Derek Jackson is a former East Stirlingshire goalkeeper. He’s a current prison worker, first-team goalkeeping coach at Falkirk and youth coach at the Forth Valley Academy and Graham High school.
To that lengthy list add fashion designer.
When I first met Jacko, as a freelance football reporter at a Shire match ten years ago this month, he had just had his new baby son’s name embroidered on his gloves.
Fast forward a decade and baby Luke is no baby any more, but Jackson is still concerned in the stitching on gloves.
He’s recently launched his own branch of goalkeeper equipment – One Touch Pro.
Already the gloves, which are on sale in the Falkirk club shop – are on their third manufacturing run with more improvements and designs planned.
Jackson even plans to further his range from gloves into all-round goalkeeping clothing and equipment, based on the experiences playing the game, and coaching.
“I’ve thought of doing it for a while. I’ve worn just about every make of glove and never found one that had both the comfort and the grip.
So I thought I’d manufacture my own. I contacted a company, described what I wanted, put all the drawings in and got samples back.
I tried them on, and the Falkirk boys tested them for me and I replied with the changes we wanted made to them, and that was it.
“That was it started.”
Now his designs, and specifications are worn by Falkirk’s number one Danny Rogers.
The padding on the palms is German latex, with similar on the backhand in ‘Dumbo latex’. That “gives you more comfort and makes the frame feel firmer on your hand”.
He added: “They are the same standard as Reusch and Sells. They’re all German latex. We also use giga-grip which is the Rolls Royce of grips.
“ We’ve had two batches up and got another set coming with the changes in colours and stuff . Now it’s just building up designs and styles.”
Being worn on the SPFL Championship platform is great exposure for the fledgling designs – especially when they are pushing away last minute penalties against the league leaders.
DJ added: “The platform for them is great – I have international goalies wearing my gloves! Any chance I get I pass them on. They’re worn in at Rangers and Dundee United and they’ve been taken into Celtic in the past fortnight and the feedback’s been great. It’s all about getting them out there.
“Danny Rogers keeps getting sent Uhlsport, Umbro, Adidas. There are umpteen pairs sitting there, but he chooses mine and he wears them. It’s great he wears them above the others. It’s a complement to me.
“I’m here and at the Forth Valley Academy and Graham High Performance School – word of mouth is only getting round now. Three months its been going on and I’m on my third batch.
I’ve got a few ideas that I’d like to put into a glove myself that aren’t in gloves just now. But I think that’d need patents first before moving on – but the boys on the pitch will do the testing for me as usual.
“I don’t want to stop there but move into the clothing side of it with the skins tops and tights because keepers want skins especially when they’re playing on astroturf because it protects you.”
The gloves are the same for the kids’ gloves as well as the senior professional, and Jackson explains the benefits of the comfort and grip and what’s needed from a glove to his young proteges passing on his experience at the SFA Performance school or Stirling-based youth Academy.
When he’s not, and not at The Falkirk Stadium or working out new glove designs, he’s working his ‘day-job’ – night-shift in the prison service!
“Football is the release for me and being around Falkirk has been great. The club is really buzzing this season, and it’s a great place to be.”