MEET THE LEGENDS: Ian Jones | Chippenham Town Legends XI vs Manchester United Legends XI
In the build-up to the Chippenham Town Legends XI vs Manchester United Legends XI fixture on the 27th of March we meet the legends of Chippenham Town for a more in depth look into their career, achievements and involvement with the club over the years as they prepare to return to the pitch!
Ian ‘Joner’ Jones
Signing for the club in 1999 from Mangotsfield, ‘Joner’ was brought to Chippenham by then manager, Tommy Saunders.
Ian was an ever present in the sticks for the Bluebirds as it would prove to be a memorable season not just for Jones but for the whole town as his consistent performances in the Chippenham net alongside his brilliant teammates saw Chippenham embark on an unforgettable Road to Wembley. Unfortunately for ‘Joner’ and the lads, it culminated in a defeat to Kent side, Deal Town.
Unsurprisingly for all that had watched Jones that season, it took a goal that featured in the “100 Best Goals at Wembley” compilation to break the resolve of Chippenham and their imposing goalkeeper as Roly Graham struck in the 87th minute to send the FA Vase back to Deal and break the hearts of 13,000 Chippenham supporters in attendance and many more following from around the country. Jones and his teammates picked themselves up almost immediately and such was the character of that side, went on to pick up the League Cup (Les Phillips Cup) only a week later with a win over fierce rivals, Taunton Town. The Bluebirds picked up a 2-1 win at Cossham Street ironically the home of Mangotsfield and Ian stepped back out in front of a bumper crowd and a lot of old friends to lift the trophy aloft after the most incredible and emotional season of Chippenham Town’s history.
Jones continued to play for Chippenham until October 2001 where following the FA Cup exit to St Blazey, Ian and Tommy decided it was time to part ways and James Bittner was bought in to replace the imposing figure of Jones in the Chippenham goal.
Upon leaving Chippenham, Jones had spells with Brislington, Bristol Manor Farm and then linked up with Saunders again at Odd Down before retiring. Even calling it quits wasn’t enough for Joner as the call came from Taunton to come and filll the net and he answered the call. In 2007, Ian took over the helm at his former rivals and became manager taking over from Gary Domone.
Ian left the game for the second time in April 2009 leaving Taunton and heading over to enjoy his retirement from the game.
We caught up with Ian for a brief chat ahead of his return to Chippenham to take on the Manchester United Legends!
Simon – So Ian, back to the scene of the crime. Signing for the club in 1999 and now playing for them once again in 2022. How are you feeling ahead of the big return?
Ian – I really am excited about playing at the ground again, the supporters are everything that was good about my time at the club and I’m sure the support will be just as good on the day, I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces albeit a little bit older, Chippenham will always be a special club for me and I can’t wait to return.
Simon – Ian you have mentioned that your ‘Favourite Memory’ of CTFC was the amazing supporters, with over 1500 packed into the ground for the game against United, I am sure those supporters are going to be very happy to see their number one back in action!
Ian – Let’s hope they’re happy, you have to remember I started playing for Tommy at pretty much the beginning of the transformation in the club, so I saw it first hand, all the changes, all the supporters growing in size from game to game, then obviously the second season was the magic season, to play in front of 1,000’s at home in the cup run was amazing.
Simon – And of course, you mention there your standout moment, making it all the way to Wembley Stadium with the club that meant so much to you. That must have just been the most amazing feeling as a footballer to walk out at the one of the most iconic stadiums in world football?
Ian – It was incredible, I can remember it like it was yesterday, it’s what every footballers dream is made of and we were lucky enough to of done it, it takes a long time for it to sink in that your actually going to play there, I use to go to London every two weeks before the final for about two months, and just sit in the car park looking at the stadium, ringing a few of the team telling them where I was, it’s obviously something I’ll never forget.
Simon – Now Ian, you have mentioned there some of your teammates that you called up. I know you guys still stay very close and rightly so with the experience you shared together. You were with Chippenham a good few seasons and would have played with some fantastic players over the years (Some of which will be here today) But is there anyone for you that really stands out as your best or even your favourite teammate over the years at Chippenham?
Ian – It’s really unfair to pick one, we never really had superstars, we were a team, a family, who would do anything for each other, it’s still the case today. I was very lucky to play with the players I did, and all of them were brilliant in there position, but if I was forced to pick one, I would have to say Steve Tweddle, I hated playing against him (he always scored against me) and when we signed him he was just awesome, never stopped running, never gave up, and his goal scoring achievements for the club were amazing.
Simon – Last one I promise. Now obviously, the elephant in the room. You might be playing for CTFC Legends on the 27th however, it’s no secret you are a big United fan. Is there anyone in that squad list that you are particularly looking forward to coming up against and catching up with in the bar after the game?
Ian – To be honest any of them to chat too, and to play against ex pros of this calibre it will be interesting to see just how good they are, they are not going to of lost it, so I think I’ll have to be on my toes.
Chippenham Town FC and all of their supporters cannot wait to see Ian and his family back at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium for the big fixture against Manchester United Legends XI.