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Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson
Norwich Career: 1996-2001 (172 appearances, 6 goals)
Current Club: Grasshopper (Switzerland) (President)
Date of Birth: 23/12/1966 
Nationality: English


Mike Walker's first signing upon his return to Carrow Road was Matt Jackson for whom he paid Everton £450,000 in December 1996. He bolstered the Norwich defence that had just conceded 5 at West Brom and 6 at Port Vale.

Matt was originally with Luton where he made just 9 appearances (plus 4 on loan to Preston) when Everton signed him for £600,000. He made 138 league appearances for the Toffees until Joe Royle arrived. He spent time on loan to Charlton, QPR and Birmingham and was expected to join the latter until the Canaries made him a better offer. He was quickly appointed as club captain.

On 28th July 2000 Sheffield Wednesday boss Paul Jewell submitted a 500,000 bid for the Norwich skipper. This was immediately rejected by the Norwich board. Failure to agree a new contract saw Matt officially placed on the transfer list on February 12th 2001 although he was to remain as captain. Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday were said to be keen although their signings of Peter Atherton and Carl Tiler might sate their need for new central defenders. On 27th February 2001, Matt signed a new 2year contract with the Canaries which was a compromise between the 3 years he wanted and the year Norwich were prepared to offer. Despite this, Matt was allowed by the club to talk with Birmingham City on Transfer Deadline Day although no deal was arranged. He then was surprisingly absent from the clash with Grimsby on 31st March 2001.

In July 2001, Nigel Worthington announced that in order to slash the club's wage bill, Jackson was available for (free) transfer, additionally stripping him of his captaincy. Luton, Cambridge, Wycombe and Grimsby have all made enquiries but Jackson wants a move to a bigger Division One side with Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham said to be interested. In the week preceding the start of the new football season, reports circulated in the media that Preston were interested in signing Jackson as defensive cover. The following week saw Portsmouth linked with Norwich's former skipper. Division Two's big spenders Cardiff City were also linked with Jackson but he seemed likely to return to Luton after agreeing to join Joe Kinnear's side. Wages at the Division Three side were not said to be a problem but Jackson wanted to be paid for the remainder of his contract with Norwich. Norwich replied that Jackson had been given the free transfer on condition that he did not seek his wages. At the time of writing, the situation was in stalemate but that Jackson was on the bench for the trip to Gillingham on 13th October 2001. Amazingly, by the end of the following week, Matt had joined Division Two strugglers Wigan Athletic on loan for a month.

Matt completed a free transfer move to Wigan on 20th November 2001. In April 2003, Wigan were promoted to Division One where Matt will face his former teammates. In February 2004, he was linked by the media with a move to QPR and three months later, was linked by the Sunday People with a free transfer move to Derby. Instead Matt stayed and helped and indeed captained Wigan as they rose from Division One into the Premiership. He made 191 appearances for them, 84 as captain.

On 24th May 2007, Matt joined Aidy Boothroyd's Watford after he rejected a one-year contract at the JJB Stadium. Boothroyd said he had signed him as cover for Jay DeMerit, who is expected to be on international duty for the USA next season. "Signing Matt gives us a player with calmness and an ability to manage the game," Boothroyd told the club website.

Jackson joined Blackpool on loan in October 2007 but was recalled after three matches due to a calf injury for DeMerit

On 7th August 2008, Matt announced his retirement having made 550 appearances and 16 goals in his 17-year career. He currently works for IMG (International Management Group)

In the summer of 2011, Matt managed a couple of youthful Wigan XI sides and is working for Wigan as an Operations Manager. He left the Latics in 2017 and became a consultant with IMG and ran his own company, which mentored young and professional players. 

He joined Wolves in May 2021 as Strategic Player Marketing Manager which is about marketing academy players for loan moves or first team players the club wants to move on.  Jackson said “A huge part of what attracted me to the role was that it was entirely new and a chance to shape a role and a department going forwards that can support so many other elements of the football club. There are many different ways that players leave football clubs, right through from the lower levels of the Academy, all the way up to commercial sales from the first-team. Obviously, it’s very different if you’re dealing with a nine, 10 or 11-year-old leaving the Academy, a 16 or 17-year-old going off to university in America after completing a spell at the football club, or being sold out of the first team. The club has a responsibility to the welfare of its players and their families, and we want to do the very best by them as we can. But we also have a commercial responsibility to the football club, and my role will be blending the two, hopefully seamlessly, for everybody.”

Jackson will also be looking to get young players out on loan: “Loans are a very important part of the players’ development, as we’re seeing with the later ages that players are beginning to make their debuts at Premier League level. When deciding on a loan for our players, it’s vitally important that we identify the football culture that will help them. We have vastly experienced coaches here at Wolves, many of whom have been in the game an awful long time and played a lot of professional football themselves, so understanding the specific needs of the player is also crucial. It might be that players now have multiple loans for different reasons. The first loan might just be to get the experience of a first-team dressing room and the environment and not necessarily play a lot of first-team minutes. Then the second or even third loan might deal with the challenges of playing a 40-plus game season and dealing with promotion issues, relegation issues, playing in front of big crowds; all of the things we want our players to be getting used to before making a Molineux debut.” 

In June 2023 he was appointed as president of Swiss football club Grasshopper. He will be permanently based in Zurich, will take over the operational leadership and at the same time be the direct link to sporting director Bernt Haas in all sporting matters. In his role as President, Jackson will also join the Board of Directors. Wolves are one of Grasshopper's partner clubs (the other includes Los Angeles FC)

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