A home-grown defender of endless enthusiasm, Dave Jones was one of a sizeable Scouse contingent to represent Everton through the mid-1970s. A clever, versatile defender with strength and guile, his ability to adapt worked against him, because he was constantly shuffled around the Everton back four, never really making any one position his own. Much of 1976 was spent at left back, and the two following calendar years he was right back. ‘If he had settled in one position, it might have propelled him from the England under-21s to the senior side,’ wrote the Everton-supporting journalist Brian Viner.
But full back was never his position of choice. Jones always saw himself as a centre half, but after playing no more than a handful of games here for Everton sought a move to a club where such chances would be more forthcoming. At the end of the 1978/79 season – a campaign that had been wrecked by injury – Jones made a £275,000 switch to Coventry City.
I was a good defender, solid, I could pass,’ he wrote in his autobiography. ‘I think the Everton supporters would always take to someone who would give 100% – and that’s what I always tried to give.
JONES’S TIME at Highfield Road was dogged by injury. He spent 18 months in Hong Kong and played out his career with Preston North End.
His subsequent switch to management from the mid-1990s was perhaps more notable than his playing days. He led Stockport County to their highest league position in half a century, a spell that in 1997 earned him the Southampton job. Later Jones led Wolves back to the top flight following a two-decade absence, and Cardiff City to the 2008 FA Cup Final.
JONES, DAVE AND ANDREW WARSHAW, No Smoke, No Fire: The Autobiography of Dave Jones, Know the Score Books, 2009