Jackett as head coach for Wolverhampton Wanderers 2014
|Full name||Kenneth Francis Jackett|
|Date of birth||5 January 1962|
|Place of birth||Watford, England|
|Playing position||Defender / Midfielder|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers (head coach)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
A skillful left-footed player, able to play in defence or midfield, Jackett was capped 31 times for Wales, for whom he was eligible through his Welsh-born father. He spent his entire playing career at Watford before his career was ended by injury at the age of 28. Having moved on to the club's coaching staff, he began his managerial career during the 1996–97 season.
From 2004 to 2007 he was manager of Swansea City, leading the club to promotion and several trophies. He served as Millwall manager for six seasons, again bringing a promotion, before resigning in May 2013; weeks later he began his current role.
The son of a professional footballer, Jackett joined his local club Watford at the age of 12, progressing to make his first team debut aged 18 on 26 April 1980 as a substitute in a game at Sunderland.
He became a regular member of the Watford side that won promotion to the First Division and finished runners-up in the league in the early 1980s under manager Graham Taylor. In addition, he played in the club's only appearance in an FA Cup Final, when they lost to Everton in 1984. These successes also led to Jackett appearing in the subsequent UEFA Cup campaign.
However having undergone a series of knee operations, he was forced to prematurely end his playing career in 1990 aged 28. In total he made 428 appearances for the Hornets, scoring 34 goals, placing him sixth in the club's all-time appearance records.
Jackett made his international debut for Wales on 22 September 1982 in a 1–0 win over Norway in a Euro 84 qualifier. He won 31 full caps in total, the final on 27 April 1988 in a 1–4 friendly defeat to Sweden in Stockholm.
Upon his playing retirement, Jackett remained at Vicarage Road and, having already undertaken many qualifications, became a member of the club's coaching staff. In February 1996 he and fellow long-term Watford player Luther Blissett were selected by the returning Graham Taylor to run the first team, while he served as General Manager. At the conclusion of this campaign Jackett was appointed as the club's manager, with Taylor then becoming Director of Football.
Watford had just been relegated to the third tier and, although Jackett oversaw a long unbeaten stretch of results the team were unable to mount a serious promotion challenge, ending in 13th place – Watford's lowest position in the league structure since the 1970s. During the close season he was demoted to the position of first team coach, with Taylor once again becoming manager.
Jackett assisted Taylor in getting Watford promoted in two successive seasons, as well as being part of the coaching staff during their 1999–2000 Premier League season, which ended in relegation.
When Taylor left Watford at the end of the 2000–01 Division One season, Jackett was released on the instruction of incoming manager Gianluca Vialli. Following his exit from Watford he joined Ian Holloway at Queens Park Rangers as assistant manager and contributed towards their Division Two promotion campaign.
After three years as an assistant Jackett left QPR to replace Brian Flynn as manager of Third Division side Swansea City in April 2004. In his first full season in charge, the team were promoted from League Two, finishing in third place, and also lifted the FAW Premier Cup in their last-ever game at the Vetch Field. As a result of these successes he received a two-year contract extension.
A fine start to the League One season followed, putting the team top of the table on New Years Day 2006. However, their form faltered in the second half of the campaign meaning they finished in sixth place, entering the play-offs. The team reached the final and a potential return to the second tier after a 22-year absence but lost on penalties against Barnsley. Jackett did however win silverware for a second consecutive season as the Swans won both the Football League Trophy, as well as defending the FAW Premier Cup. During the close season he completed his UEFA Pro Licence in coaching.
The following season saw to team struggle for consistency and receive criticism from both their fans and chairman. Despite initially insisting that he was the right candidate to take the club forward, he surprised his chairman by resigning on 15 February 2007, stating that he felt he "no longer has the 100 per cent support of everybody connected with the club from the fans, the media, the players and the board alike" and so departed by "mutual agreement".
Following his exit from Swansea Jackett was soon appointed reserve team manager of Manchester City on 7 March 2007. Later in the year he was interviewed for the vacant managerial post at League One club Millwall after the sacking of Willie Donachie, but initially pulled out of the running. However, on 6 November 2007 he left the Premier League club to take up this position.
After a 17th-place finish in the 2007–08 season, Jackett led the team to the play-offs in his first full campaign with the Lions. After defeating Leeds United in the semi-finals to reach their first-ever play-off final, they lost 2–3 against Scunthorpe United.
In the following season Millwall enjoyed a strong second half of the season, challenging promotion favourites Leeds for second spot and automatic promotion. They fell a point short, finishing third, meaning a second consecutive play-off campaign for Jackett and Millwall. Once again he led the team to the final, where this time a solitary goal against Swindon Town was enough to return the club to the Championship; this was the first time in Millwall's history that they had won promotion via the play-offs.
In their first season back in the Championship, Jackett led Millwall to a ninth-place finish, with the team in play-off contention up until the penultimate game of the season. During 2011–12 though, Millwall struggled for most of the season, remaining close to the relegation zone until a strong finish to the season won Jackett the Championship Manager of the Month Award for April 2012, and ensured their survival.
Jackett once again led Millwall to Wembley in the 2012–13 season, when the team reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup where they lost to eventual winners Wigan Athletic. Although the team had occupied a play-off place around Christmas, they suffered a late season slump and only confirmed their Championship status on the final day of the season, ending in 20th place. Three days after the season concluded he resigned, saying he felt "the time is right for a new challenge, and also for a new manager to come into Millwall with fresh ideas". The Millwall board accepted his decision "with reluctance".
On 31 May 2013 Jackett was announced as the new head coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers following the sacking of Dean Saunders. He took over with the club competing at the third level for the first time since 1989, and began his tenure at the club with a goalless draw at Preston. The team went on to record a run of victories which earned Jackett a nomination as the August League One Manager of the Month and which brought the club their best ever start in a league campaign. Jackett was again nominated for the Manager of the Month Award in October following an unbeaten run where his side earned 10 points from four games.
Under his command, Wolves gained promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt as League One champions and set a new divisional points record by reaching 103 points. At the conclusion of the season, he was announced as joint-winner of the LMA Awards Manager of the Year for League One, having earlier won the monthly award for March 2014. He then led the club to a seventh-placed finish in the Championship, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
- Swansea City
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Football League Championship Manager of the Month (2): April 2012, November 2012 (both at Millwall), August 2014 (with Wolverhampton Wanderers)
- Football League One Manager of the Month (3): September 2008, October 2009, March 2010 (all with Millwall), March 2014 (with Wolverhampton Wanderers)
- LMA League One Manager of the Year: 2013–14 (shared)
- As of 29 August 2015
|Watford||21 May 1996||12 May 1997||57||22||19||16||38.60|
|Swansea City||5 April 2004||15 February 2007||156||69||40||47||44.23|
|Millwall||6 November 2007||7 May 2013||307||130||74||103||42.35|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||31 May 2013||Present||107||57||28||22||53.27|
Jackett currently lives in St Albans with his wife Samantha and their two sons, David and Ryan.
In popular culture
in the comic novel Clubbed to Death by Grant Hill, the character Cornelius Morgan admits to being bi-curious for Kenny Jackett because "he's my favourite-ever Watford player". Throughout the book, Cornelius frequently alludes to fantasies he harbours concerning Jackett.
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- Kenny Jackett management career statistics at Soccerbase
- Kenny Jackett tribute on Blind, Stupid and Desperate (Watford F.C. fan site)