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.”