|Wilf Jackson by SHS |
When Alf Ellaby joined the Saints, he obviously became a club and international legend, but it was never easy for the club to engage a winger on the other flank, until the arrival of Kiwi Roy Hardgrave, before the 1929-30 campaign. Various players were tried – and not even recognised wingers as such in some cases. W [Wilf] Jackson first came to the notice of the Saints’ Committee after a recommendation by Trainer Ted Smith. Knowing Ted, the player would certainly have speed and agility and was worthy of further interest. In the Minutes of the Committee [6th August 1927] he is described as: “a centre or stand-off half from the Oldham district. 22 years of age”. He wanted £100 to sign for the club and there was an agreed trial period. Wilf didn’t put pen to paper immediately, as he wanted to talk things over with his father, as Oldham and Rochdale Hornets had also showed interest.
On his debut, in place of the injured Ellaby, against Featherstone Rovers at Knowsley Road, he scored a try in a 21-8 victory. Although arguably out of position, he performed reasonably well. Yet in the St. Helens Newspaper, the legendary Saints’ correspondent Premier [Tom Reynolds] got in a bit of a lather. The inference was that Wilf had been signed from a rugby union background. Premier said that the club should leave big money deals from the other code to the likes of Wigan! Wilf continued in the seniors and the Committee met with him in October and paid him a share of the fee he requested, the full amount to be paid on completion of six more matches. He played against Barrow at Knowsley Road on 10th March and scored once more, in a 15-6 victory, with Ellaby racing over for one on the left wing too. And that was it. Little did we know it but Wilf would not play in the seniors again, apart from a slot in the ‘Probables’ team to face the ‘Possibles’ in the early season practice match in August 1928. Interestingly enough, the Saints had been approached quite early on after Wilf had signed, by the Oldham Junior League, applying for their [fully justified] signing fee. So perhaps the rugby union connection was tenuous? It also appeared that both Oldham and Rochdale were requested to allow Wilf to train on their respective grounds. Oldham refused, but Wilf was able to train at the Athletic Ground with the Hornets at one stage. So there may well have been problems with time off work and travel. Who knows? On October 15th 1928 the Saints’ Committee gave him a free transfer. We are aware that Wilf remained in Rochdale for the rest of his life. In 1939 he was living in Filey Street in that town and working in Art Rooms. He died in Rochdale in September 1976, aged 72. If anyone knows any further information about this player and could provide an image, we would like to hear from you.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|24th Sep 1927||
|15th Oct 1927||
|22nd Oct 1927||
|29th Oct 1927||
|12th Nov 1927||
|19th Nov 1927||
|3rd Mar 1928||
|10th Mar 1928||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 7 | LOSSES : | DRAWS : 1|
|THIS PAGE LINK : http://www.saints.org.uk/saints/player.php?num=16793|