Football recollections: Russell Jones

Russell Jones (front row – third from right) celebrates with Prestatyn Town’s 2007-08 Cymru Alliance title winners. Back row, furthest left is Russ’s dad Martyn Jones. What a team!

Which clubs did you play for in your career?

I played for Tranmere Rovers and Manchester City in my youth career before joining Colwyn Bay FC and playing in the Unibond Premier when I was 18.

I had spells at Rhyl before committing to Prestatyn Town long-term and successfully helping them get into the Welsh Premier League.

I retired from semi-professional football due to family commitments when I was 28 before returning to have some successful seasons with Prestatyn Sports in my early 30’s.

Tell us about the Prestatyn Town teams you played for

I played in some excellent Town teams with some great players over the years which should have been in higher leagues.

The Prestatyn and Rhyl areas have always been a great catchment, leading to so many quality players being at the club in years gone by.

Tony Thackeray and backroom staff, Dave Fuller and Neil (Gibson) we’re able to take the club to the next level over the last 2 decades which was an amazing achievement and got great support from the local community. I think a Vets would be a great side……

The most memorable team was the Cymru Alliance champions in 2007/ 8 to reach the WPL. We had an excellent team hosting players like Stephen Hoult, Jon Fisher-Cooke, Neil Gibson, Dave Hayes, Mike Parker and Jack Lewis to name a few. I was proud to captain such an excellent team.

Russ (red) in action against Aberystwyth Town in the WPL

Despite the highs they achieved, Prestatyn Town have also encountered some lows in the past 15 years. Can you see a day that the club returns to the Cymru Premier?

I think with the finance requirements of today’s game the Cymru Alliance is probably Prestatyn’s “steady level league” as a club.

That’s not to say they can’t create another team to reach the Cymru Premier. I feel Prestatyn need to re-build and keep investing in local football and players. If they continue to do this I’m sure they’ll be back in the Premier soon with a locally based team.

Russ (left) in action versus Carmarthen Town

Who was the best player you played alongside?

Neil Gibson and Stephen Hoult, both on their day could win you the game with quality football.

I always use to mock Gibbo saying he never played out of 3rd gear but was still the best player in the team.

As a winger Houlty could have played a lot higher and was unstoppable on his day beating defenders and running at people.

They both played huge parts in Prestatyn’s success to reach the Welsh Premier League.

Who rates as your toughest opponent?

Rhys Griffiths

I’ve been lucky to play against some great players but I never looked forward to playing against Rhys Griffiths of Llanelli. I didn’t win many of those battles…next question please!!

What were your strengths and weaknesses as a player?

I was always very strong, read the game well and had a good touch and delivery of the ball. I have also been captain in most teams I’ve played in so maybe a good motivator/ leader as well.

Looking back I’d say my weakness was pace and height certainly when playing centre half in the higher leagues against some man mountains like Rhys Griffiths…..

In 2014/15 you won a unique quadruple with Prestatyn Sports. What was that Sports team like to play in?

What a team! Prestatyn Sports won a quadruple in 2014-15 which will never be matched

I really enjoyed my time at Sports and that team was great to play in.

We had so many good players in the team with James Harper, Craig Griffiths, Daz Cassidy, Shane Middleman and Sion “the monk” in goal to name a few.

The managers John Hargreaves and Mark Hughes always wanted us to get ball down and play good football which I feel suited myself as a player. It was a team of good friends and we won and lost together enjoying every moment.

Do any of your kids play football or any close family members making their way in the game? Please tell us about them

No, as I only have girls who have no interest in football. I have a promising nephew Leon who is progressing well as a young player and certainly one to watch for the future.

How has the suspension of football due to coronavirus affected you? How have you coped with having less football in your life?

I’ve certainly missed watching local teams play and being able to go to games during this pandemic. I have four girls who keep me occupied and on my toes daily!! Glad it’s looking positive though.

Russ lifts the Cymru Alliance trophy

What is your dad Martyn up to these days? He was a big part of the Prestatyn Town management team in the Welsh Alliance and Cymru Alliance days. What is he like at home? He was always very calm and measured when I worked with him, and had a photographic memory about games 🙂

He’s now a keen golfer and beer taster. He has stepped away from football to pursue other interests but still loves the game and takes a big interest in the Welsh national team and youngsters coming through.

He has fond memories of Prestatyn Town and the club will always be close to his heart. I think when I stopped playing he found it hard to commit.

He’s a big family man with a lot of love for his grandkids and loves socialising in the local pubs. He loves the BBQ scene and we’re both keen grilling chefs….or so we think.

What plans do you have regarding football involvement in future?

I love watching local football now and reading Dave Jones’s reviews. I still have close friends at Prestatyn Sports and enjoy seeing them progress as a club.

I was actually there today watching the under-10s and enjoyed one of the world famous Ann’s breakfast baps which I highly recommend.

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