OBITUARY: Jack Bertolini (1934 – 2021)

It is with sadness that we report the passing of fifties hero Jack Bertolini who died on Monday in a Worthing care home.  He was 87.

Born in Alloa, Scotland, of Italian descent, Jackie started his senior career with Stirling Albion in the early fifties.  He became a Workington player when Ted Smith signed him in 1953, making his Workington debut in a home game against Oldham Athletic on the 31 January, 1953.  The following week, Jackie scored his first Football League goal helping Reds overcome Tranmere Rovers at Borough Park.

Jack Bertolini

He would play for Workington over six seasons, becoming very popular with the Reds supporters during that time, serving under the likes of Bill Shankly and Joe Harvey.

In total, he made 183 League appearances for Reds, plus 11 more outings in the FA Cup, and topped the 200 mark in terms of games after turning out in four County Championship matches and four of our floodlight friendlies.

Jackie scored in the first game under floodlights at Borough Park and made a habit of scoring against Carlisle United, five in total.  His 36 league goals included a hat-trick in a 3-2 home win over York City early in the ’56-57 campaign.

The wing half played in the club’s famous FA Cup tie versus Manchester United in 1958 but, in the summer of that year, supporters were disappointed to learn that one of their favourites was transferring to Brighton & Hove Albion in a part exchange deal which saw Roy Tennant become a Workington player.

The popular Scot became just as popular during his eight seasons at the Goldstone Ground making well over 250 league and cup outings for the Seagulls.    

Jack’s health deteriorated in recent years, due to the onset of dementia, but he passed away peacefully with members of his family in attendance.

Our condolences go to Jack’s family and friends.    

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