Charlton AthleticSport

Johnnie Jackson dreams of reaching 500-game milestone during a Charlton win at Wembley

Retiring Charlton legend Johnnie Jackson has made 499 first-team appearances during his playing career – and dreams of racking up a 500that Wembley.

The Addicks skipper’s late cameo during the 1-0 defeat at Rochdale on the final day of the regular league season edged him towards the personal milestone. The 35-year-old hopes he will get the chance to surpass it in dream circumstances during the League One play-off final the home of English football later this month.

“It’d be a lie if I said I hadn’t thought about it,” admitted Jackson.

“I’ve always said it will be about the team –  what’s right. If there’s opportunity anywhere, me and Lee (Bowyer) with have a discussion. But it won’t be to the detriment of the team or for personal ego or sentiment. We’ll put that aside.

“It’d be a lie if I said I hadn’t thought about getting the 500 up at Wembley the day Charlton get promoted up to the Championship – it’s things you dream about. I’ve considered that. But if I was 499 and out, and Charlton went up to the Championship, I’ll retire a happy man.

“499 not out. It’s a shame we couldn’t give [the 1,611 travelling fans] a win, the support was unbelievable again. They turned out in their numbers as they’ve always have done for us. Another lovely ovation at the end. Really pleasing. It was nice to get on there, get a couple of minutes back out there. It’s been a while. 499. It’s setting up for a nice little…listen. Let’s just take care of business and then we’ll worry about the other stuff.”

Jackson has been making the transition between playing and coaching over the last couple of years and is currently assistant manager to caretaker boss Lee Bowyer.

“It’s been full-on,” said Jackson of managing both coaching and playing roles recently.

“Since Lee took the job and I’ve been assisting him it’s really been full-on and we’ve had a lot of games. The preparation that we have to do as a player and a coach are completely different.  One eye on playing and trying to get to your personal milestone. I’ve been trying to juggle all that but ultimately, it’s been about the team and preparing to get them right. Getting all the coaching we need into them and sending them out there best prepared to win games.

“Credit to the lads, they’ve been brilliant. Done exactly what we’ve asked of them. They’ve always left it all out there. You can’t say this isn’t a team that fights for a badge and that’s what supporters want to see from their team. Sprinkle that in with a bit of quality and positive results and it’s a team to be proud of. They’re doing us proud, the boys.”

Monday sees the annual player of the year dinner at The Valley – an event that normally gives the chance for the squad to relax and enjoy a few drinks with supporters at the end of the season.

But with a play-off campaign still to come, Jackson joked that he’ll have to be on his best behaviour this time around.

“I’ll be on the sparkling waters. Maybe put a dash of lime in there. It won’t be full throttle like it has been in years previous. Not from me of course obviously, from the others.”

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