William Jones

William Jones

Tipton, Staffordshire born centre forward William Jones played for Smethwick Town in 1899 and for Birmingham & District League club Halesowen in 1900 before turning professional with First Division Small Heath in 1901, making his Football League debut against Sheffield United that October, scoring in a 5-1 victory. However he only played 4 times as they were relegated, playing more of a role the following season as they were promoted at first time of asking in 1903 as Second Division runners up. He was their leading scorer for four successive seasons, from 1903-04 to 1906-07, and his performances were rewarded in October 1904 with selection for the Football League against the Irish Football League in a 2-0 victory in Belfast. Jones then suffered a series of injuries, the team’s form declined, and, believing the player to be past his best, the club, now re-named Birmingham, released him at the end of the 1908-09 season.

Jones joined Brighton & Hove Albion of the Southern League. He was top scorer for them in both his full seasons, with 22 and 19 goals respectively in all competitions. He significantly contributed to them winning the 1910 Southern League Championship and the 1910 FA Charity Shield, in which they beat Aston Villa, Football League Champions, and scored the winning goal in the 1910 Southern Professional Charity Cup. Nevertheless, when Birmingham wanted to re-sign him in January 1912, the form of Jimmy Smith meant that Albion’s directors were willing to let him go for a £300 fee after 42 goals in 85 appearances..

Jones again top-scored for Birmingham in 1912-13, bringing his total for the club to 102 goals from 253 appearances in all competitions, before returning to Brighton in November 1914. Across his two spells with Birmingham he had scored 102 goals in 252 appearances.

In October 1914, Jones played for a Southern League representative team against The Scottish League; the game, played at Millwall’s ground in London, finished as a 1-1 draw. By January 1915, Jones, like many of his teammates, had enlisted in the Football Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. They trained at the White City in London, were released at weekends to play for their clubs, and Jones finished the season, the last completed before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the First World War, as Albion’s top scorer for the third time.

He returned to the club after the War, played his last competitive first-team match in December 1919, at just short of 39 years old, and continued to appear occasionally for the reserves until as late as 1927. His combined record for Brighton saw him score 63 goals in 156 appearances. He later performed various roles for the club, as assistant trainer, scout and groundsman.

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