The Aberdeen faithful still love hearing the name ‘Eoin Jess’ with he still being rightly one of the best players who have worn the red shirt. The loyalty he showed the club during his two spell there has certainly not been forgotten.
When Jess was hogging the headlines back in the 1990s for the Dons John Ingram (my uncle) was watching proudly on at the player’s development into a top footballer. He had the privilege of coaching the striker for the Banff Academy football team. John Ingram revealed that he had a deep conversation with Jess about whether he should sign for the Rangers youth team or Aberdeen. Ingram said, “At the time I did say then that he would be given more game time at Aberdeen and it would benefit his development as a player. “But he chose to sign for Rangers which in my opinion kind of affected his confidence.” Then the striker signed for Aberdeen where he made his debut for the first team at the young age of 17. Ingram was delighted when this happened. “I was well chuffed for the young lad. He deserved it for his work rate and ability. “When he played for the Academy team I put him in a sort of Wayne Rooney position which suited him a lot.”
Jess is most well-known for helping Aberdeen destroy Rangers at Hampden in the 1989 League Cup final and when he outclassed Rangers’s Paul Gascoigne who was making his Hampden debut in the 1995 League Cup Semi-final. The Geordie goal machine was expected to rip the Dons apart with ease and send the Gers through into the final. But magically instead Jess gave one of his finest performances in a red shirt.
On Thursday, the 19th of November in 1992 Scottish fans moaned in disbelief as Scotland crashed out of the World Cup due to them only managing to record a goalless draw against Italy. Eoin Jess made his debut for his country on this night which the tartan army wanted to quickly erase from their brains.
He later played for Coventry City, Bradford City, Nottingham Forest and Northampton Town where things went downhill for the striker, but his commitment shouldn’t be underplayed. Jess won a great number of trophies during his two spells at Aberdeen including League titles, a Scottish Cup medal and League Cup medals.
John Ingram jokingly said that he takes so credit for Eoin Jess having a successful football career. “My all right coaching must have worked a bit. But seriously fair play to him on having a great football career and I am proud of having the opportunity to coach him. “I never thought I would see one of the most well known and best Aberdeen players of all time coming from Banff Academy which was a great surprise”. Aberdonians still miss the deadly striker to this day and remarkably he attended the same Academy as me that I currently go to.
By Sean McAngus