Jackie Oakes

Jackie Oakes played 457 league and cup games for Queen of the South in a career that spanned 23 years. A quick, athletic left winger, Oakes is fourth in Queens all time appearances list. Oakes was part of two of the finest sides in Queens history each of which finished in sixth place in Scotland’s top league. Oakes also played for Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City.

Early years
 
Jackie Oakes was born in Hamilton on 6th December 1919. He started his senior football career in England with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1935 signed by Major Frank Buckley.
 
Queen of the South (first spell) 
 
In 1936, Oakes signed for Queen of the South for the first time, under the management of George McLachlan. Players at the club during this time included Willie Savage, Willie Culbert, Willie Ferguson, Joe Tulip and former Irish international Laurie Cumming.
 
Oakes’ Queens career began with a reserve game against Third Lanark on Christmas Day 1936. Aged 17, his first team debut was in a 3-3 draw on April 24, 1937 with a hint of irony by playing Hamilton Academical. Ferguson had recently become Queens manager. Oakes at this point played on the right wing despite being ultimately known for playing on the left flank.
 
Taking a pass from ex internationalist, Phil Watson, the mighty Oakes opened the scoring in Queens 1937-38 season ending 3-2 victory against Rangers at Ibrox Park, Queens first ever league win against Rangers. Jackie Law scored two for Queens (George Hamilton  also played for Queens that day).
 
Ferguson’s reign was little more than a year old before he retired from football completely. Taking over as Manager was Jimmy McKinnell Snr. Neilly Gibson was appointed as trainer. McKinnell signed the vastly experienced Tommy Lang. As well as being an FA Cup winner with Newcastle, Lang played for Manchester United, Huddersfield and Swansea.
 
The 1938/39 league campaign began with a trip to Motherwell and a defeat with a record breaking 8-5 score. The 2-0 defeat of Arbroath a week later put the first points of the season on the board. The next week was the date for the visit of Motherwell to Dumfries. It appears both sides had been working on their defensive drills since the season opener – only seven goals were scored this time as Queens won 4-3. Queens also hit the post with a penalty and had another goal disallowed. Man of the match Lang hit a double. The 11,000 crowd was a new record at Palmerston for a midweek game.
 
Queens’ good form continued into September when on the 17th Queens played Falkirk at Palmerston. A 2-0 Doonhamers victory put them on to the thirteen point mark and a new experience in the history of the club – for the first time ever Queen of the South sat on the top of the highest division of Scottish football. With Dave Halliday’s Aberdeen side a point behind, Queens stayed top after the next game with a 2-1 win away to Partick.
 
Queens stay at the top was short but it was certainly sweet. Queens enjoyed some further fine results with a New Year’s Day 6-1 horsing of Ayr United. Hibs and Raith like Ayr were beaten home and away. A useful point was picked up in each of the 1-1 home draws against that season’s top three, Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen. However the most notable victory of the season was the 2-1 win at Tynecastle against the Hearts team who finished fourth.
 
In the Scottish Cup Queens made it to the quarter finals where Halliday put one over his home town club with a 2-0 home win for Aberdeen. Queens ended the league season in a highly respectable sixth spot in Scotland’s top tier.
 

 
 
P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Goal ave
1
38
25
9
4
112
55
59
2.04
2
38
20
8
10
99
53
48
1.87
3
38
20
6
12
91
61
46
1.49
4
38
20
5
13
98
70
45
1.4
5
38
19
7
12
73
63
45
1.16
6
38
17
9
12
69
64
43
1.08

 
Season 1939/40 saw Queens in ninth place after five games. Events in Scotland then took a much graver turn. The storm clouds had been over Europe for some time. Following Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the UK finally declared war against Nazi Germany on September 3rd 1939. With football now of peripheral importance the SFA voted unanimously to abandon Scottish football.
 
Queens played only the first season in the Scottish war time leagues that were subsequently set up. The relatively isolated location of Dumfries ultimately counted against Queens.
 
Oakes served in the war as a Police Officer in the RAF. As well as playing for various teams during the war the stocky Oakes put his athleticism to use by winning the forces 100, 220 and 440 yard championships. Oakes also sprinted at Powderhall races. The club history of Hearts speaks particularly highly of Jackie Oakes of the guest players who turned out for the Jambos during the war.
 
Oakes was also remembered at this time by his future QoS team mate, Bobby Black. "A very quiet man, Jackie Oakes was an athlete. I can’t think of any other description than being athletic. I played with him during the war when he came home on leave from the RAF. I was still just out of school, I was in Thornhill ATC. Queens were defunct at that time. I was still playing for the ATC but I got picked to play for a Queen of the South select along with Jackie Oakes. We played for the same team against the RAF at Heathhall Aerodrome in Dumfries."
 
With the end of the European conflict in May 1945 plans were made to resurrect the national two division set up in Scotland. While still not a return to the full set up, the surrender of Japan in August meant football could enjoy some increase in importance after the end of the horrors of war. Queens were however allowed to rejoin the top division where they had been prior to the global conflict. Turning out for Queens in their return to national competition were some familiar names. They included Willie Savage, Joe Tulip, Jackie Law and Jackie Oakes.
 
Queens’ league opener after the end of the war was a 3-0 win against Hibs at Palmerston. Early in the season brought a new team mate for Oakes to line up beside in the first string, Billy Houliston. The following season another Queens legend joined Oakes in the first team, goalie Roy Henderson. However they would not make it to the season’s end as club mates. Their great days together were still some years away.
 
Blackburn Rovers
 
After World War 2 the English League began again in earnest in 1946/47. Jackie Oakes joined Blackburn Rovers in February 1947 after turning down Manchester City. Blackburn were no longer the wealthy, influential club that they were in the 20s. Thus team building now was done on a shoe string budget. The man charged with taking Rovers back to the promised land was Eddie Hapgood, the ex Arsenal and England captain from the 1930s. The side was a mixture of veterans from before the war and youngsters who had emerged during the war years. By Christmas Rovers were clearly in a relegation battle. To try to buy the club out of trouble £26,000 was spent on three players – Jock Weir, Francis McCorrighan and Jackie Oakes.
 
Oakes was by no means the first person Rovers have plundered from Dumfries. Rovers’ greatest ever manager, Thomas Mitchell, was from Dumfries and joined Rovers the year of their first FA Cup win in 1884. He took Blackburn to four more in his 12 years in charge including a final victory in 1891 against the Notts County side featuring David Calderhead (ex Queen of the South Wanderers Scotland international). Additionally, in the early days of QoS, Blackburn signed no less than three Queens players in 1920 and 1921:-
 
 * Jimmy McKinnell from Dalbeattie switched clubs in 1920. McKinnell made 111 league and 13 F.A. Cup appearances for Blackburn before leaving in 1926. McKinnell was a left half.
 
 * Willie McCall from Wallacetown also transferred in 1920 and had a much shorter stay – McCall made only 11 league appearances before joining Wolves in 1922.
 
 * Tom Wylie from Darvel joined Rovers from Queens in 1921. Wylie left in 1926 after 174 league and 17 FA Cup appearances. Wylie was a left back.
 
In the time of the three ex Doonhamers, Rovers were a solid mid top division side with their best finish the eight place in 1924. Their best cup run was in 1925 when after seeing off Oldham, Portsmouth, Spurs and Blackpool they lost to the strong Cardiff team of the 20s in the semi at Meadow Lane. Wylie played in all eight games in the cup run; McKinnell missed only the Oldham game. Despite the creditable appearances tally of McKinnell and Wylie their goals tally reflect their position in the back five of the team – neither ever scored for Blackburn.
 
Jackie Oakes made his debut for Rovers in the 1-1 draw at home to Derby County on February 15th 1947. He was an ever-present for the remainder of the season, making a total of 16 appearances and scoring two goals. His first goal for the club came against the season’s eventual champions, Liverpool, in a 2-1 defeat at Anfield on March 8th. Oakes’ second goal that season came in the 2-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on April 4th.
 
The signings of Oakes, McCorrighan and Weir allied to another newcomer, Alec Ventners, boosted the club’s results. The wild Rovers stayed in the top flight.
 
Relations had deteriorated between manager and the board leading to Hapgood’s resignation in February ’47. Next in the hot seat was Will Scott but his reign was short due to ill health. Scott was succeeded by Jack Bruton. The team was also in a state of flux and another relegation dog fight ensued. This time there was to be no escape.
 
In season 1947-48, Jackie Oakes made 19 appearances in the league and two in the FA Cup (both against West Ham). He scored seven league goals. His first of the season was also his first at Ewood Park – in the 4-0 win over Grimsby Town on September 20th 1947. He scored a penalty in the 3-1 win at Maine Road against Manchester City a week later and then made it three goals in as many games after netting in the 3-2 defeat at home to Preston on October 4th. He scored twice (a terrific thirteenth minute dribble and drive and the other a penalty) as the Ewood cutters chopped Bolton down to size with a 4-0 win on November 1st. Oakes then scored Rovers’ only goals in defeats to Middlesbrough at home on November 29th and at Goodison Park against Everton on December 20th. His final appearance for the club came in the 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on April 10th.
 
In total Jackie Oakes played 35 league and two FA Cup games for Blackburn Rovers scoring nine goals. Playing alongside many Rovers stalwarts, his best known team mate was probably England full back, Bill Eckersley. While Rovers dropped a division, a top division side made an offer to keep Oakes in the top tier.
 
Manchester City
 
Oakes was again remembered by Bobby Black: "He had a great a career; he played for Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City. He played for Manchester City in Copenhagen when East Fife [Black’s then club] were on tour in Denmark and Sweden at that time. I remember reading about our team playing and reading about Manchester City playing and Oakes was the star man."
 
Oakes played beside some notable names at City; Future Liverpool European Cup winning manager Joe Fagan and two highly distinguished goalkeepers – Frank Swift and then the extraordinary Bert Trautmann (Trautmann, awarded the Iron Cross 1st class during the war as well as escaping twice after being captured first by the Russians and then by the French resistance, put in arguably the most famous performance in Man City history when in the 1956 FA Cup final he seriously injured his neck diving at a players’ feet. Playing on making crucial saves to preserve City’s 3-1 lead despite a noticeably crooked neck, an x-ray 3 days later revealed Trautmann’s neck was broken).
 
 
(Oakes is front left. Back left is Fagan. Trautmann is in the goalkeeper’s jersey)
 
When at City things were never dull. In Oakes’ first season in Manchester he and his fellow Maine men improved on the previous season’s 10th place by finishing seventh in 1948/49.
 
The FA Cup brought little joy for Oakes again with a third round defeat by Everton – now the club of Dumfries born forward Jimmy McIntosh.
 
The next season brought disappointment as City were in another relegation battle. Near the season’s end and battling for their top flight survival, City beat the Sunderland side of Ivor Broadis – a defeat that ultimately cost Sunderland the title. Oakes scored the opener in the 2-1 win that was the only double league defeat Sunderland endured that season. It wasn’t enough to save the Mancunian club – they still ended up relegated.
 
The visit to the second tier was to be a short one – the City slickers were promoted back to the top division at the first attempt.
 
In total Oakes made 77 league appearances for Manchester City in which like at Blackburn he scored nine goals.
 
Queen of the South (2nd spell)

Another QoS player from the 50s, Charlie Brown. "Jackie Oakes was a good player. When I joined Queens he had gone to Blackburn and Manchester City and then he came back. I knew Jackie Oakes personally from the golf course, he was quite a good golfer as well. When he came back he was a telephone operator up in the exchange on Great King St."

 
Jackie Oakes rejoined Queen of the South in the Summer of 1951 signed by Jimmy McKinnell Junior (McKinnell had replaced his father as manager in 1946 before Oakes’ departure to England). Ahead of him lay many great times at Queens playing alongside in particular Roy Henderson, the goals king of Queens’ Jim Patterson, and sterling full backs Dougie Sharpe and Jimmy Binning. Bobby Black joined them a year later in 1952. Many of the best moments Oakes enjoyed with this group are listed under the Queens Legends features on Binning and Sharpe in particular.
 
Jackie Oakes scored Queens’ goal in the game with the highest recorded attendance at Palmerston Park. On 23rd February 1952 a staggering crowd of 26,552 squeezed very tightly in to see Queens play in a Scottish Cup 3rd round 3-1 win for Hearts.
 
Late in his Queens career Oakes was joined by Ivor Broadis, previously of Oakes’ tussles for Man City against Sunderland. Oakes played in the 7-1 Boxing Day win against Queens Park in 1959. Broadis scored four. Alex Ferguson was the Queens Park scorer.
 
Sir Alex Ferguson (as he now is) was approached and asked to contribute his memories of that game to qosfc.com. All of his comments are contained in the Queens Legends feature on Ivor Broadis. His comments included:-
 
"The other reason to remember the game was the ages of the Queen of the South forward line, it probably averaged about 34!  Black, Broadis, Patterson, Dunlop, Oakes, I remember it all too well."
 
Shortly after in February 1960, Oakes was joined on the QoS playing staff by another ex opponent from his days in England’s top division, goalkeeper George Farm.
 
23 years after his debut, Oakes played at Queens until aged 40 in 1960, clocking up a total of 457 games and 81 goals for the club. Oakes is fourth in the list of all time Queen of the South appearances behind Allan Ball and Iain McChesney, and in between team mates Jim Patterson and Dougie Sharpe. In the club scoring chart he is tenth. With the exception of his last season, all of his time as a QoS player was spent in Scotland’s top flight. He then replaced Neilly Gibson to become the club trainer for three years.
 
Jackie Oakes died on 3rd December 1995.
 
Career league summary:-
 
JACKIE OAKES
 
 
 
Born: Hamilton
d.o.b: 6 December 1919
Position:
Winger
 
 
Teams
Seasons
Apps.
Gls.
Source : St. Mary’s School (Hamilton)
 
 
Wolverhampton Wds.
36-37
0
0
Queen of the South
36-47
79
16
Blackburn Rovers
46-48
35
9
Manchester City
48-51
77
9
Queen of the South
50-60
232
38
Joined Queen of the South Coaching Staff
 
 
 
Totals
423
72
 
 
Kirk McLean