Joe Jackson named as Wolves Community Captain

Joe Jackson named as Wolves Community Captain Image

Wolves Foundation have recognised the contribution of Joe Jackson as their Community Captain for the Premier League’s ‘More Than A Game’ campaign – almost 40 years after he played for the Wolves’ first team.

Jackson, who has run the New Park Village Football Development programme in the heart of the city for over 25 years, has also linked up with Wolves Foundation on their Active through Football project, which aims to increase the number of football-based activities delivered across the community.

Chosen by the Foundation to receive the Community Captain accolade from the Premier League for his ‘commitment and contribution to the game and society’, Jackson was surprised by Wolves Head Coach Gary O’Neil who made the presentation at the Compton training ground.

Jackson explains: “When some people say something can’t be mended that’s music to my ears. I use the game to demonstrate how you can build communities.

“I want to see you have a better life. I know what you’ve got inside of you, you can’t see it but I can see it. So as far as I’m concerned it’s my job to pull it out.”

“I feel it’s like my mission, I do it because it needs to be done.”

Also present for the surprise was former Wolves winger Zeli Ismail, who first set out playing with NPV before joining the club’s Academy and representing the first team, and has now come full circle, back coaching with Jackson.

“I think New Park Village are a great advocate for keeping kids off the streets really and giving them a chance”, said Ismail. “I’m really grateful for what Joe did for me.

“It’s been 22 years and I’ve come back to him asking for help and he’s provided that again for me.”

Shrewsbury defender Chey Dunkley is another who also made it through to the professional game, but for so many others it has been a chance to get together, be part of a team and build their social skills.

NPV was first set up by Jackson back in 1998 due to a growing gang culture in Wolverhampton at the time, and provides both the opportunity for young players to enjoy their football but also make progress.

Jackson added: “There was a time where there were young men that were involved in gangs and that’s really where my football programme started from.”

“I was kept out of the prison system because of football. Football was the mechanism that allowed me to become somebody and all I’m doing is transferring that back into the community, because it worked for me.”

Jackson, who also had a very successful non-league career as player and manager, emerged at Wolves as a teenager, and made his one first team appearance as an 18-year-old in a defeat at Notts County in April 1984.

He is a fitting and hugely deserving recipient of the Community Captain accolade as part of this year’s ‘More than a Game’ campaign from the Premier League.

Head of Wolves Foundation, Will Clowes said: “Joe is such a worthy recipient of the Community Captain award. His passion for supporting our community shines through and he a fantastic figure to have in the city.

“Through his links with Wolves Foundation and the Academy, you can see the impact Joe is having on young people within New Park Village, but on adult health as well as part of Active Through Football project in partnership with the Football Foundation.”

Clubs across the Premier League, EFL and National League are naming a Community Captain, recognising key figures who make a difference in their area.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “During this campaign, we will be celebrating Community Captains connected to clubs across the football pyramid. They are the unsung heroes and people who go above and beyond the call of duty to benefit the lives of others, demonstrating that football is so much more than a game.”

"Of course it’s so important to give back to the community and Wolverhampton as a whole. It's great to be here and to show our support."

Maximilian Kilman | Wolves Captain and Foundation Ambassador

"As a lifelong Wolves fan, to represent the Club and Foundation is something I'll cherish forever."

Daz James | Wolves Disability FC

"Without Wolves Foundation I wouldn't be here today, that's for certain."

John Martin | Head 4 Health participant

"It is amazing to be out there meeting people and having some fun. It is really important for Wolves to have this connection with the fans and to see the happiness in their faces."

Toti Gomes | Wolves Defender

"Savannah absolutely loves the group. The staff are committed to making every single session fun and welcoming."

Natasha | Healthy Goals parent

"It’s special because it's my club and I’m so proud to be from Wolves as well. I can see the projects and all the work Wolves Foundation are doing and I know it makes such an impact, so to even be a little part of that and to help out where I can – it's so exciting."

Amber Sandhu | Broadcaster and Foundation Ambassador

"It’s huge for the school, I can’t speak highly enough of Wolves Foundation and the opportunities that they give us."

Mr Robinson | Woodsetton School

“I think all football clubs should be the beating heart of their communities and Wolves, through the Foundation, manages to do that."

Johnny Phillips | Sky Sports Presenter and Foundation Ambassador

"We get loads of different opportunities with a Premier League club. I feel really privileged to be a part of it."

Mustafa | Football & Education College Academy student

"Frank has Alzheimer’s Disease and when he was first diagnosed we felt lost and alone. Attending Molineux Memories is a lifeline for both of us; it is run by friendly, committed staff who ensure that everyone is included and enjoys themselves."

Frank and Alison | Molineux Memories

"To come here and be hands on with the kids is unreal. Working with Wolves and the Foundation is a blessing and I'm honoured. It feels surreal sometimes but it's the best feeling."

S-X | Music Producer and Foundation Ambassador

"It's good to give back what you got. Football and the Wolves Foundation help me, so I like to help the community."

Taye | Premier League Kicks

"Wolves is a fantastic football club, and they’re excelling off the pitch as well with all the brilliant community work that the Foundation does. The passion of the coaches and the opportunities to play are amazing."

Jack Rutter | Former Great Britain Paralympian and Foundation Ambassador

"Wolves has definitely helped my personal development, but now also helps me to develop people I work with. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities Wolves Foundation have given me."

Carl Ackasovs | Wolves Foundation

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