collapse collapse

Please donate to help keep this site going.
Today at 01:48:42 AM by dave.woodhall | Views: 269 | Comments: 6

Every Crystal Palace fan there...
September 26, 2020, 01:15:18 PM by dave.woodhall | Views: 1070 | Comments: 24


[url=https://ibb.co/VpNq...
September 23, 2020, 08:37:01 PM by dave.woodhall | Views: 319 | Comments: 1

Players in England first offic...
September 20, 2020, 01:40:06 PM by dave.woodhall | Views: 704 | Comments: 5

The commentators in the nation...
September 19, 2020, 06:29:36 PM by dave.woodhall | Views: 662 | Comments: 4

The big news since last season...

Follow us on...

Author Topic: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones  (Read 1066 times)

Online dave.woodhall

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 53925
  • Location: Treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.
Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« on: August 11, 2020, 08:48:15 PM »
The long list of those who have appeared in the first team colours includes many who only made it once. There are mostly from the days before we had a manager, because these days every player is likely to be given a second chance as no manager likes to admit they have made a mistake at the first calling.

Most memorable post-war one timer was Arthur Proudler but his appearance at centre-half which resulted in a humiliating 5-2 loss at home to Leicester City has previously been the subject of an article in H&V so I daren’t repeat myself.

Leicester City also featured in the other disastrous single game appearance, this time from the aptly-named  Bill Beaton, a goalkeeper who was on the end of a 6-3 thrashing at Filbert Street that was mainly his fault.

I would then like to tell you about Robert Hopkins, captain of the youth team, who made the shortest and most famous debut ever when Ron Saunders sent him on in the last minute to protect a one goal lead at home to Norwich City. Instead, after he had been on the field barely twenty seconds Robert made it 2-0 and forty seconds later, not having touched the ball again, the game was all over.

However, he rather spoilt this story about one-game wonders by coming on as substitute in the following game at Stoke so he is disqualified.

I could tell you about Freddie Mwela and his one appearance at home to Blackpool in November 1969, but best not. After a lengthy try out with the reserves he went back to his American home with the Atlanta Chiefs (having impressed Tommy Docherty for them on our pre-season tour) older and wiser.

No, the near anonymous person I have chosen as the main subject of this article, and if he gets to see it he will doubtless be thrilled to see his name up in lights so to speak, is Alan Jones. Never heard of him? Well, you are about to.

Alan was signed as a professional by Joe Mercer in November 1958 after sterling work since the start of the season in our fourth team which played in the obscurity of the Warwickshire Combination. This earned him promotion into the Midland Midweek League, the regular home for all emergent trialists at the time and where his Villa Park debut came against Notts County. Alan scored the third of our three goals before half time in a 4-0 stroll. After surrendering the WA Camkin Cup to Warwick Town, his next appearance at headquarters was a second round FA Youth Cup tie against Birmingham City in a team which included Keelan, Deakin, Potter, Tindall Hazelden and Burrows in the early reign of the Mercer Minors. I can report that Alan made his St Andrews debut in a 2-1 triumph, and his Fellows Park debut with a 2-0 victory over Walsall.

But upward progress was restricted by the illustrious company mentioned above although a fourth round Youth Cup thrashing of Barnsley meant he was not out of place playing amongst them, as shown by a 1-1 draw at home against a West Ham side which included Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst. Our cup run ended 2-3  at Upton Park in front of 10,000. 

Back to the Warwickshire Combination without so much as a sniff of Birmingham League football but at least Alan was on the retained list.

And lo and behold he bypassed the third team and opened the new campaign in the Central League. But he was soon back amongst the lesser light, playing in matches on the new training ground we had acquired in Trinity Road. With just three fourth team goals at this point it is difficult to imagine that fame and fortune lies ahead. Best hope of success came with a 4-1 Youth Cup win at Derby after a 1-1 in B6.

But suddenly Alan is back in the reserves playing alongside Johnny Dixon against Manchester United in the famous match when they dropped half the first team including Bobby Charlton (0-1).  The lad done well and even better when he scored when Wolves turned up for a third round youth cup tie (5-1). There was seemingly no going back now. Next Manchester City youths succumbed 2-0 and he gets his name in the reserve programme every week. Only Peter McParland stands between Alan and glory. Other than Chelsea youths that is, because the trip to Stamford Bridge is best forgotten (0-3). His cause wasn't helped when Alan, described as a danger man, got injured early in the game. This meant that Harry Burrows became a threat to his reserve place on the wing.

When the new season 1960-61 opened Alan found himself in the reserves in the public practice match. Too old now for the youth team he tried hard to make the left wing spot his own without doing anything spectacular. But Norman Ashe and Jimmy Adam were now in his shadow and he must have begun to fear the team sheet every Thursday. By the end of the season only three goals led to a demotion and a possible total rejection

But expect the unexpected and at the start of the next season he was back in the reserves for the public practice match. So theoretically he was closer to a place in the League Cup final against Rotherham than he could ever have hoped. Especially when at outside left Burrows took over from McParland, who was moved to number nine and thus his second date with destiny.

Finally on 7th October 1961 Alan got to make his first team debut at Craven Cottage. Sadly for him it was not an auspicious debut because Johnny Haynes had one of his better days and we went down 1-3.

He was now vying for the left wing spot with both Burrows and McParland . Worse, after three seasons and with other challengers come up from behind it was no surprise when the would-be fairy story ended in comparative failure. What was a surprise was where he moved to – Nuneaton Borough, on loan. Implausibly, this was at the very moment Peter McParland chose to move to Wolves.

John Russell

Offline JD

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8228
  • Location: Mainland, NZ
  • GM : 11.01.2021
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 08:09:58 AM »
Another brilliant article. I love reading Mr Russell's articles and history about our great club.

Online dave.woodhall

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 53925
  • Location: Treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2020, 09:53:36 AM »
You look at players who only played once for a club and think that they can't have been up to much, when in reality to even get that far they must have been head and shoulders above just about everyone they ever played with up to that point, and certainly miles better than any of us could ever dream of. When you consider that Ron Atkinson, who went on to have a successful playing career with Oxford, never even played for our reserves it just shows how good a player who made just one first-team appearance must have been. 

Online LeeB

  • Member
  • Posts: 18532
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Standing in the Klix-O-Gum queue.
  • GM : May, 2014
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2020, 12:57:19 PM »
You look at players who only played once for a club and think that they can't have been up to much, when in reality to even get that far they must have been head and shoulders above just about everyone they ever played with up to that point, and certainly miles better than any of us could ever dream of. When you consider that Ron Atkinson, who went on to have a successful playing career with Oxford, never even played for our reserves it just shows how good a player who made just one first-team appearance must have been. 

The gap is incredible between mere mortals and those as you say who just even get close. I well remember a little summer 5 a side tournament a Holly Lane about 15 years ago, and one of the sides a a fat old guy in his late 40's playing, I forget his name but he'd played a bit for Walsall back in the day.
Nobody could get near him, and I don't think he moved quicker than a jog or from within the centre circle the whole time.

Offline Risso

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 58568
  • Location: Leics
  • GM : 28.02.2021
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2020, 01:03:49 PM »
You look at players who only played once for a club and think that they can't have been up to much, when in reality to even get that far they must have been head and shoulders above just about everyone they ever played with up to that point, and certainly miles better than any of us could ever dream of. When you consider that Ron Atkinson, who went on to have a successful playing career with Oxford, never even played for our reserves it just shows how good a player who made just one first-team appearance must have been. 

The gap is incredible between mere mortals and those as you say who just even get close. I well remember a little summer 5 a side tournament a Holly Lane about 15 years ago, and one of the sides a a fat old guy in his late 40's playing, I forget his name but he'd played a bit for Walsall back in the day.
Nobody could get near him, and I don't think he moved quicker than a jog or from within the centre circle the whole time.

We've got a lad like that on Tuesday nights.  Played for Corby Town at a reasonable non-league standard, and nobody can get the ball off him.

Online LeeB

  • Member
  • Posts: 18532
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Standing in the Klix-O-Gum queue.
  • GM : May, 2014
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2020, 04:27:35 PM »
You look at players who only played once for a club and think that they can't have been up to much, when in reality to even get that far they must have been head and shoulders above just about everyone they ever played with up to that point, and certainly miles better than any of us could ever dream of. When you consider that Ron Atkinson, who went on to have a successful playing career with Oxford, never even played for our reserves it just shows how good a player who made just one first-team appearance must have been. 

The gap is incredible between mere mortals and those as you say who just even get close. I well remember a little summer 5 a side tournament a Holly Lane about 15 years ago, and one of the sides a a fat old guy in his late 40's playing, I forget his name but he'd played a bit for Walsall back in the day.
Nobody could get near him, and I don't think he moved quicker than a jog or from within the centre circle the whole time.

We've got a lad like that on Tuesday nights.  Played for Corby Town at a reasonable non-league standard, and nobody can get the ball off him.

I had a couple half hour sub appearances for Petrov's over 35 team, Wythall. They were all at least of that standard, Maik Taylor was the keeper (my mate covered for him, hence me getting a sniff) and Jude Bellingham's dad  (about 700 non-league goals) played up top with Stan.
Granted I'd not played that often in the year or so before, but I was massively out of my depth, although I did win praise for ditching any pretense of ability for absolutely shithousing their best player, getting away with 4 'clumsy' challenges before the ref realised they can't all have been accidental.

Offline Risso

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 58568
  • Location: Leics
  • GM : 28.02.2021
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2020, 12:02:44 AM »
You look at players who only played once for a club and think that they can't have been up to much, when in reality to even get that far they must have been head and shoulders above just about everyone they ever played with up to that point, and certainly miles better than any of us could ever dream of. When you consider that Ron Atkinson, who went on to have a successful playing career with Oxford, never even played for our reserves it just shows how good a player who made just one first-team appearance must have been. 

The gap is incredible between mere mortals and those as you say who just even get close. I well remember a little summer 5 a side tournament a Holly Lane about 15 years ago, and one of the sides a a fat old guy in his late 40's playing, I forget his name but he'd played a bit for Walsall back in the day.
Nobody could get near him, and I don't think he moved quicker than a jog or from within the centre circle the whole time.

We've got a lad like that on Tuesday nights.  Played for Corby Town at a reasonable non-league standard, and nobody can get the ball off him.

I had a couple half hour sub appearances for Petrov's over 35 team, Wythall. They were all at least of that standard, Maik Taylor was the keeper (my mate covered for him, hence me getting a sniff) and Jude Bellingham's dad  (about 700 non-league goals) played up top with Stan.
Granted I'd not played that often in the year or so before, but I was massively out of my depth, although I did win praise for ditching any pretense of ability for absolutely shithousing their best player, getting away with 4 'clumsy' challenges before the ref realised they can't all have been accidental.


I've possibly told this story before, but years ago when I lived in Wigan the firm I worked for did the accounts for Dave Whelan, Wigan Athletic and JJB.  I played 5 aside with a few of lads who worked there, and some of them were pretty good players, and one of my mates JJ went on to become CEO of Wigan Athletic. Anyway, each year there was an 11 aside between the accountants and a team from JJB, mainly their young lads in the warehouse, some of whom had been on the books of Wigan but had been let go. 

One year we were winning quite comfortably, when Dave Whelan appeared with three players in tracksuits who Wigan had just signed.  They were the 'Three Amigos', Jesus Seba, Isidro Diaz and the now very famous Roberto Martinez.  Whelan told them to run onto the pitch for a minute or so, and they were so quick, so fit and so skilful, that even the lads who were half decent and played for the likes of Chorley coudn't get within 6 feet of them.  Obviously Whelan didn't want to get his prized new signings injured, so they weren't on long, but great to be on the pitch with proper professionals, even if only for a few seconds.

Online LeeB

  • Member
  • Posts: 18532
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Standing in the Klix-O-Gum queue.
  • GM : May, 2014
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 09:48:13 AM »
Well if you did, I hadn't read it, great story.

It does never fail to amaze me the standard of the professionals. I played every day as a kid, played proper 11 a side league football from 8, was always in my school teams (and our school was massive, about 300 kids per year) and out of my group of mates who played down the park I was the best by some way, and yet I was always miles off what was needed. I always held out hope, and did improve quite a bit from 14-16, but then Lee Hendrie turned up at our school in 5th year and made me realise that it wasn't going to be an option personally. Good lad though, what a player to have on your side. Remember playing Tudor Grange in the cup on a Saturday morning, absolutely pissing down (we would later in the day draw at home with bastard Wimbledon in the Cup, 93), and he just royally took the piss out of them single handedly, our PE teacher was reffing and stopped it on the hour after he'd scored his and our 7th.

Offline dcdavecollett

  • Member
  • Posts: 1256
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2020, 01:23:39 AM »
Hi Lee.

Does this mean you went to Washwood Heath?

Online LeeB

  • Member
  • Posts: 18532
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Standing in the Klix-O-Gum queue.
  • GM : May, 2014
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2020, 08:32:15 PM »
Hi Lee.

Does this mean you went to Washwood Heath?

No Dave, I went to Park Hall. Lee was at Washwood Heath but he moved to our school for 5th year.

Offline dcdavecollett

  • Member
  • Posts: 1256
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2020, 02:08:10 AM »
Okay.

Thanks, Lee.

I only asked as I used to teach at Washwood (78-89).

Online LeeB

  • Member
  • Posts: 18532
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Standing in the Klix-O-Gum queue.
  • GM : May, 2014
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2020, 10:31:36 AM »
Okay.

Thanks, Lee.

I only asked as I used to teach at Washwood (78-89).

No worries Dave, there was also Terry Cooke at Washwood who was in the year above, went to Man Utd and was really highly rated but never broke through.

Offline dcdavecollett

  • Member
  • Posts: 1256
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2020, 01:59:52 AM »
Someone I used to work with at WH put a big display up by the main hall when Cooke made his debut for MU (did he score?)

I bet he didn't put one up for Ian Taylor, despite the fact that my mate was a Villa fan!

Offline TopDeck113

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8587
  • Location: Oop North
  • GM : 09.02.2021
Re: Whatever happened to - Alan Jones
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2020, 08:58:15 PM »
Great article and agree with what everyone else has said about the reality of those who make it.  I've got a friend who was a talented enough goalkeeper to play for Manchester schools, indeed when he was top year of high school they won the English schools cup.  He was on youth terms with Manchester United and played half a game for the "first team" in a pre-season testimonial at somewhere like Stockport.  Then he was let go by Tommy Docherty.  He says that he realised quite early that he wasn't good enough, but it's sobering to think that in his Manchester schools side, the only lad who went on to play regularly in the Football League was Mark Lillis.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal