Let’s Do It For Bryn
Honour Due In Memory Of Star Forward
Following our success in tracking down Ron Stockin, we are now playing a part in trying to have a medal struck in honour of another League Championship winner with Wolves connections.
Bryn Jones narrowly missed out on title glory when at Molineux, his final season in the West Midlands ending with Major Frank Buckley’s side being pipped by Arsenal by a single point at the end of 1937-38.
But he helped the Gunners to the big prize in 1947-48 after joining them for a then British record fee in a transfer that caused ructions in these parts.
Now, under the rethink by the authorities that means medals can be awarded to some of those previously excluded from receiving them, the genial Welshman is due for posthumous recognition of his role in the success.
Organisers of the campaign have no contact with the Jones family but we at Wolves Heroes are hoping we can make the necessary connection for them more than three and a half decades on from his death.
We have friends in what used to be known as Fleet Street and hope one of those might lead us to a grandchild or something similar of Bryn’s, his late nephew Ken having followed his own professional playing career with several decades as a sportswriter.
Since we set about tracking down Ron Stockin, whose grandson we have now also spoken to, organisers of the medals campaign have begun reaching out in search of descendants of various title-winning players from even longer ago.
Jones is part of that group of several dozen as he played seven games when Arsenal finished top in the second post-war First Division season.
Generally, though, the former coal-miner did not attain the heights at Highbury that he had accomplished in a wonderful Wolves stay containing 177 League and Cup games and 57 goals.
He cost only £1,500 when joining from Aberaman in his native South Wales in August, 1933, and achieved a double-figure goal tally in his first Molineux season despite not being given his debut until the second half of November.
In a less prolific second year, the inside-forward missed a nightmare 7-0 defeat at Arsenal, against whom he then scored to earn a point in the return. After a steady 1935-36 contribution, he netted 14 times the following term, including one at home to the Gunners, who already had him in their sights as a transfer target.
And he went into overdrive in 1937-38 by hitting the target 17 times in 38 matches for a side who finished a close runners-up to George Allison’s North Londoners.
With his Welsh caps to date including a goal-scoring appearance in a 2-1 win over England at Molineux in 1936, he gave Arsenal another glimpse of his mesmerising skills by scoring once in a 3-1 victory over them during his final months at the club.
It was described as the soccer sensation of the year when a new British high fee of £14,000 took him south, some fans causing such uproar as to demonstrate outside Molineux for four hours over his departure.
Wolves subsequently finished runners-up in both the League and FA Cup, though, to suggest they could adapt to life without a man who took time to settle in his new surroundings following an initial scoring flurry.
Jones served in North Africa and Italy in the war and then played seven times when Arsenal coasted to the League crown in 1947-48. He also scored in the subsequent Charity Shield triumph over Manchester United 12 months before Portsmouth and FA Cup winners Wolves shared the shield by drawing at Highbury.
Bryn, who, remarkably, had four brothers who served with League clubs, moved to Norwich in 1949 as player-coach but was forced by a chest condition to quit the game two years later.
The holder of 17 full Welsh caps, he moved back to North London to run a newsagent/tobacconist in Stoke Newington close to Highbury for many years.
He died on October 18, 1985, in nearby Wood Green, aged 73, having seen other family members, including his nephew, the Tottenham and Wales star Cliff Jones, achieve fame in the game.