Footballing ancestry helps Hartlepool United winger Compton make his mark

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JACK Compton has it covered from both sides of the family tree when it comes to footballing heritage.

The Pools winger is following in the stud marks of dad, Paul, who appeared for Bournemouth and Torquay United among others, returning to manage the latter in 1993.

While granddad, John “Jack” Philbin, was a junior at Newcastle United before turning pro with Derby County, Torquay and Brighton, the Second World War cutting short his playing days.

Indeed, today would have marked the 100th birthday of Jarrow-born John, who started his career with Washington Colliery before signing for the Rams in 1934.

The tricky inside-left passed away in 1983 but his name lives on in the form of grandson Jack, who this week celebrated his 25th birthday with his first goal for his new club during the 5-0 rout of Bradford City.

But despite that on-the-pitch ancestry, it is grandma, Lillian, who is the inspiration behind the tattoo which decorates Compton’s right arm.

So it is little surprise which subject he welcomed most this week.

“Family are everything to me,” he stated with a smile.

“The tattoo on my arm is from something my nan said to me – ‘The more you believe in yourself and work hard, the more you’ll succeed in following your dreams’.

“So there is a lot of meaning to it, it’s not your stereotypical footballer’s tattoo.

“She passed away a few years ago but the tattoo reminds me that she is always there.

“Her husband, my granddad, was a footballer and I was named after him even though I never met him.

“He moved down to play for Torquay and that was when he met my nan and their daughter is my mum, Elaine.

“Granddad was a left-footed winger as well so maybe I’ve followed in his footsteps when it comes to how I play.

“But I have to say that I owe everything to my dad.

“I’ve had so much support from him.

“He’s my best friend and I speak to him five or six times a day, which helps me so much being up here by myself right now.

“When he comes to watch he criticises, but he does it in a way which helps me.

“Without him I don’t think I’d be a professional footballer.”

Compton’s emphasis on family means his move to the North East has been doubly hard, especially given the summer birth of daughter Arabella.

“Hopefully my family will move up shortly – that is massive for me,” said the close-season signing.

“They’re all back in Cardiff at the moment and that means a five-hour drive to see them.

“I’ve just had a new baby girl as well so that makes it even harder.

“I went a month without seeing her recently which is tough, but I hope that shows the fans that I’m dedicated to Hartlepool United.

“When I scored on Tuesday the ‘A’ sign I made was for her.

“So I’m loving every minute of it so far but I’ll only get better.

“I’ve got my first goal now and I’ve set myself a target of 10 – hopefully number two will come this weekend against Wycombe.”

That would certainly be a fitting way to mark his granddad’s milestone.