A centre forward who became a defender and gave up scoring goals to devote his career to stopping them, Jack Jones was an accomplished left back for Everton through the 1930s. It was his misfortune that his time in the Everton first team came between two periods studded with success and that he was unable to add medals to a war-interrupted career.
Spotted playing non-league football for Ellesmere Port Town – where one of his team-mates was Joe Mercer – Jones signed professional terms for Everton in March 1932. His debut came in April 1934 in a 2-0 win over Leeds United in which he deputised for the injured Billy Cook, and he impressed immediately. The debutant, wrote Ernest ‘Bee’ Edwards, ‘provided fine length kicking and a nice judicious style almost suggesting the confidence of a Cresswell’. Edwards noted him playing ‘a delightful cool and calm game showing anticipation for the next pass, and making a telling length with his easily delivered clearance’. It was, reflected the journalist, ‘quite an excellent start for this Bromborough boy in senior circles’. ‘Pilot’ in the Evening Express was equally complimentary: ‘I like Jones. In the first place he is a two-footed player, and that means a lot. He can punt and volley with either foot, no matter how the ball comes to him, and he has a keen sense of position.’
Cook, however, was a senior figure in the Everton team and would be difficult to dislodge. Jones’s chance came in the 1935/36 season when injuries to Cook, the regular right back Ben Williams and the decline of Warney Cresswell saw him given a chance. Such was his progress that Cook moved to right back to accommodate him. A similar arrangement was repeated over the following seasons when the regular right back, George Jackson, was injured and Cook switched to replace him with Jones coming in on the left. Yet the arrival of Norman Greenhalgh in February 1938 saw Jones’s chances stymied overnight. Everton now had three top-class left backs, Greenhalgh – captain from the start of 1938/39 – first choice, Cook playing on the right, and Jones nowhere to be seen. He did not play a single game the year Everton won their fifth league title.
Jones played intermittently for Everton through the war years and when peace came he joined Sunderland, where he played out his career.