Mick Jones (footballer, born 1945)
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|Full name||Michael David Jones|
|Date of birth||24 April 1945|
|Place of birth||Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire, England|
|Playing position||Centre Forward|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Michael David Jones (born 24 April 1945 in Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire, England) is a former footballer who played as centre forward with Leeds United during the 1960s and 1970s. He was also capped for England.
Jones was spotted playing local league football for Dinnington Miners' Welfare, from where he went on to become an apprentice at Sheffield United in 1962. He graduated from the intermediate side through the Central League side before making his debut in a 1–1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 20 April 1963. He scored his first two league goals in the next fixture, a 3–1 victory against Manchester City at Maine Road four days later, on his 18th birthday. He made his England debut in 1965 against West Germany at centre forward.
Jones scored 63 goals in 149 appearances for the Blades and had earned two caps for England when he joined Leeds United in September 1967 for £100,000, prompting the Sheffield United manager, John Harris, to remark "it would be the biggest mistake the club had ever made".
Leeds manager Don Revie handed Jones the number nine shirt and told him to score goals and annoy defenders. Jones went on to do exactly that with aplomb and authority for seven years. Leeds won the League Cup in his first season although Jones did not feature in the campaign because he was cup-tied. Leeds also won the Fairs Cup, with Jones scoring twice during the competition, including what turned out to be the winner in the final against Ferencvaros. The first leg finished 1–0 thanks to Jones' goal and the second leg remained goalless to give Leeds the cup.
The following season Leeds won the League championship with Jones settling into the highest level of club football with 14 goals. However, Revie was aware that he needed more help with the finishing up front, and in July 1969 he paid £165,000 for Leicester City striker Allan Clarke to begin one of football's most feared strike partnerships.
Jones, the more bruising of the two, often scored goals through individual runs using his burlier frame, and was brave enough to put his head among the flying boots to get goals of courage. Clarke was more reliant on guile and positional sense. Together they were a nightmare for central defenders as Leeds stormed towards a possible "treble" of League title, FA Cup and European Cup. Everton edged out Leeds for the League title, and Celtic F.C. beat them in the European Cup semi-finals. In the FA Cup final against Chelsea, Jones was to the fore as Leeds tried to salvage something from their season.
At Wembley, the game was locked at 1–1 on a bumpy, sandy pitch (due to the Horse of the Year show being held there the previous week) with fewer than ten minutes to play. Leeds attacked down the right flank with Johnny Giles crossing for Clarke to plant a meaty header past Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Bonetti. The ball rebounded off the post, evading Leeds striker Peter Lorimer who was following up. Jones, who had dropped deep to start the move, was still jogging towards the area when he saw the ball trundle towards him – and he fired a left foot shot into the net beyond Bonetti's recovering reach. Most goals in a cup final scored so late would emerge as the clincher. Chelsea, however, equalised quickly due to poor marking in the Leeds defence and so the game went to a replay at Old Trafford. Leeds took the lead in the first half, when a superb run by Clarke set Jones on his way towards goal, and he smashed a terrific right foot shot past Bonetti. Chelsea, however, ended up winning after extra time and Leeds ended the season trophyless.
A last-day win for Arsenal cost Leeds the title again 1971, even though they won the Fairs Cup, but in 1972 some domestic success finally came Leeds' way – though the season still had personal tribulations for Jones. While challenging for the title again, Leeds also made it to another FA Cup final and, still to win the competition, went up against holders Arsenal not as favourites. But they won 1–0, with Jones setting up Clarke for the only goal of the game – his fine cross on the turn from the byline was headed home by his strike partner.
However, Jones suffered an appallingly dislocated elbow in the last minute of the game after landing awkwardly from an innocuous and accidental clash with the Arsenal right-back. Jones was unable to celebrate Leeds' success moments later when the final whistle sounded as he was in agony, receiving treatment from the club physiotherapist.
He was in so much pain that he had to be helped – very slowly and gingerly – up to the Royal box to collect his medal, several minutes after his teammates had done so. Leeds' central defender Norman Hunter guided Jones up the steps. Jones, his damaged limb in a tight, delicate sling, received his medal and immediately handed it to Hunter so he could use his only available hand to hold the banister and guide his way back down the steps again. He was then placed on a stretcher, from which he waved to the Leeds supporters as he was taken to the dressing room for treatment.
Hunter afterwards claimed that the striker's enforced absence for the League title decider against Wolves a few days later cost Leeds the championship. Leeds lost 2–1 and the title went to Derby County.
Jones played in two finals the following year, both of which Leeds again lost. The 1–0 defeat to Sunderland in the FA Cup final was notable for its shock value (Sunderland were a division below) and Jones is best remembered for prematurely celebrating a goal by Lorimer which had not, in fact, crossed the line owing to a phenomenal save by goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery which he had not been expected to make. Leeds subsequently lost the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final to A.C. Milan by the same scoreline.
In an astonishing 29-match unbeaten run at the start of the next season, Jones bagged 14 goals as Leeds coasted to the title, but he was now beginning to have problems with one of his knees and spent the summer of 1974 having intensive physiotherapy. In early 1975, he began playing reserve football again, but in constant pain. With Joe Jordan in the number nine shirt and scoring frequently, and the team (despite Revie's departure in the summer to take over the England job) reaching its first European Cup final, Jones was a dejected spectator who did not figure in the team all season. He watched disconsolately as Leeds lost the European Cup final to Bayern Munich and then retired at the age of 30, unable to beat his knee problem. His Leeds career ended with 111 goals from 312 appearances. Allan Clarke, Jones strike partner, admitted that it was never the same for him after Jones retired.
He won three England caps.
Sheffield United career
|Season||Division||League apps||League goals||FA Cup apps||FA Cup goals||League Cup apps||League Cup goals||Other apps||Other goals||Total apps||Total goals|
- Leeds United
- Football League First Division winner: 1968–69, 1973–74, runners-up: 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72
- FA Cup winner: 1972, runners-up: 1970, 1973
- Football League Cup winner: 1968
- FA Charity Shield winner: 1969
- Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winner: 1968, 1971, runners-up: 1967
- European Cup Winners' Cup runners-up: 1973
- Sniffer: The Life and Times of Allan Clarke.