Kenneth Francis Jackett
(born 5 January 1962) is a former professional footballer and
manager of Portsmouth in League One.
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 took over as Manager of Wolverhampton
Wanderers, a position he held until July 2016. He was appointed
Rotherham United manager in October 2016 before leaving in November.
In June 2017 it was announced he would take over from Paul Cook to
become the Portsmouth manager.
The son of professional footballer Frank Jackett, who played for
Watford between 1949 and 1953, 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
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
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.
The following season was less successful as the team finished in
14th place, having failed to mount a promotion challenge.
In July 2016 the club was purchased by the Chinese conglomerate
Fosun International. Although media speculation cited Julen
Lopetegui as being Jackett's replacement upon the takeover being
completed, the new owners initially confirmed that they planned to
work with Jackett after Lopetegui was appointed the Spanish national
team coach. However, four days later, on 29 July 2016, the club
confirmed that Jackett's contract had been terminated.
Jackett was announced as Rotherham United manager on 21 October
2016, following the sacking of Alan Stubbs. He signed a three-year
contract with the bottom-placed Championship club. Jackett resigned
as manager on 28 November after 39 days and five games in charge.
On Friday 2nd June 2017, it was announced Jackett had signed a two
year contract to become Portsmouth FC manager, after the previous
manager,Paul Cook had left Portsmouth in late May to join Wigan