Looking Back: The man who was a true Wells football hero
This week Looking Back gets to remember a Wells sporting legend – thanks to one of our readers.
Mike Baker came to our Southover office with a great piece of Wells City FC memorabilia.
In 1958 a benefit match was held for Ernie Jones, widely considered the best player ever to play for the Blues.
Mr Baker brought in the programme for the match, priced at 1/-, which contained a fascinating eulogy to Ernie's career.
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We feel sure that every supporter of the Club and indeed everyone interested in football, will welcome this opportunity of showing their appreciation of the services rendered to Wells City FC by Ernie Jones. Few would challenge the statement that he is the best footballer ever to wear the city's colours, and under his guidance the team achieved its greatest performance of all time by winning the championship of the 1st Division of the Western League.
Bristol born, Ernie attracted the attention of the Bristol City officials as a lad and he was eventually taken on the staff as a professional. The war seriously interfered with his playing career, and had it been otherwise, Wells City might never have had the benefit of his services.
At the time when he was in his prime as a footballer he answered the country's call to duty. Being of fine physique and of the athletic type he was ideally suited for the role of a paratrooper, and he joined the Airborne Division.
Ernie has many interesting stories to tell of his drops from aircraft which culminated in the epic action at Arnhem.
There, like so many others of that gallant little army, he was captured and taken prisoner by the Germans.
If you were to ask Ernie his experiences as a prisoner-of-war, with characteristic modesty he would shrug his shoulders and remark "well, it was soon over after that".
Afterwards he rejoined Bristol City and Wells City officials did the best stroke of business in their history when they engaged him as player-manager at the beginning of the 1948-49 season. In that season he virtually carried the team and it was mainly due to his rock-like defence at centre-half that relegation was avoided. Game after game, it was he who saved the side from defeat.
In the following season he had wielded the team into a force to be reckoned with, and with the defeat of Trowbridge (away) in the last match of the season Wells City won the League championship. Ernie Jones was the architect of that success, and the team almost repeated the performance in the next season, when they were runners-up.
A few years later when the Club was temporarily disbanded because of the serious financial position, Ernie transferred to Glastonbury. Directly Wells City had been saved as the result of an appeal made by the then Mayor of Wells he unhesitatingly rejoined the club and continued as manager until the end of last season.
Ernie proved an unostentatious but inspiring captain and manager, who earned the respect and confidence of his team mates. Fortunately for the club, he has kept fairly free from injury and in nearly ten years has not missed half-a-dozen games on this account. Although now one of the League's veterans, he is still one of its most outstanding players.
Please show your appreciation by ensuring him a bumper benefit.