Born in the shadow of Goodison Park, George Jackson was a full back who served Everton with redoubtable commitment and excellence in a career that spanned nearly two decades.
An alumnus of Arnot Street School, which bred many of Merseyside’s finest players, he was spotted playing for Walton Parish by Everton in 1930 and signed on amateur terms. Loaned out to Marine, he played in their famous run to the FA Amateur Cup Final in 1932, which they lost to Dulwich Hamlet at Upton Park. He signed professionally for Everton soon after and made his first-team debut in February 1935, deputising for Warney Cresswell.
Thereafter he served Everton well, but was often unable to break the emergent full back partnership shared by Billy Cook and Norman Greenhalgh. Jackson made just two appearances in Everton’s glorious 1938/39 campaign, but still managed to earn a place on the Football Association’s 12-game summer tour of South Africa, where he lined up alongside Cliff Britton and Jack Jones.
War invariably interrupted the prime of his career, but Jackson was a stalwart of the Football League North and made 200 appearances in wartime football. Through the 1945/46 season he was ever-present in the Football League North.
Jackson, wrote the Liverpool Echo journalist ‘Ranger’ in March 1946, disproved ‘the old adage of a “Jack of all trades and master of none”. He has figured in practically every position on the field, from goal to centre forward, and has filled every one of them with at least satisfaction, some with distinction, and his real position of full back with brilliance. As a goalkeeper he was a revelation.’
‘RANGER’ went on to praise Jackson’s kicking ability (‘hear the resounding “whack” when he hits one of his full-blooded volleys’) and sense of fair play (‘I’ve never seen him guilty of a shady action’). ‘He has confidence without showiness or swank, showing intelligent positioning and canny anticipation,’ he wrote. 'In short he serves good, honest to goodness, skilful football, sturdy and robust, but with sufficient polish to make it attractive to watch.'
BUT AS with so many players, Jackson found wartime football a different proposition to the real thing. When the Football League recommenced in September 1946 he was nearing his 36th birthday. The pace and intensity of the First Division proved too much and he soon lost his place to George Saunders. After making just two appearances in 1947/48 and none at all the following year, Jackson – now a veteran – was allowed to step into non-league with Caernarfon Town.