15 Mar 2019 : Road naming ceremony is a fine Way to recognise Linnets' all-time great Jack Search
RUNCORN Linnets will tomorrow afternoon welcome the daughter, other close relatives and friends of a Linnets Legend as Jack Search Way is formally opened.
The roadway, next to the Millbank Linnets Stadium, honours a player who starred for Runcorn FC, predecessors of the present-day club, in their most famous match - an FA Cup third round tie against the holders Preston North End in 1939 - and turned down a move to Arsenal in favour of staying amateur.
The late Jack Search's playing exploits during the 1930s are legendary in Runcorn, stories being passed down the generations - meaning that Jack's name and career are well known to many Linnets followers nowhere near old enough to have seen him play.
He became great friends with Bill Shankly who played for PNE at Runcorn - Bill going on Liverpool manager and Jack an Everton director!
It was with "great delight" that Runcorn Linnets heard last year of the plans by Halton Borough Council to name the roadway running through the new retail park outside the stadium in honour of a player widely considered to be the Linnets' finest.
Jack Search Way will be officially opened at lunchtime tomorrow and it's fitting that the unveiling should take place on the first visit to the MLS of Kendal Town.
Jack's daughter, Jeannie De Rycke and her husband, David live on the outskirts of the Cumbrian town and attended Kendal's earlier EVO-STIK League home game against Linnets.
Linnets Trust secetary, Dave Bettley said: "When the borough council first intimated that they were proposing to honour Jack's memory in this special way, we managed to get in touch with Jack's son John using an old email address in our former chairman Derek Greenwood's contacts list.
"In October, while waiting for the new retail park to take shape (and Jack Search Way to be adopted), we were contacted by Jeannie who told us that very sadly, John had passed away.
"But John knew that his dad's contribution to the Linnets was to be commemorated and like the rest of the Search family, he had been extremely proud to hear of the recognition.
"The club has kept in regular touch with Jeannie and we know she has been very much looking forward to the day".
A number of Jack's nephews and nieces are also among our guests with Councillor Ron Hignett representing Halton Borough Council.
The youngest of nine children, Jack's playing career with the Linnets spanned 14 years, either side of World War Two.
He was the kingpin centre forward in the mid to late 1930s, one of the most successful periods for the former Runcorn club and Jack rejected an offer from Arsenal for a reputed £7,000 switch to Highbury and stayed on as a salesman for Liverpool Gas Company.
1936/37 saw the Linnets winning the Cheshire County League title, doubling up with League Cup success.
The following season they finished as league runners-up, but won the Cheshire Bowl. The final was against Tranmere Rovers who lost a thrilling match at Canal Street 5-4.
The Linnets regained the title in 1938/39 - a season when FA Cup glory came to Canal Street, with the team claiming their first league scalp as they defeated the then Third Division champions, Aldershot in the second round.
Runcorn got the dream tie against the 1938 Cup winners Preston. In front of a club record crowd of 10,111, the Linnets went down 4-2 to two late goals.
After also winning the wartime league in 1939 and 1940, this highly-rated Runcorn team was broken up as the Second World War escalated and the league programme was suspended.
A giant of a man in every respect, 6ft 4in Jack's own wartime service saw him join the Royal Engineers and then the Royal Ordmance Corps, rising to the rank of Lt-Col. He was awarded the George Medal for bravery.
He later became Runcorn FC chairman and served on the Board at Everton from 1977-1988, always looking out for the Linnets' results.
The Linnets' Trust secretary, Dave Bettley added: "A local newspaper headline once said that Jack Search had put Runcorn on the map.
"Now, we are very happy to say, Jack is well and truly on the Runcorn map himself."
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