Jameson, John (‘Jackie’) (1957–2002), soccer player, was born 27 March 1957 in Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, youngest son of John Jameson, CIÉ employee, and Margaret Jameson (née Stephens) of Cashel Avenue. As a teenager he developed tetanus after cutting his leg playing football, and only the prompt action of a doctor saved his life. His recovery necessitated keeping his leg in cotton wool for twelve months. He started his football career as a schoolboy at Lourdes Celtic before moving to Shamrock Rovers (1975). A tall and rangy striker, after a couple of seasons in Rovers’ reserve team he signed for St Patrick's Athletic, where he quickly established himself as one of the League of Ireland's most skilful and entertaining players, scoring 17 league goals in three seasons and helping St Pats to the FAI Cup final in 1980, which they lost 1–0 to Waterford. It was the first of three losing cup-final appearances for him.
Later that year he signed for Bohemians, where his ability and a succession of tremendous performances made him a legend to the club's supporters, many of whom rate him as the club's finest-ever player. He was top scorer for Bohemians for the next four seasons, scoring 49 goals, until injury and illness began to take its toll in the 1985/6 season, restricting him to a handful of appearances. He went on to score a further 21 goals for the club over the next four seasons. His final season, 1989/90, saw him restricted to just 14 appearances and three league goals; his last goal was the winner against Galway United on 14 January 1990 after coming on as a substitute, while his final appearance for Bohemians was in a 1–0 home reverse to UCD two weeks later (28 January). In nine seasons with the club he made 205 league appearances, scoring 70 goals, and had a career total of 275 appearances and 87 goals. He was released by Bohemians in 1990 and retired from the game. He never won any major trophies during a fifteen-year career: the closest he came with Bohemians was losing FAI Cup finals in 1982 and 1983 to Limerick and Sligo Rovers respectively, and finishing as runners-up in the league on two occasions (1983/4, 1984/5), both times to Shamrock Rovers. Nonetheless, his talent lit up what was often a stagnant local football scene and he was widely recognised as the league's most skilful player. A regular, if not a prolific, goal-scorer, he rarely scored an ‘ordinary’ goal. Many spectators came to matches purely to see him play. Charlie Walker, the man who signed both him and the multi-capped Paul McGrath for St Pat's, regarded Jameson as the best player he ever worked with (Evening Herald, 30 Oct. 2002).
Although over 6 ft (1.83 m) tall, he was at his best with the ball on the ground. He had a languid, elegant style, had tremendous close control, and was difficult to dispossess when on the ball. His build and his placid temperament were ideal for the rather physical nature of soccer in Ireland in the 1980s. Some observers felt that he lacked the pace to be a really top-class player, but he never failed to impress against quality opposition. One of his most memorable performances was for Bohemians against Glasgow Rangers in a UEFA cup tie (September 1984), when he mesmerised the Rangers defence and set up a famous 3–2 victory for the Dublin club. He reputedly played even better in the return leg two weeks later, where his ability to hold up the ball and take on defenders allowed Bohemians to hold out until two goals in the last six minutes gave Rangers a 4–3 aggregate victory. Although he was regularly suggested as a candidate for the full international side, he was never selected, and his international opportunities were confined to Inter-League games and an all-League of Ireland side that represented Ireland in the Olympic games qualifying competition in 1986–7. His last appearance was in a 3–0 win against the Irish League on 17 May 1990.
A modest and introverted man, he rarely socialised with other players, preferring to go home directly after a game. Although many people would have liked to see him try his luck in British or continental football, he was never tempted by offers from abroad: his personality and individual style were probably not suited to the more rigid requirements of full-time professional football. After leaving Bohemians he had no further involvement with the game. He worked for some years as a hospital attendant and later at a number of other jobs. Unmarried, he drowned in tragic circumstances at Dún Laoghaire on 28 October 2002, aged 45. His reputation in the local game is such that many Bohemians supporters, even those who have never seen him play, simply refer to him by his nickname, ‘the Great Man’.