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Jack Lester: A Tribute
By: Shane Artingstall
TODAY we salute a true Town legend going by the name of Jack Lester. As a fresh-faced youngster Jack was given his first full team debut in 1994 by Brian Laws, but was never able to establish himself as a 1st team regular due to the impressive Mendonca/Woods partnership.
Jack was also behind the likes of Nicky Southall and Daryl Clare in the back up department. However, after a couple years impressing in the reserves a Mendonca-less Town needed a new hitman, someone to try and fill the boots Mendonca left. Lester was that man and filling them maybe was mission impossible but he did make Town fans look to the future instead of dwelling on past memories. He was instrumental in Town's double Wembley triumph and even more so the following season in Town's most impressive division 1 season campaign to date.
But why was "Super" Jack such a fan favourite? His goalscoring tally wasn't much to look at: 19 goals in 100 starts for Town. It was his natural ability and self-belief that made him the terrace favourite that still puts a smile on Town fans' faces.
Jack wasn't the biggest of blokes but he could hold up the ball stronger than men twice his size. He had great vision and could pull off through balls and passes that were thought to be impossible. His style left defenders so frustrated that the only way they could dispossess the man was to hack him down, thus winning Town frequent penalties. He was soon becoming a menace and thorn in the side of the Nationwide League teams.
After disaster stuck Town, as it has done many a time, Alan Buckley was forced to sell his best players which included Lester and he was soon shipped off to Nottingham Forest for a measly £300K, a fee that much to the disbelief of everyone in the footballing world was sadly for us very true. After a few miserable seasons with Forest where it just didn't work for Lester due to Forest's style of play (they preferred direct football, i.e. lump it forward to the front two). Jack's contract was up and he was snapped up by Sheffield Utd where he has now established himself as a first team regular and already a fans' favourite who is back up to his old tricks in Division 1.
For any young Town fan out there who may not remember or be able to appreciate just how good Lester was I hope this is an insight into the life of a Town fan when we had a striker who was a firm terrace favourite, who not only had respect off his own fans but demanded it from everyone around him and put fear into the opposing teams defence, A true great who will forever remain as "Super" Jack Lester in Town fans' eyes, and in most of them a player who is yet still to be replaced.
Jack Lester Links
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