Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Jackson: Mark Graham (Mark)

1995-2000 (Leeds Player Details)(Player Details)


Born: Leeds: 30-09-1977

Debut: v Middlesbrough (h) (Substitute): 30-03-1996

6’0” 12st (1983)

Born in Leeds and brought up a stone's throw from Elland Road, in Beeston, the future England Youth International Jackson moved to Pudsey while still not a teenager and, after playing for Beeston Juniors, Crawshaw School, Farsley Celtic and representing the Leeds City Boys and attending the Leeds United School of Excellence, secured his dream when he joined his hometown team as a trainee apprentice. He turned professional in July 1995 and soon earned a Premiership debut in the wake of United’s disastrous 3-0 Coca-Cola League Cup Final defeat by Aston Villa. The eighteen-year-old came off the bench the following week against Middlesbrough, in the eightieth minute as a replacement for John Pemberton, as Howard Wilkinson gave a chance to several young prospects late in the 1995-96 season. On 5th May 1996 he captained the Leeds United Youth team to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the Northern Intermediate League Cup, in a team that included future full Internationals Ian Harte, Harry Kewell, Stephen McPhail, and Alan Maybury and Youth Internationals Jason Blunt, Paul Shepherd and himself, together with Simon Briggs, Tony Hackworth, Lee Matthews, Martin Foster, Damien Lynch and Wesley Boyle. After having played four times for the England Under-Eighteens in the European Championships in 1996, when they finished third, Jackson’s next involvement with the first team was under George Graham, when after a substitute appearance at home to Newcastle United, in the following game, on 28th September 1996, he made his run-on debut against Leicester City at Filbert Street. Although a central defender, the new Leeds Manager used him to strengthen the midfield, in tandem with Lee Bowyer, and after several games as a substitute or being substituted, he had ten consecutive appearances in which he played the full ninety minutes in that role, followed by two games in which he was replaced before dropping to the bench as an unused substitute, but he had figured as a regular member of Graham's first team squad for almost the entire season. The following season, he played regularly, and was often captain, for the Leeds Pontin’s League team in the 1997-98 season when they won the championship. However, a first team place seemed to get further away as he picked up more and more injuries and Leeds recruited more defenders and Jackson was allowed to go on loan to Huddersfield Town on 28th October 1998, for a month, where he made five appearances. He had trials with Norwich City in early December 1999. He played for the Canaries Reserves alongside fellow triallist Michael Stephen in the 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient on 7th December 1999. After a poor performance in the Canaries Reserves' defeat by Gillingham in January 2000, Bruce Rioch decided not to take him on. Once again, after his return to Elland Road, it was back to the Reserves for Jackson and he was again loaned out, this time to Barnsley on 15th January 2000, where he made a single appearance. After four weeks, he returned to Leeds and immediately began interesting other sides. Bristol Rovers Manager Ian Holloway commented that "Mark looks good but he's on a lot of money". As Rovers had a surplus of right sided centre backs, Holloway decided not to pursue this move. On Thursday 24th February 2000, Jackson was at Scunthorpe negotiating a move and it was reported that a fee had been agreed. However this was scuppered by a late bid by John Benson’s Wigan and Jackson played as a triallist for them in a Reserve match against Chesterfield. Preston North End were also said to be interested. After a spell of flu, he finally signed for Scunthorpe on 9th March 2000, on a free-transfer. Jackson, an uncompromising defender, soon became a popular figure with the fans and was eventually handed the honour of becoming the club's new captain. After an injury knocked him out of contention at the start of 2000-01, he returned to the side and did well at right back and centre back. He even managed to score the first goal of his professional career. In 2001-02 he only missed one game, captaining the side on several occasions and scoring the winner in the crunch away game against local rivals Hull, on 9th March 2002. Two ankle operations forced Jackson to miss the entire second half of the 2003-04 season and this absence saw him struggle to break back into Scunthorpe side that ultimately achieved promotion that season. On October 5th 2004, the then Conference side Carlisle United made a bid to bring Jackson to Brunton Park on loan. Although he had scored four goals and made one hundred and thirty-six League appearances, including nine from the bench, together with eleven starts in the F.A. Cup and three in the League Cup, as well as scoring one goal in five starts and one game as a substitute in the Football League Trophy and two games in play-offs for the Iron, he had rarely figured in their first team in his final season following injury. Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws recognised that Jackson needed first team action and so let him go. On 13th February 2005, he joined Kidderminster Harriers on a contract until the summer of 2006. He was brought to Aggborough by Stuart Watkiss, who almost immediately installed him as club captain. Despite a clause in his contract allowing him to leave the club following relegation from the Football League, Jackson pledged his immediate future to the club by agreeing to stay at least until the end of 2005-06. He showd his good faith by moving his family down to Worcestershire on a permanent basis. The Harriers' boss was pleased to add Jackson to his squad, as Kidderminster were four points adrift from safety at the foot of the table. He made his debut on 19th February 2005 in a 2-4 away defeat at Shrewsbury Town and played thirteen League games before the end of the 2004-05 season, when the club were relegated to the Conference League. Jackson stayed with the club until Rochdale made a bid of £35,000 for him and teammate Iyseden Christie, which Kidderminster accepted on 31st January 2006. His time at Spotland could be judged as one of disappointment. Hopes had been high for the former Leeds defender when he was brought in from Kidderminster. However, even his debut saw him pick up an ankle injury which then ruled him out for two months. That sort of luck followed him throughout his time at Spotland, and almost every injury report or team news had him down as being "just a week or two away from a return to first team action". However, no one ever got the chance to see the best of him and with a settled run in the side. His eighteen month spell with the club, never had impetus. His performances were not poor, but throughout his time he suffered one injury after another and he made only twenty-six appearances, comprising twenty starts and four from the bench in the League, one start in the F.A. Cup, and one as a substitute in another game, until the end of the 2006-07 season when, predictably, he was one of two players not to have their contracts extended by Manager Keith Hill. He had a choice between York City and Farsley Celtic, but chose the team he had briefly played for as a teenager. So he joined Blue Square Premier (formerly Conference) ‘new boys’ Farsley Celtic on 15th June 2007 and scored once in twenty-six starts and five games from the bench in his first season. He was appointed Assistant Manager to Neil Parsley and scored two goals in forty-seven appearances. Farsley Celtic went out of the League after administration on 12th March 2010. They were reformed as Farsley FC in June 2010 and Jackson was appointed Player-Assistant Manager by the new club. He had scored three goals in thirty-nine starts in the League, one in the F.A. Cup and five in other games. Jackson, Player Assistant-Manager with Farsley, is somewhat of a busy man these days, combining playing and doing his coaching badges with his full-time job as head of football at Leeds City College. He’s already tasted success at Farsley, who were crowned Northern Counties East League champions in 2010-11, while the college team he looks after aren’t doing too badly either, topping their ECFA (English Colleges Football Association) table and in the last sixteen of the Premier Cup. As starts in management go, Jackson can’t complain. “The college and Farsley link together and our side kind of acts as Farsley’s youth team, so the good players coming through can progress to the reserves at Farsley and then onto the first team. It works hand in hand and I get to develop the players. It’s a stepping stone for them. A lot have been at professional clubs up to sixteen years of age, but have then been released, which can be a kick in the teeth.” Jackson said of the club “They’d got promoted to the Conference and they’d previously had a fantastic four seasons to get where they were and we had some great times before the fall. But the club thankfully has re-formed and we’re going well. After getting knocked down three leagues, we won promotion last year and kept the players together and are in the promotion mix this year.” Jackson completed his UEFA B Licence in 2009 and started his A Licence in Reading in May 2010. This will help in his the long-term aim, which was started while at Kidderminster Harriers, where he completed his Level Two badge. In April 2011, Jackson was part of the Farsley AFC side that came back from a goal down to beat Lincoln Moorlands Railway 3-1 at the side's Throstle Nest headquarters. It was a result that not only clinched the club the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title, but also a place in the following season's Evo-Stik League First Division. It capped an incredible story for the fans, staff and players of the West Yorkshire team, who less than twelve months previous did not have a club to be a part of. Wound-up in March 2010, with debts of more than £750,000, the demise of Farsley Celtic hit Jackson harder than most. Not only did the centre-half play his football for the then Blue Square North club, he was also employed by club full-time, working as the club's football in the community officer before later coaching their Under-Nineteen side. When the administrators ended their fight for survival, Jackson was not just dumped onto Non-League's soccer scrap heap, he was also facing up to the very real prospect of being unemployed. Happily, businessman John Palmer intervened. Not only did the seventy-four-year-old head a family consortium which funded the rebirth of Farsley, he also gave Jackson a wage, employing the one-time Leeds United trainee as a wagon driver at his Palmer's Plants business. So when the dependable defender and his team-mates followed up their title success with an injury-time win against Winterton Rangers to lift the Northern Counties East League Cup soon after, Farsley's' rise like a phoenix from the flames was complete. "We've had a very turbulent eighteen months," said Jackson. Competing in Non-League football's top tier, the Blue Square Premier League, as little as four seasons ago, when he was also an integral part of their defence, Jackson says Farsley are 'a big club', even though they are a new one, at their present level. Winning the title was what Farsley wanted, and what most of their rivals expected. But if there is one thing Jackson has learned from twelve years in the professional game, it's that football is not a simple game. "We knew it would be difficult, and it has been. But the group of players we've got together has made it easy for us. Week in, week out we've had the 'big time' jibes and people telling us we're on 'x' amount of money. The reality is we're not. We haven't got the massive budget people think. That couldn't be further from the truth. We've got players who could play at least two levels higher, playing for next to nothing. At the start of the season we said we had to stay inside our own bubble and ignore what was going on, because teams were always going to come and try to upset us. We said we had to keep believing in what we were doing and we have done. We've had some rocky times, but the players have come through." Currently in the throes of taking his UEFA A Licence, Jackson is aiming to use his current coaching experience as leverage to get back into the professional game. "I'd love to do that, that's my ambition," he confessed. Having missed only two of Farsley's forty-nine matches in 2010-11, Jackson's playing career shows no signs of slowing. "I always say you are where you are," he says on the matter, days after being crowned as Farsley's fans' player of the year. "I just enjoy playing football to be honest. People have always told me to play as long as I can and providing my injuries stay away, I will do. I'll look to play next year, after a good rest over the summer. Everybody has got their own opinions, and I didn't know what to expect at this level, but we've come up against some good teams. There's some very good players at Non-League level." Choosing to stick with Farsley, through their lowest ebb, has proved much more rewarding when it comes to trophies. On present evidence, the future could be equally as bright. The 2011-12 season ended with a twelve match unbeaten run which saw Farsley secure a fourth place spot in the table and thus secure a place in the end of season play-offs. Unfortunately they were eliminated by Witton Albion in the Semi-Finals and 2012-13 will see Farsley still in the Northern Premier League Division One North.

League 11/80
F.A. Cup 40