Looking Back At: Joe Jacques

Date of birth: 12.9.44

Born: Consett, Co. Durham

Height: 5ft 11in

Position: Central Defender

City appearances: League: 22

                              FA Cup: 5

                                Total: 27

Joseph Jacques, usually known as Joe, was born in what was then the major steel-making town of Consett about 14 miles south-west of Newcastle. After playing for the Durham County Schools Under-15 side and for England Boys, he was taken on by then First Division side Preston North End, becoming a professional with them at the age of 17.

Joe Jacques (left) and Bob Wilson of Preston North End at Deepdale in Preston, England, circa July 1961. (Photo by W & H Talbot Archive/Popperfoto via Getty Images)


Failing to break through into the first team at the by now Second Division side, the 19-year-old Jacques was signed by manager Bill Anderson for Lincoln City in the summer of 1964. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury and missed the first month of the season, but City in any case had started the season with the experienced Dick Neal partnering local boy Bryan Stainton in defence. Neal was soon to depart, however, to be replaced in the side by former Peterborough man Brian Jackson, assistant to Anderson who was now starting to be gradually eased out of his team responsibilities, with the next step being selection of the team by the board of directors.

When fit again, with City suffering from a lack of punch in attack Jacques was tried out at centre forward in the reserves, but although he did score a goal in one match nothing came of it. With Jackson moved into midfield for one final game before fading from the first team picture Jacques made his first team debut in his true position in a 1-0 home defeat to Brighton on 14th October 1964. Now aged 20, he played alongside the 22-year-old Stainton for another four games until following a 7-0 defeat at Newport, the latter was left out of the side. After a further game, this time alongside the 19-year-old Jim Grummett, which saw a 3-1 defeat at Bradford Jacques lost his own place to the experienced Brian Heward, newly returned after a spell in Australia. After missing one game however, he was then back in the side for a First Round FA Cup visit to Tranmere for the somewhat unusual reason that Grummett had been allowed a day off to get married.

With the Tranmere game ending goal-less, Jacques kept his place for the replay as recent signing Bunny Larkin was cup-tied but suffered an injury which kept him out of the league meeting with Tranmere two days later. He was then back in the side, partnering Heward, for eleven further games which included City reaching the Third Round of the Cup before losing to Second Division Rotherham. Following what was his longest run of games for City, after a 5-1 defeat at Chester Jacques was then left out of the side by Con Moulson who had now been put in charge of team affairs. Despite the run of poor results Echo reporter Maurice Burton was of the opinion that if City were to field their strongest line-up Jacques should be in the side, pointing to some sound displays by him especially in the FA Cup run. A 5-3 defeat at Wrexham followed and when Jacques was again ignored for a home game with Torquay that was lost 1-0 there began to be rumours among supporters that his omission was due to a fee having to paid to Preston if he played a certain number of games. This was denied by the club, and whether there was no truth in it, or whether the fee had been quietly paid he was back after a three-game absence. He remained in the side for a further eight games which saw the replacement of Moulson by his recent signing Roy Chapman who was promoted to being effectively Player-Manager. There was a slight improvement in results in that a couple of games were drawn instead of being lost, but Jacques was out of the side again following a 4-0 defeat at Tranmere which turned out to be his last game for the club, his place being taken by promising teenager Tom Brooks.

With the emergence of the 17-year-old Brooks for whom there were great hopes, together with Jim Grummett beginning to feature regularly at the age of 19, Roy Chapman perhaps decided that three young central defenders were too many and Joe Jacques was allowed to leave on a free transfer during the summer of 1965 to join fellow Fourth Division side Darlington.

He met with some immediate success back in his native north-east, playing a key part in 35 league and four cup games as the Quakers finished runners-up to Doncaster to win promotion to the Third Division.

Darlington’s stay at the higher level was to be brief though as they suffered immediate relegation. Jacques playing in a total of 44 games and scoring the first senior goals of his career with three in all. Back in the Fourth Division his appearances the following season totalled 35 with one goal coming in the League Cup, while in the 1968/69 season he came close to achieving a second promotion with the Quakers, playing 41 games in all competitions as they finished in fifth place.

After 14 more games from the start of the season, in October 1969 Jacques moved on to fellow Fourth Division side Southend United for the quite large fee for the time of £8,000. He played 23 times for the Roots Hall club in the remainder of the season as they finished in 17th place. By now club captain at the age of 26, he missed the first half of the following season, returning to make 21 appearances as Southend again finished well below mid-table. However, the 1971/72 season turned out to be one of the best of his career as he captained the side to promotion in second place, missing only three league games in addition to making four appearances in cup competitions.

Southend, however made a poor start to life at the higher level, and after playing in just four games Jacques made a move across the Thames Estuary and back into the Fourth Division as Gillingham paid £5,000 for him and quickly made him their captain. He made 23 appearances for them in the remainder of the season, scoring one goal, but 1973/74 saw him achieve the third promotion success of his career and for the second time as captain as the Gills finished runners-up to Peterborough, Jacques playing in 42 league games plus three in the cups.

As with Southend, his time with Gillingham in the higher division was brief, playing just eight times before at the age of still only 30 moving to nearby Southern League Premier Division club Dartford in December 1974 where he was unable to prevent their relegation at the end of the season.

After a brief spell in the USA playing for Boston Minutemen during the summer of 1975 Jacques resumed playing for Dartford. Now in the lower division of the Southern League they were having a better season when the player returned to the north-east, joining Hartlepool on a short-term deal in January 1976. He made a further five Football League appearances for them before finishing his footballing career with Northern League side Crook Town. He was working as a sales representative when in February 1981 he died of a heart attack at his home in Darlington at the tragically early age of 36.

Joe Jacques’s Football League appearances totalled 330 with 6 goals scored.