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Another Workington Reds great passes away PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Wednesday, 23 June 2021

reds 54 55.pngOne of the great names from Workington Reds early Football League days has died at the age of 87.

Jackie Bertolini played 194 League and Cup games for the Reds and after a transfer to the south coast he clocked-up another 279 games for Brighton.

He was hugely popular at both clubs and when he retired his benefit game at Brighton attracted 25,000 fans.

A right-half in those days, he had been born north of the border in Alloa of Italian descent. His grandfather was Italian and had come to Scotland before the first World War to make ice cream and run a bus company.

Jackie’s father, although Scottish, had played for Barga in the Italian League for two seasons.

It was anatural step for young Jackie to take-up the game and he signed for Stirling Albion in 1951, graduating to the first team after only two reserve games.

Ted Smith signed him for Workington in 1953 in what proved to be a great bit of business. Stirling Albion claimed he was still on their books in a wrangle over the move with the Scots claiming he had only been on loan.

But Jackie stayed with the Reds for five years, clocking those 194 appearances with 41 goals and during his time at Borough Park had the honour of being selected for the Third Division North side which played the Third Division South at Crystal Palace.

Reds, in fact, received a sizeable fee for Jackie when he moved to Brighton in 1958 and the Cumbrians also signed centre-half Roy Tennant (an excellent player) as part of the deal.

He went on to have a great career with Brighton and he settled there with his family.

In the book Albion A to Z, the who’s who of the club’s players compiled by Tim Carder and Roger Harris, they described him as “one of those players who never seem to have an off day” and “a rock in the Albion side during traumatic times.”

After his playing days were ended by a knee injury, he worked in the Goldstone Ground office, helped coach youngsters, briefly managed Whitehawk and then moved into the truck and van hire business.

Jack was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago and suffered declining health from then on.

He spent the last few years of his life in a Worthing care home and son Steven and daughter Tracy were with him when he died peacefully on Monday.

In the team picture from1954/55 season Jackie is front row, second left. 

 




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