Obituary: Jack Mansell

Jack Mansell
Jack Mansell

A LEFT-BACK who was tenacious in the tackle and possessed a forward-thinking mentality ahead of his time.

That’s how Jack Mansell will be remembered among Pompey fans following his death last Saturday, at the age of 88.

Mansell scored eight goals in 144 appearances over five years at Fratton Park, following his arrival from Cardiff in 1953.

Eddie Lever was the manager to bring him to the club where he became an instant favourite with fans.

Pompey’s fortunes picked up with Mansell in the side as he made 23 appearances as the Blues finished 14th.

That was bettered by a memorable 1954-55 season, where Mansell was an ever-present in the team which finished third in the top flight.

Mansell missed just one match the following season, and was involved in a memorable clash with Stanley Matthews in August of that season.

A no-nonsense tackle from Mansell on the Wizard of the Dribble left Matthews on his backside in front of the home dugout in the 3-3 draw.

A further 28 appearances were made across the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons, before appendicitis brought his career to a premature close at the age of 30.

Mansell was renowned for his ferocious left-footed shot in his time at Pompey, and a willingness to get forward not often seen from his position in his days.

As well as that, he was a fine exponent of the sliding tackle – something he would regularly demonstrate to the delight of his fans.

Recognition for his quality arrived in the former Brighton player receiving two England B caps, selection for the Football League representative side and two FA tours of South Africa.

Mansell’s passion for coaching had been clear at Pompey, when he took the club’s youngsters for sessions.

So it was no surprise to see him move into management, where his attacking principles as player were seen in his approach.

He went on to work with Sheffield Wednesday,and QPR before managing Rotherham, Reading, Galatasaray, Maccabi Haifa the Israeli national side and other roles in Bahrain, Holland and the USA.