Legends: Mark Jones

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By Worried Turkey.

Mark Jones – aged 24, half-back, 120 appearances, 1 goal.

The big, blond ex-bricklayer, a former captain of the England schoolboy’s team, had joined United from Yorkshire junior football and turned professional in the summer of 1950. That autumn, still only 17, he tasted League action for the first time in a home victory over Sheffield Wednesday, but then faced a four-year wait for a regular place. Duly he emerged from the shadow of his boyhood hero, Allenby Chilton, who played an important and selfless part in the youngster’s development, helping to iron out initial crudeness in the Jones technique.

Jones was a fellow without an ounce of malice and his gentleness was a byword. He was the archetypal pivot, broad of beam, crushing in the tackle and majestic in the air. He was an uncomplicated sort of player and rarely ruined his ball-winning efforts by squandering possession with over-ambitious distribution. A simple pass to Duncan Edwards or Eddie Colman was his preferred option.

Jones only ever scored one goal for Manchester United in a 2-1 victory against Birmingham. I remember one day listening to Mark Jones talking to a fan outside the ticket office, it wasn’t about football but budgerigars (whilst smoking a pipe, some advert for a pro footballer… ha ha) and this was a man who an hour later would be crunching into a tackle like a bulldozer. He was another who through Munich never fulfilled his potential, another who in my humble opinion was destined for a long career as England centre half. Though not the best centre half I’ve seen at Man United, I cannot think of one that was harder, he was the verbal brick sh*thouse and would run through anything for United. Again, another I was privileged to see but yet again one who I never saw the best of and one that was talked about less than others but appreciated by anyone who saw him. I can only finish by saying… thanks…..

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