four seasons in the old First Division, which of course is the equivalent of the Premier League. I would suggest ‘Jacko’ was a major, if not the main reason for the club’s relative league success and for staying up in the top division during that time. Time after time he kept the team in a game despite being battered by the opposition. I remember one match away at Highbury to Arsenal where they just repeatedly attacked and Jackson epitomised his nickname of ‘Stonewall’, keeping everything out until succumbing near the end of the game and conceding to give a final score of 0-1 where 0-5 or more would have been a truer reflection of the balance of play.

As others have pointed out, playing conditions for goalkeepers in those times were arguably a lot tougher than they are today. The pitches were often very muddy, the football was heavy and slippery when wet and centre forwards were allowed by referees to take a far more aggressive approach to ‘keepers. Also the modern goalkeeper gloves with padded latex surfaces that ‘stick’ to modern footballs had not been invented. John Jackson played with bare hands and yet caught virtually everything from crosses to shots, even those where he was at full stretch. When he couldn’t catch he would punch with great authority or push the ball clearly over the bar or around the post. I don’t ever recall him flapping at a cross or weakly parrying a shot that could then be easily slotted home by a forward. Then there was his bravery in coming off his line to dive at the feet of an onrushing forward when boots and studs were heavier and sharper and the risk of head injury was greater. Invariably he would arise with the ball firmly between his hands. He also had this great technique of ‘bowling’ the ball overarm and throwing it over the half-way line directly to a team mate.

In my opinion he was the second greatest English goalkeeper in the last 60 years. The only one better was Gordon Banks. The problem John had was, like now, he didn’t play for a ‘fashionable club. Little old Palace were not really to be taken seriously by International selectors and as a result the likes of Peter Bonnetti (Chelsea), Alex Stepney (Man Utd) and Gordon West (Everton- who were a much more successful club back then) were chosen for England squads. Now all three of them were very fine players indeed, but I still think John edged them and has been suggested elsewhere, had he been Gordon Banks’s deputy and played in the 1970 World Cup quarter final would history had been different?

His time at Palace came to a somewhat abrupt and untimely end. When Malcolm Allison became manager in 1973 he seemed to swiftly decide he wanted to promote the much younger Paul Hammond to the first team and so ‘Jacko’ was deemed surplus to requirements and sold to Leyton Orient. It was a decision that was difficult to understand and accept by most supporters then and now. I also was at that last away game to Orient in 1979 when a win was needed to keep the championship winning promotion season on track. It was sad to see him playing for the opposition.

I briefly met John Jackson twice when I was young. He came across as an honest down-to-earth guy and on the playing field he always seemed to conduct himself in the most sportsmanlike manner, unlike some in today’s game! Was he the best goalkeeper in the club’s history? Well certainly in the last 57 years that I have been following the club I would say definitely yes. Nigel Martyn would be the next best. If giving ratings out of 10 then Jacko was a categoric 10 and big Nige a 9. It’s a great pity that neither of their equivalent are in today’s team! Also that younger supporters never got to see John in action to appreciate why us older ones still hold him in such high regard

 

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View auk's Profile auk Flag 07 Jan 23 8.42pm Send a Private Message to auk Add auk as a friend

Thanks Vectis and others for such generous tributes to one of the Palace greats.

 

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View auk's Profile auk Flag 23 Jan 23 3.56pm Send a Private Message to auk Add auk as a friend

Does anyone know if any Palace programme or local newspaper has carried a tribute to JJ since the sad news broke?

 

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View Elpis's Profile Elpis Flag In a pub 23 Jan 23 4.45pm Send a Private Message to Elpis Add Elpis as a friend

Originally posted by Vectis

It was extremely sad to hear of the passing of John Jackson. One of the true greats of the club’s history, who didn’t ever really get the appreciation and plaudits he deserved within the wider game. Many will say he never played for England (he had one match representing the Football League only) so cannot have been as good as many of us on here claim, but that is not true.

I started following Palace in 1967 and attended every home match and several away ones throughout the 1968–69 promotion season and the subsequent four seasons in the old First Division, which of course is the equivalent of the Premier League. I would suggest ‘Jacko’ was a major, if not the main reason for the club’s relative league success and for staying up in the top division during that time. Time after time he kept the team in a game despite being battered by the opposition. I remember one match away at Highbury to Arsenal where they just repeatedly attacked and Jackson epitomised his nickname of ‘Stonewall’, keeping everything out until succumbing near the end of the game and conceding to give a final score of 0-1 where 0-5 or more would have been a truer reflection of the balance of play.

As others have pointed out, playing conditions for goalkeepers in those times were arguably a lot tougher than they are today. The pitches were often very muddy, the football was heavy and slippery when wet and centre forwards were allowed by referees to take a far more aggressive approach to ‘keepers. Also the modern goalkeeper gloves with padded latex surfaces that ‘stick’ to modern footballs had not been invented. John Jackson played with bare hands and yet caught virtually everything from crosses to shots, even those where he was at full stretch. When he couldn’t catch he would punch with great authority or push the ball clearly over the bar or around the post. I don’t ever recall him flapping at a cross or weakly parrying a shot that could then be easily slotted home by a forward. Then there was his bravery in coming off his line to dive at the feet of an onrushing forward when boots and studs were heavier and sharper and the risk of head injury was greater. Invariably he would arise with the ball firmly between his hands. He also had this great technique of ‘bowling’ the ball overarm and throwing it over the half-way line directly to a team mate.

In my opinion he was the second greatest English goalkeeper in the last 60 years. The only one better was Gordon Banks. The problem John had was, like now, he didn’t play for a ‘fashionable club. Little old Palace were not really to be taken seriously by International selectors and as a result the likes of Peter Bonnetti (Chelsea), Alex Stepney (Man Utd) and Gordon West (Everton- who were a much more successful club back then) were chosen for England squads. Now all three of them were very fine players indeed, but I still think John edged them and has been suggested elsewhere, had he been Gordon Banks’s deputy and played in the 1970 World Cup quarter final would history had been different?

His time at Palace came to a somewhat abrupt and untimely end. When Malcolm Allison became manager in 1973 he seemed to swiftly decide he wanted to promote the much younger Paul Hammond to the first team and so ‘Jacko’ was deemed surplus to requirements and sold to Leyton Orient. It was a decision that was difficult to understand and accept by most supporters then and now. I also was at that last away game to Orient in 1979 when a win was needed to keep the championship winning promotion season on track. It was sad to see him playing for the opposition.

I briefly met John Jackson twice when I was young. He came across as an honest down-to-earth guy and on the playing field he always seemed to conduct himself in the most sportsmanlike manner, unlike some in today’s game! Was he the best goalkeeper in the club’s history? Well certainly in the last 57 years that I have been following the club I would say definitely yes. Nigel Martyn would be the next best. If giving ratings out of 10 then Jacko was a categoric 10 and big Nige a 9. It’s a great pity that neither of their equivalent are in today’s team! Also that younger supporters never got to see John in action to appreciate why us older ones still hold him in such high regard

Great tribute Victus
A bit of trivia I recall but cant find any conformation .

He was also signed by Ipswich Town as emergency cover for their injured goalkeepers for the Eufa cup final 1981 , In the event though he travelled to Holland for the second leg of the final the Ipswich keeper Cooper 'passed' a fitness test , was sent out heavily bandaged and Jacko wasn't required .That they let in 4 goals and only scrapped it 5-4 on agg makes you think they could have had an easier night with a different decision (LOL)

 

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View peterg's Profile peterg Flag Anerley 24 Jan 23 4.42pm Send a Private Message to peterg Add peterg as a friend

Jacko was a hero of mine - I used to be goalie in our school team so followed him avidly. I also did so as a journalist when I interviewed four or five goalies for an article for the Sunday Times Magazine. He was modest and friendly, with no side at all. I remember asking what was his best ever game, and he replied that other people praised him heavily after a 0-0 draw at Stoke.
I later met Allison and asked him why he had got rid of Jacko. Allison gestured at his eyes and said it was because of what he saw. He refused to elaborate. What a t*sser!
My interview with Jacko was at SP. By contrast, I interviewed the Everton keeper Gordon West in a bar or club. He had been training that morning, and he and several team-mates spent the afternoon drinking. Even in those days I was astonished at how much they put away. These days I believe their drinking would be closely monitored.

Edited by peterg (24 Jan 2023 4.43pm)

 


The right place at the right time

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View YT's Profile YT Flag Oxford 24 Jan 23 5.03pm Send a Private Message to YT Add YT as a friend

Originally posted by peterg

Jacko was a hero of mine - I used to be goalie in our school team so followed him avidly. I also did so as a journalist when I interviewed four or five goalies for an article for the Sunday Times Magazine. He was modest and friendly, with no side at all. I remember asking what was his best ever game, and he replied that other people praised him heavily after a 0-0 draw at Stoke.
I later met Allison and asked him why he had got rid of Jacko. Allison gestured at his eyes and said it was because of what he saw. He refused to elaborate. What a t*sser!
My interview with Jacko was at SP. By contrast, I interviewed the Everton keeper Gordon West in a bar or club. He had been training that morning, and he and several team-mates spent the afternoon drinking. Even in those days I was astonished at how much they put away. These days I believe their drinking would be closely monitored.

Edited by peterg (24 Jan 2023 4.43pm)

Gordon West turned down the offer of a place in the 1970 England World Cup squad because he didn't want to spend such a long time away from his family. Peter Bonetti therefore went instead. The rest (ie the quarter-final against West Germany where Banksy was unavailable due to illness) is history!

Earlier, in 1962, a record transfer fee for a British goalkeeper of Ł27,000 was paid for West.

 


Palace since 19 August 1972. Palace 1 (Tony Taylor) Liverpool 1 (Emlyn Hughes)

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