Today marks the latest birthday of a player regarded by many as one of Anglesey’s all-time greats.
In a long and distinguished career, Richard Jones played for Wrexham, Bangor City, Cemaes Bay, Porthmadog, Llangefni Town, Gwalchmai, Llanfairpwll, Bodedern, Amlwch Town and Holyhead Hotspur.
Hailing from the Ynys Môn village of Bodedern, the man known affectionately as “Rich Bach” was born on January 5, 1969.
Attacking midfielder Rich first made his mark with Llanfairpwll, starring in a 1-0 Welsh Cup third round defeat versus Shrewsbury Town in 1987-88.
At this time, Rich was attracting the attention of Football League clubs, including Leeds United and Shrewsbury, who he had just shone against in the national knockout.
After a successful stint with home village side Bodedern under Bob Brodie, in the 1991/92 season Rich was snapped up by Bangor City in John Mahoney’s second spell as manager at Farrar Road.
Rich scored four goals in the HFS Loans League for the Citizens that season, against Accrington Stanley, Goole Town, Emley and Droylsden.
The following season, the midfield maestro joined Cemaes Bay of the Welsh Alliance League, but was given a big chance to impress when Football League Division Three club Wrexham signed him on non-contract terms in December 1992.
Despite performing well in the reserves and youth sides, the switch to the Racecourse bore no further fruit and Rich returned to Cemaes, who won the Welsh Alliance that season under Colin Hawkins and Bob Brodie.
Then in 1994-95, Rich was in the Cemaes squad which lifted the Cymru Alliance championship with ex-Liverpool and England star Chris Lawler having now joined Hawkins at the helm.
When Hawkins went on to run Porthmadog with Wales and Manchester United legend Mickey Thomas in 1995-96, Rich moved with them to Y Traeth.
In that same season, he also played for Wrexham Reserves in the Midland Senior League with Hawkins and Thomas running the side.
Rich later had great spells with Amlwch Town and Holyhead Hotspur – he truly has done Anglesey football proud!
And who better than his former manager at Wrexham, Cemaes Bay and Porthmadog, Colin Hawkins, to pay a birthday tribute to “Rich Bach”:
“Rich Bach Jones was an accomplished player from Bodedern. He was an outstanding player at junior level alongside players like Wales and QPR keeper Tony (Frogget) Roberts, former Manchester United striker Deiniol Graham and many more top Anglesey players from that golden generation.
“I remember him as a teenager bossing the midfield for Llanfair Pg in a Welsh Cup tie played at Caernarfon in midweek against Shrewsbury Town. David Moyes was the Shrewsbury centre half and skipper.
“Moyes scored the only goal of the game and the referee was Mr John Deakin, former Football League top division official and later to become general secretary of the Football Association of Wales.
“Bryan Owen had built a great team at Llanfairpwll. The previous season they had beaten Kidderminster Harriers away. The match attracted national attention as the TV teleprinter printed both team names out in full…..
“Kidderminster Harriers 1 Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch FC 2.
“Rich was arguably one of Anglesey’s most gifted players. In a long career he also played for Bangor City – following a match against Wrexham they signed him. I was working there running the reserves with Joey Jones, who also doubled up as first team coach under Brian Flynn.
“Rich played for the first team as a non-contract player, turning down a full-time contract, on financial grounds, to continue as a dustman and non league part-timer.
“Rich also played for Bodedern, plus Cemaes Bay and Holyhead Hotspur in the Cymru Alliance and for Porthmadog in the League of Wales. He played for me at Wrexham, Cemaes and Porthmadog.
“In my humble opinion he was the most complete player I have seen in North Wales, still a personal friend, he is an all round top player and bloke.”