This is the story of my Grandfather, his four brothers from Penyard, Merthyr Tydfil and their sons who played professional football from 1918 to 1970. One family who sent player after player to grace the teams of the football league for over 50 years. Even today, the family have members still involved in the game.
Will John (Shoni) Jones:
The eldest of 5 brothers, my Grandfather. No more than an average player, but this was the beginning and no one was to know that his brothers would go on to achieve greater things at football. Shoni turned out for Aberdare and Ton Pentre when these teams were part of the football league. He is pictured here with Ton Pentre from the 1921/22 season when they were beaten in the Welsh cup final by Cardiff. Family History Data – Ton Pentre 1921/22
Spaldings directory of 1922 shows the team listings for the Welsh Cup Final with my grandfather W.J.Jones playing for Ton Pentre.
Ivor began to show the same skills as his elder brother Shoni. He was signed to Merthyr Tydfil FC and it wasn’t long before he was on his way to Swansea Town. From there his talents were spotted by West Bromwich Albion where he transferred in 1921. He was the first of the family to gain international recognition, being selected to play for Wales 10 times during his career. Family History Data
Signed for Merthyr Town in 1933. After six weeks he was transferred to Everton, playing alongside the likes of Dixie Dean. Moved on to Southend, playing over 500 games and becoming a firm favourite with the fans. Finished his career at Barrow after which he continued playing amateur football with Nuneaton Borough and Shirley Town in Birmingham. Family History Data Emlyn at Wembley
Bryn started his career at Merthyr Town but soon moved over to Ireland playing with Glenavon. On his return to Wales, he played for Aberaman where he was quickly signed up by Wolverhampton Wanderers. A real favourite with the Molineaux crowd who nearly rioted when he was transferred for a record £14,000 in August 1938 to Arsenal. It was front-page news, knocking talk of the impending world war that was facing the UK.
Bryn was selected to play for Wales no less than 17 times. He was in the side at Cardiff that beat England 4-2 in the 1930s. He scored that day, along with another Merthyr lad, Dai Astley.
Below is a photograph that was sent by Tricia Johnson of Bryn with the Arsenal and Sweden team in May 1939. Arsenal toured the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark and played various teams including this Swedish national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1938, World Cup. Bryn is pictured 4th from the right on the back row. Family History Data
Bert was signed to Southend United and Aston Villa were after his footballing talents. However, with the outbreak of World War 2, Bert was sent to Burma with the South Wales Borderers. Unfortunately, he never returned, being killed in action against the Japanese. Family History Data
Bert and The South Wales Borderers
Ken is the son of Emlyn. He played professionally at Swansea, Southend and Gravesend, but injury put him out of the game. He wasn’t finished with the game though and became a sports journalist with the Daily Mirror. Following on from there he became a sports writer at the Sunday Mirror and then the Independent.
Has written many books on sport including boxing and of course football.
Perhaps the most famous of the Joneses. The youngest son of Ivor. Signed to Swansea Town in the early 1950s, Cliff was a wizard of the wing. In 1958 he was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur for another record fee, this time £35,000. He became a regular member of the Spurs first team, partnering with Jimmy Greaves. The 60’s were known as the glory glory days at Tottenham, where the side were unbeatable. He was part of the double-winning team of 1961 and 1962, and in the side that won the first European cup winners cup in England. Cliff was capped 58 times for Wales and collected three F.A. cup winners medals and the European cup winners medal. In 1970, after over 10 years at Spurs, he signed for Fulham where he retired from the game. He went on to teaching P.E.
The elder brother of Cliff. He started his career as a forward but settled down to become a resolute defender. After playing at Swansea then Bournemouth he went on to captain Watford where he finished his playing career. Bill McGarry, the manager at Bournemouth says, “No player ever gave more for me, and he’s still the best full back I ever managed.” Family History Data
The youngest son of Shoni. This is my father seen here 2nd from the right-back row with the England Schoolboys team at Ninian Park Cardiff in 1939. He was considered to be a full international of the future but with the war intervening and being of a somewhat shy nature declined to take up the sport as a professional. Family History Data
From the local paper March 1940 of the schoolboy international match Wales V England at Ninian Park, Cardiff. My father is shown playing for the England side Jones(Birmingham). Wales won 2-0 on this occasion.
The Story Continues
Cliff’s son Stephen, played for the Spurs youth team before injury ruled him out of the game. Three of Cliff’s Grandsons have made their mark in the professional game so it looks as though this Jones footballing dynasty is far from over.