I began reporting on North Wales football in 1987 and one of my earliest memories of covering local games was watching an absolute colossus of a defender stand out for the two successful teams he played for.
This series of articles is called Anglesey/Ynys Môn football greats past and present – and that very description could be no more apt than in the case of Allan (Ali) Jones.
When Ali passed away last summer at the age of 64 it left a massive void in island football circles.
For weeks after he left us, stories did the rounds about his finest achievements, such as the time he marked an England international out of a game and all the trophies he won with Llanfairpwll and Llangefni Town in particular.
Much-respected former island football manager Bryan Owen signed Ali from Sunday football for Llanfairpwll in 1978 and the rest is history.
Ali soon became Llanfair captain and enjoyed 11 fabulous years with the club, the highlight being the Anglesey side’s 1-0 Welsh Cup victory over Kidderminster in 1986/87.
More glory was to follow when Ali signed for Joe “Bach” Williams’ mighty Llangefni Town side which won the Welsh Alliance League three times in four seasons at the start of the 1990s, as well as the Welsh Intermediate Cup – the only island team ever to do so.
The Brynsiencyn boy starred in a rock-like defence which also included club greats like Keith Ross and Gary Campbell, as well as team-mates Emrys Jones, Bob Parry and current technical director of the Wales national side, Osian Roberts.
Ali also captained the Ynys Môn football team which finished runners-up at the 1989 Island Games in the Faroe Isles.
And he represented Anglesey in a memorable game against Chelsea in the late 1980s where he did a tremendous marking job on Blues striker Kerry Dixon.
After the game, manager of the Division One side John Hollins singled out Ali’s performance, saying if he had been younger he would have signed him.
Towards the end of his playing days, Ali was also one of the very few Anglesey players to be awarded a testimonial match.
He later managed Glantraeth for four years, the highlight of his spell in charge winning the Welsh Alliance League title in 1996/97.
When he left the club, they were firmly established among the best sides in the second-tier Cymru Alliance, meaning he had led the Bodorgan team to their highest-ever status at that stage of their history.
Personally, I remember Ali most from that amazing Llangefni Town team of the early 1990s, which nowadays would be at the very least challenging for the Cymru Alliance title.
He was a strong, powerful defender, a lionheart who played the game in his head as much with his body.
I later knew him as manager of Glantraeth and fondly remember our conversations when his team was challenging for the Welsh Alliance championship.
RIP good friend – you will never, ever be forgotten.
Ali Jones – North Wales football legend.