Renton, Dunbartonshire born outside right Alex Jackson initially played for Renton Victoria and Shawfield in 1921 but was transferred to Scottish League Dumbarton in July 1922 for the pre-inflation price of a football. He made his Scottish League debut in a 1-1 draw with Broxburn United that September, and scored twice in 30 appearances for The Sons. In the late summer of 1923, he left Scotland to play in the nascent American Soccer League with Bethlehem Steel, alongside his brother Wattie, before both of them came back to Scotland to play for Aberdeen, signing for them in August 1924.
A highly talented winger, known as “The Gay Cavalier”, he was particularly adept at dribbling and free kicks. By February 1925, still aged 19, he had won his first Scotland cap, playing in Scotland’s 3-1 win over Wales at Tynecastle. After an impressive debut season for The Dons scoring 7 goals in 39 appearances, he joined English reigning League Champions Huddersfield Town for a record £5,000 in the 1925 close season. Jackson helped Huddersfield retain their League Championship title for a third straight season in 1925-26 scoring 16 goals, including a hat-trick in his sixth match for The Terriers in a 5-5 draw at Tottenham Hotspur, and missing only three games, and they managed runners-up spot in the subsequent two years. He also played for them in two FA Cup Finals at Wembley. He scored in the 1928 Final against Blackburn Rovers, but it was not enough to prevent a 3-1 defeat. In 1930 he was again on the losing side, this time against Arsenal.
Jackson signed for David Calderhead’s big-spending Chelsea in September 1930 for £8,500, joining international team mates, Hughie Gallacher, Tommy Law and Alec Cheyne already at the club after 89 goals in 203 appearances for The Terriers. His time at Chelsea was hampered by injuries, though he linked up well with the prolific Gallacher and himself scored 31 goals from 78 games for the club.
Jackson’s first-class career was then ended prematurely during the 1932-33 season after 30 goals in 77 appearances for Chelsea. He and several other star players at the club were approached by French side Nîmes with a lucrative contract offer, which Jackson threatened to accept unless Chelsea broke their maximum wage structure and increased his salary. The club refused to budge and, in the days before the Bosman ruling, Jackson could do little. He was forced to finish his career playing for a series of non league clubs such as Ashton National and Margate. He later joined French side Nice in 1933, playing also for Le Touquet and Nimes in the mid 1930’s.
It was Jackson’s career with Scotland for which he is now perhaps best remembered. He won his first 3 caps at the age of 19 while with Aberdeen and was one of the Wembley Wizards, the name given to the Scotland side which thrashed England 5-1 at Wembley in 1928. Jackson scored a hat-trick during the match. He also scored the winner against England two years earlier. His international career was later hindered by the ban on Anglos, Scots who played for English clubs, as a result of a dispute between the SFA and FA, and he finished with 17 caps and eight goals, his last cap for Scotland coming in May 1930 while still at Huddersfield Town.
Tragically he was killed in a traffic collision in Cairo whilst serving with the Army in Egypt in 1946.