Joey Jones - 25 years on still a legend

Posted by DaveLFC on January 27, 2004, 01:38:49 PM

When I was just a nipper I was given as one of my Christmas Presents a Liverpool FC 1979 Annual. It was about half the size of a usual annual and a softback, and inside it mainly detailed our path to the European Cup and the following celebrations in 1978.

In the centre were pictures of each player in the squad with a space for the player to autograph.



I’ve always treasured this annual as I managed to get all but one of the pages autographed by some of the greats during 1979. The manager Bob Paisley, Ray Clemence, Jimmy Case, Kenny Dalglish, David Fairclough, Alan Hansen, Steve Heighway, Emlyn Hughes, David Johnson, Alan Kennedy, Ray Kennedy Terry McDermott, Phil Neal, Graeme Souness and Phil Thompson all signed my book as I met them returning from training. Even the great Joe Fagan placed his autograph in the front cover for this little snot nosed lad.

However one name that I could not get was Joey Jones. The book says of him ...

“One season in the career of Joey Jones emphasises the intensity of the battle for first team places at Anfield.
   
In May 1977 he danced that unforgettable jig of joy around Rome’s Olympic Stadium after helping Liverpool to that majestic triumph over Borussia Moenchengladbach, thus becoming the first Welshman to appear in a European Cup winning team.

Jones did not miss a game from the start of the 1977-78 season until damaging his hamstring in the away leg of the European Super Cup meeting with Kevin Keegan’s club SV Hamburg in November.

That blow for Jones meant the return of that outstanding professional Tommy Smith and the Welshman – apart from a run of five senior games over Christmas and New Year – battled away in the reserves in a bid to force himself back onto the first team scene at Anfield while still representing his country at international level.

But it says much for Jones’s fundamental love of the club he has followed since boyhood that when Dutch referee Charles Corver blew the final whistle at Wembley to signal Liverpool’s continued reign as European champions, the welsh full back raced onto the famous turf, his arm raised in salute to the men who had beaten Bruges.

He was demonstrating the spirit and character that moved the Kop to take Joey Jones to their hearts. He has proved he is a Liverpool fan as well as a Liverpool player.”

Anyway the annual was put away safely not to be discovered until about a year and half ago. While reading through it once again I came across the blank space under Joey’s picture and decided to do something about it. So this morning I drove to Wrexham AFC’s training ground where a still hard working Joey trains the team. I don’t know what he made of this big 6’2” bloke approaching him after training but once he saw the annual his face lit up and he was more than happy to sign it. He is an Anfield legend and a gentleman as are all Anfield legends.

My book now complete I can put it away again to be given to my son and passed on by him to his son. It is one of the most treasured possessions I have. One strange thing did happen though last night. As I went through my old scrap book, a Topps 1978 Chewing Gum football card (one of many mounted inside in perfect condition) fell out onto the floor. I picked it up and strangely enough it was Joey Jones. I gave Joey the card, more in thanks for getting my book completed than anything else, and it seemed the right thing to do in a strange way.

I hope that our current crop of players will be so gracious when they have hung up their playing boots, I hope that they will have the kind of memories to look back on as the Anfield legends of today. I also hope they will be as pleasant and as humble as the Anfield legend Joey Jones was today.

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