The most famous player to represent Caernarfon Town and Porthmadog?
Has to be Gwyn Jones, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol Rovers defender of the 1950’s and 60’s.
Llandwrog-born Gwynfor Jones attended Caernarfon Grammar and was an all-round sportsman, captaining his school at rugby, cricket and, of course, football.
It was on the football pitch that he gained the first of four Welsh youth caps versus England in 1953.
Having first shown promise with Caernarfon Boys Club, it was inevitable he would sign for Caernarfon Town but after a handful of appearances he left to do his national service at Tonfannau army base near Tywyn.
Gwynfor had plenty of opportunities to play football in the forces and ended up representing 55 R A Tonfannau, who won the Mid Wales League six times between 1951-58.
As he had impressed while playing for Caernarfon in the Welsh League, he was invited to play for a Bangor Select team that included Sir Stanley Matthews, Hughie Kelly and Ewan Fenton of Blackpool, and another local player Brian Orritt, for a friendly charity match versus first division Wolverhampton Wanderers.
On that April day in 1955 he left Farrar Road having caught the eye of Wolves manager Stan Cullis with a solid defensive display in a game that City won 2-0.
Invited to join Wanderers, Gwynfor agreed, turning his back on a place in college where he had planed to study to become a teacher. The lure of professional football was too strong for the young Welshman.
Soon after the completion of his national service he returned to play for Caernarfon Town before signing for Wolves in September on a wage of £20 a week with a £2 win bonus.
The club was also kind enough to give The Oval side an undisclosed donation as compensation for losing their young star.
Wolves had won the First Division Championship in 1953/54 and finished in second and third spot the following two seasons with a team that boasted England captain Billy Wright, who led his country a record 90 times, wing wizards Johnny Hancocks and Jimmy Mullen and Bert “the cat” Williams.
It was not long before Gwynfor was thrust into first team action when on December 17, 1955, he made his Football League debut, deputising for injured Bill Shorthouse in a 3-2 win versus West Bromwich Albion in front of a crowd of 31,068. This was his only appearance of the season due to the consistency of Shorthouse.
Despite spending seven years with Wolves, due to very strong competition for places, Gwynfor was limited to 21 appearances.
He toured South Africa and Indonesia with the club and took part in a number of prestigious friendlies against European opposition, including a Juventus side featuring the legendary John Charles and European player of the year Omar Sivori.
During his time at Wolverhampton he was unlucky not to have featured more in a team considered their greatest-ever.
In modern day football, with the use of substitutes, there is no doubt he would have played more often, but the sub was not introduced into the game until 1965.
Bristol Rovers manager Bert Tann paid £5,000 for the 27-year-old Jones in 1962.
The team had been relegated from the second division to the third and he needed to rebuild a side capable of challenging for promotion at the first attempt.
Gwynfor immediately established himself as first choice at left back and was soon named as captain; he quickly became a firm favorite with the Eastville crowd and only missed two league games all season.
Midway through his final season at the club Jones decided it was time at the age of 31 to return to his native Wales and to Llandwrog, so after 20 appearances during the 1965/66 campaign he left Bristol Rovers having played 153 league games in four years.
His boots were not hanging up for very long as the newly-turned-professional Porthmadog FC came calling with the offer of turning out for their Welsh League North side.
Port had a very strong team managed by Ifor Roberts that included Mel Charles, who played in the Wales World Cup team of 1958, amateur international John Griffin and ex Swansea and Wales player Des Palmer.
This is considered as one of Porthmadog’s greatest-ever sides as they went on to win three consecutive Welsh League North titles between 1966-69 as well as taking the mighty Swansea to a fifth round replay in the 1965/66 Welsh Cup and losing to Hereford in the quarter-finals in 1968/69.
Gwynfor retired from football on a high note with Port and moved to the Isle of Anglesey.
He later worked for an aluminum company for a number of years before his retirement.
A fully qualified football coach and an accomplished pianist, he was also awarded an advanced honour from the Royal College of Music.
Huge thanks to Alex Philp for providing the information for this article