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Mark Jones (footballer, born 1933)

Mark Jones
Personal information
Date of birth (1933-06-15)15 June 1933
Place of birth Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Date of death 6 February 1958(1958-02-06) (aged 24)
Place of death Munich, Bavaria, West Germany
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Centre-half
Youth career
Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1958 Manchester United 103 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Mark Jones (15 June 1933 – 6 February 1958) was an English footballer and one of eight Manchester United players to lose their lives in the Munich air disaster. Jones was born in Wombwell, near Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1933, the third of seven children born to miner Amos Jones (1894–1968) and his wife Lucy (1896–1957). He was the club's first-choice centre-half for much of the 1950s and collected two League Championship winner's medals.

Career

Jones signed for Manchester United as an apprentice on leaving school in 1948 and made his first two appearances in the 1950–51 season, aged 17, and by the time of United's title glory in 1955–56 he was a regular first team player, although he often found himself out of the team in favour of Jackie Blanchflower (who was originally a wing-half or an inside-forward), having previously been understudy to the veteran Allenby Chilton. Earlier in his United career, he had also worked as a bricklayer in the Barnsley area.[1]

He missed the 1957 FA Cup Final defeat to Aston Villa because of an eye injury, although he did collect a second successive league title medal that season and helped United reach the semi-finals of the European Cup. He played a total of 120 first team games for United (103 of them in the league), and scored once. He was selected in an England senior squad once, but did not take to the field. Many observers believe that he would have been capped by England had he not died at Munich. He came close to international action, having been selected on the substitutes' bench, but his hopes of a breakthrough was not helped by the fact that his career coincided with that of Billy Wright.[2]

Legacy

Jones is buried in Wombwell near Barnsley, his birthplace. He had moved from there in the early 1950s after turning professional with Manchester United and moving to Flixton.

He was survived by his wife, June, and their two-year-old son, Gary. His daughter, Lynne, was born four months after the Munich air disaster, and June later remarried to a man called Herbert Barker. She died in December 2007, and was buried next to her first husband just weeks before the 50th anniversary of his death. His son Gary had a trial with Manchester United in the early 1970s but was not taken on by the club.

Jones was often nicknamed Dan Archer by his team mates, in reference to his pipe-smoking habit similar to that of the character in the radio serial The Archers.

He was portrayed in a 2011 BBC film, United, by actor Thomas Howes. The producers mistakenly cast him as the team captain, when in fact Roger Byrne was captain of the United side at the time.[3]

References

  1. ^ "50 YEARS ON - Mark Jones - MUST - the independent Manchester United supporters' trust". Joinmust.org. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
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