Ken Jones: Footballer who helped take Southampton into the First Division

In retirement he became a snooker coach; five of his protégés played for England

Dressing-room humour in professional football can be of the dark variety. Ken Jones was nicknamed "Lucky" by his colleagues in the Southampton team that won the club's first-ever promotion to the top flight of the English game in 1966, but the moniker was an ironic comment on the full-back's misfortunes with illness and injury.

Jones, who has died at the age of 68, was restricted to barely 200 senior appearances during an 11-year, three-club career that began with Bradford Park Avenue in the old Third Division and ended at Cardiff City in the Second. He enjoyed his greatest success in six seasons with Southampton, playing 92 first-team games and returning to live and work in the area.

When he joined the Saints from Bradford for £15,000 in 1965, two days before his 21st birthday, Jones earned £27 per week plus £1 for every 1,000 spectators above the 20,000 mark. After making his first appearance in a 5-1 defeat at Jimmy Hill's Coventry that September, he may have been relieved to retain the right-back berth against Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Dell four days later. Another calamitous result looked possible when an own goal by Tony Knapp put Wolves ahead after 35 seconds, but four goals by the future England striker Martin Chivers helped Southampton to an incredible 9-3 victory – all of their scoring being completed in the first hour. In an odd footnote, they signed Wolves' goalkeeper that day, Dave MacLaren, a year later.

Jones was limited to a further five outings in 1965-66 as Southampton, under the management of Ted Bates, finished runners-up to Manchester City. Although his First Division debut was delayed until the following October, it could scarcely have been more personally satisfying. At Elland Road – 15 miles from Jones' birthplace in the village of Havercroft, near Wakefield – a trademark Ron Davies header earned a 1-0 win over the then formidable Leeds United. Jones, a proud Yorkshireman, would later recall with relish that Don Revie's side "annihilated" them and "could have won by 10" had MacLaren not demonstrated why Bates had wanted him.

Throughout his six years with Southampton, Jones had to contend not only with fitness problems, but also with some accomplished rivals for the full-back positions, both of which he could fill. They included Stuart Williams, who had played for Wales in the 1958 World Cup, David Webb, a crew-cut cockney who went on to join Chelsea, Tommy Hare, Joe Kirkup, Bob McCarthy and Denis Hollywood – a Scot with whom his rivalry did not preclude a strong friendship.

Nevertheless, he played in a hat-trick of victories over Manchester United in the space of 10 months. The first two came when United were European champions and the third was a 4-1 rout of a team including George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law at Old Trafford early in the 1969-70 campaign. (Davies scored with four headers and United's veteran centre-half Bill Foulkes was never picked again.) A month later, Jones played in Southampton's first European match, against Rosenborg in Norway. However, after sustaining an injury in the return fixture with United, he made only one more appearance, at Tottenham in 1970.

He left for Cardiff in a £6,000 transfer in 1971, knowing that he had achieved what appeared beyond him when, as an apprentice electrician at Monckton Colliery, near Barnsley, he was rejected by Arsenal, Aston Villa and Coventry after trials. Jimmy Scoular, Bradford's player-manager, took a chance on Jones (who had initially played up front for his pit team, which included brothers Cyril and Peter Knowles, later of Tottenham and Wolves respectively), signing him as a 17 year old. When Jones made the first of 100 League appearances for Park Avenue, at Hull in March 1963, he emulated his grandfather Aaron, who played for Barnsley, Notts County and Birmingham between 1903 and 1908.

Unlike Kevin Hector, alongside whom he developed, he was not renowned for marksmanship, though he did join the future England striker on the score sheet with the first of three career goals in a 3-3 draw with Bradford City in 1964. A year earlier he, Hector and Scoular were in the Park Avenue side that crushed City 7-3 in a League Cup derby. Reunited with Scoular at Cardiff after Southampton, "Lucky" Jones played only six times before having to retire a year later.

After football he worked as a crane-driver in Southampton docks and become well-known in Hampshire as a snooker player and coach. Jones was Southampton & District champion four times, as well as being a three-times winner at doubles. Having first picked up a cue at the age of nine, he tutored young players at his home in Chandler's Ford. Five of his protégés went on to represent England.

Kenneth Jones, footballer: born Havercroft, West Yorkshire 26 June 1944; played for Bradford (Park Avenue) 1961-65, Southampton 1965-71, Cardiff City 1971-72; married Jean (one son, one daughter); died 27 December 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?