11/12 Review: 10. Simeon Jackson
Everyone’s favourite former McDonalds employee, Simeon Jackson, had a quiet start to his first Premier League campaign. After a euphoric end to the promotion season, many wondered what part Simeon would have to play in the top flight. With his key role in getting us here, eyebrows were raised in the first few games when Chris Martin got the nod ahead of Jacko.
As the season developed, Lambert clearly established he wanted to play with a single striker leading the line. While the messiah’s preference of one lone striker worked terrifically for the team, it left Simeon in the shadows. Clearly the role was much more suited to Morison and Holt, leaving Jacksonvery much third choice. He scored an international hat-trick against St Lucia from the right wing in October, and I was surprised he didn’t get a chance in that position for City, with Elliot Bennett yet to show his full potential at that stage of the season.
It wasn’t until November at home to QPR that the Canadian got his first Premier League start, and he had to wait until five days before Christmas for his first goal, a hilariously bad finish in a 2-2 draw away to Mick McCarthy’s merry men, in what was a pulsating end to end game.
Simeon really stepped up in the New Years Eve draw against Fulham. After being disappointingly dominated by Spurs four days earlier, the Carrow Road faithful needed someone to put the cherry on the top of the icing of the cake of a tremendous 2011. In the Championship days under Lambert, we had become accustomed to a vital late goal, but the trend didn’t continue with promotion. However on this occasion, Simeon popped up with a 94th minute header past former Ipswich loanee David Stockdale, to send 26,000 Canaries into raptures.
Throughout the season Simeon’s work-rate has been second to none. This was evident in the quite brilliant 3-2 win away to Swansea, where despite not scoring, Simeon played a key part in unlocking the Swansea defence at ‘fortress’Liberty. He was also unlucky to be subbed at half-time after an energetic performance at home to Manchester United.
The one criticism some may lay at him his he perhaps doesn’t score enough goals. But what is enough? Lionel Messi scored 73 goals this season and it still didn’t suffice in the grand scheme of things. Simeon Jackson has been a credit to Norwich City Football Club since his arrival for £600,000 in the summer of 2010. While much has been made this season of Grant Holt’s rise from tyre-fitter to Premier League colossus, it is also worth nothing Jackson himself has made a similar rise through the lower leagues before arriving in Norfolk. Only four years ago he was plying his trade with non-league Rushden & Diamonds, and season by season has made the steps up to one of the most prestigious leagues in the world, and indeed joins Holty and Wilbraham as players who’ve now scored in all 4 divisions.
Regardless of his limited goals in the Premier League, I’ve not met one fan who would want to see him out the door. I would argue had he been given more starts, Simeon wouldn’t have been too far off double figures by the time he scored City’s final goal of the season as City coasted to a 2-0 victory over Villa in the May sunshine.
While Simeon hasn’t had as much time to entertain on the pitch as he may have liked, he certainly has off the pitch. Watching him slowly get to grips with the concept of Twitter was entertaining and fascinating in equal quantities. Once he did get the hang of it, we learned he was fairly suspect to a good practical joke. Yarmouthgate was one such incident where he fell foul of his team-mates cunning ways.
To the amusement of many, we also discovered Simeon has an undying love for relatively irrelevant American celebrity Kim Kardashian. However, undoubtedly my favourite tweet from Simeon was this beauty ‘How the hell does a jungle junction toy take an hour to build… Wat are these toy companies thinking.. “Hmmm how hard can we make this??’. What a brilliant man.
As well as having competition from Kanye, Simeon will face stiff competition from his fellow Norwich City strikers in the coming season. With James Vaughan back from injury, he will need to redouble his efforts to have a meaningful impact next season. Whatever happens over the summer, I sincerely hope there is a lot more to come from the 25 year-old at Carrow Road, who has become one of our club’s finest servants in just two short, but very eventful seasons.