Bradford City fans took classy skipper Gary Jones to their hearts

Gary Jones shares City’s Villa Park triumph with youngster Jake Turton

Gary Jones shares City’s Villa Park triumph with youngster Jake Turton

First published in Sport
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

Bradford City’s love affair with Gary Jones was sealed with a kiss.

There were many magical images during the club’s unprecedented ride to Wembley in the Capital One Cup.

But one stood out, as Jones broke off from the euphoric celebrations at Villa Park to plant a smacker on the head of brain tumour survivor Jake Turton. He also gave the youngster his sweat-stained shirt as a souvenir.

It was a touch of class from the skipper – but then that was what he was all about.

There may never be another Stuart McCall in the eyes of City fans. But Jones sure came damn close.

The outpouring of emotion and flood of well wishes after Friday’s announcement that he was leaving the club summed up how Bradford had taken him to their hearts.

City owe Jones a huge debt of gratitude for two years of terrific toil and total dedication. He introduced a winning ethic into a dressing room that had long forgotten what it was like to be successful.

His name is synonymous with Rochdale, where he appeared 531 times in 11 years. He skippered Dale to their first promotion in 41 years in 2010 and then played every game in both seasons in League One.

But Jones’ impact at Valley Parade was just as significant. His final outing at Tranmere was his 100th in the claret and amber – a nice milestone which once again summed up the fact that, even knocking on for 37, he never misses a game.

His capture was well worth dragging Steve Parkin out of a Greek taverna to secure.

Phil Parkinson got plenty of signings right during the summer of 2012 that shaped City’s revival. Jones, arguably the biggest, came almost by accident.

Parkinson had been studying videos of Stephen Darby playing on loan for Rochdale. But this busy number eight seemed to be in every shot.

“He was always in the picture,” recalled the City boss, whose interest was pricked enough to interrupt his assistant’s holiday.

Parkin, who knew Jones well from working with him over a 15-year period, replied: “The best thing I can tell you about Gary is that the only time he is ever happy is 5pm on a Saturday when his team have won.”

That clinched it for Parkinson and when an agent then rang to say that Jones might be available after failing to see eye-to-eye with then Dale boss John Coleman, the response confirmed that he was already top of their list.

His arrival brought a predictable minority of keyboard moans arguing about his age, in the light of David Syers quitting for Doncaster.

“If this is the best we can do,” grumbled one, “then we may as well wave the white flag now.”

Mr Magoo would have been proud of such laughable short-sightedness. Here, after all, was a player who turned up every single week without fail.

Jones always insisted that age was just a number. Every time the figure was brought up – and it would be frequently – he would roll his eyes and smile.

“People have been telling me I’m past it since I was 30,” he said in an early interview.

“I’m not coming here to make up the numbers. I think this will really revitalise me. It’s the kick up the backside that I needed.”

The infectiousness of their midfield warhorse certainly planted a size ten up the collective posterior of his new club.

Ask any team-mate, young or old, about Jones’ qualities and the answer would always be the same.

He was the general driving them forward time after time. If this guy who had been playing for countless years could constantly summon up the energy, then how could those around him not follow suit?

Jones had the privilege of twice leading out City on to the hallowed Wembley turf. He also claimed the dubious honour of having their only shot on target in the cup final.

But his contribution was more than that. Think back to Bramall Lane in January and the second-half fightback against Sheffield United – that was Jones in a nutshell.

Two down with the threat of heavier punishment to follow, the captain dragged his team back from the brink virtually single-handedly to rescue a point. It was that belief and refusal to give in that made him such a massive character.

By going now, City will remember that warrior in full flow; bellowing and fist-pumping to the end.

A shake-up is required and Parkinson has drawn a line in the sand by releasing the figurehead. It was a big call.

There was no offer of a coaching sideline either when they met last week. But then Jones, only ten games off 700 now, wants to keep on playing – and he is unlikely to be short of opportunities, even given his advancing years.

He is the perfect role model, as Parkinson acknowledged when bringing the curtain down on his City stay.

Jones may not be magic, as the song goes, but he cast a bewitching spell on BD8. He says goodbye to a club that has been completely transformed in his presence.

Comments (17)

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7:09am Tue 13 May 14

silverbantam says...

Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him. silverbantam
  • Score: -10

7:28am Tue 13 May 14

allannicho says...

**** hard to replace thats for sure, gonna be a huge void to fill!
**** hard to replace thats for sure, gonna be a huge void to fill! allannicho
  • Score: -1

7:42am Tue 13 May 14

Lancashire Bantam says...

Words can't describe what Gary Jones has done for our club, he was the Roy Keane of Bradford City, how do you replace him?
Words can't describe what Gary Jones has done for our club, he was the Roy Keane of Bradford City, how do you replace him? Lancashire Bantam
  • Score: 1

7:43am Tue 13 May 14

cuzzy85 says...

Good luck Jonah! In no way a legend but he was **** near getting that status!
Good luck Jonah! In no way a legend but he was **** near getting that status! cuzzy85
  • Score: -15

7:45am Tue 13 May 14

wakefieldbantam says...

silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
[quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ! wakefieldbantam
  • Score: -7

8:07am Tue 13 May 14

gman27 says...

What a pro that guy is!! If some of these so called up coming kids had his attitude then english football would be much better off.
Excellent leader but I think releasing him was the right decision but we'll see.
What a pro that guy is!! If some of these so called up coming kids had his attitude then english football would be much better off. Excellent leader but I think releasing him was the right decision but we'll see. gman27
  • Score: -1

9:09am Tue 13 May 14

whisky1 says...

cuzzy85 wrote:
Good luck Jonah! In no way a legend but he was **** near getting that status!
Definitively a legend !...in 40 years of following the Bantams he comes a very close second to Macca in my eyes . Good luck Jonah
[quote][p][bold]cuzzy85[/bold] wrote: Good luck Jonah! In no way a legend but he was **** near getting that status![/p][/quote]Definitively a legend !...in 40 years of following the Bantams he comes a very close second to Macca in my eyes . Good luck Jonah whisky1
  • Score: 1

10:19am Tue 13 May 14

Peter300 says...

wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
[quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player. Peter300
  • Score: -9

11:21am Tue 13 May 14

wakefieldbantam says...

Peter300 wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.
[quote][p][bold]Peter300[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.[/p][/quote]Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often. wakefieldbantam
  • Score: -7

11:45am Tue 13 May 14

bcfc mad85 says...

We have had a few stand out players in our time but none of them really stand out like Jones that man is like a dog with a toy that nobody could touch at his age his willingness to run and Chase the ball close down opponents his leadership skills lead by example I would say for me and many other fans he is and will be a legend pp has some real big boots to fill
We have had a few stand out players in our time but none of them really stand out like Jones that man is like a dog with a toy that nobody could touch at his age his willingness to run and Chase the ball close down opponents his leadership skills lead by example I would say for me and many other fans he is and will be a legend pp has some real big boots to fill bcfc mad85
  • Score: 1

6:02pm Tue 13 May 14

Hove edge bantam says...

wakefieldbantam wrote:
Peter300 wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.
Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees
[quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Peter300[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.[/p][/quote]Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.[/p][/quote]Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees Hove edge bantam
  • Score: 2

8:12pm Tue 13 May 14

moanmoanwhingewhinge says...

Hove edge bantam wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
Peter300 wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.
Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees
Exactly, he would be a City legend if he hadn't chosen to join the L666s scum within 3 years of their disgraceful (but typical at that time) behaviour at Odsal
[quote][p][bold]Hove edge bantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Peter300[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.[/p][/quote]Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.[/p][/quote]Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees[/p][/quote]Exactly, he would be a City legend if he hadn't chosen to join the L666s scum within 3 years of their disgraceful (but typical at that time) behaviour at Odsal moanmoanwhingewhinge
  • Score: 4

12:17pm Wed 14 May 14

Ginger Wizard says...

He is now and always will be a true City Legend. Surely we could have manged one more year. That said thank you very much for the memories Mr Jones.
Future Manger ???????
He is now and always will be a true City Legend. Surely we could have manged one more year. That said thank you very much for the memories Mr Jones. Future Manger ??????? Ginger Wizard
  • Score: 1

2:54pm Wed 14 May 14

Michael Clayton says...

moanmoanwhingewhinge wrote:
Hove edge bantam wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
Peter300 wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.
Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees
Exactly, he would be a City legend if he hadn't chosen to join the L666s scum within 3 years of their disgraceful (but typical at that time) behaviour at Odsal
Were you at Odsal that day? The behaviour of the City fans was equally disgraceful. Save the pity me attitude.
[quote][p][bold]moanmoanwhingewhinge[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hove edge bantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Peter300[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.[/p][/quote]Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.[/p][/quote]Imagine walking into the Hendrie suite and seeing a picture of him playing for Beeston FC Could have been a legend in many peoples eyes but lost it due to his choice of employees[/p][/quote]Exactly, he would be a City legend if he hadn't chosen to join the L666s scum within 3 years of their disgraceful (but typical at that time) behaviour at Odsal[/p][/quote]Were you at Odsal that day? The behaviour of the City fans was equally disgraceful. Save the pity me attitude. Michael Clayton
  • Score: -3

4:00pm Wed 14 May 14

lawsonio123 says...

The only true legend in modern times is Stuart McCall Jones a very good and wholehearted player at the standard we have been playing at and more than worth his place in these divisions A little slower than in the past but still well able to boss some division 2 side I can see him driving such a side to promotion in division 2 next season to sum up A GOOD PLAYER IN HIS CLASS who will i am sure do well where ever he goes Good Luck and Thank you
The only true legend in modern times is Stuart McCall Jones a very good and wholehearted player at the standard we have been playing at and more than worth his place in these divisions A little slower than in the past but still well able to boss some division 2 side I can see him driving such a side to promotion in division 2 next season to sum up A GOOD PLAYER IN HIS CLASS who will i am sure do well where ever he goes Good Luck and Thank you lawsonio123
  • Score: 2

9:06pm Wed 14 May 14

1955bantam says...

It's a disgrace; he should have got another year.
It's a disgrace; he should have got another year. 1955bantam
  • Score: 1

6:42pm Fri 16 May 14

Waynus1971 says...

wakefieldbantam wrote:
Peter300 wrote:
wakefieldbantam wrote:
silverbantam wrote:
Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.
Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend.
Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie !
Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.
Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.
Did you really write, "Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often", just a short while after writing, "Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years (are legends)"?????

You say Peter was wrong. About what? He was stating a fact that both Hendrie and McCall wanted to leave to bigger challenges. Both were persuaded to stay for one final season at City; so why is Hendrie being knocked for joining Newcastle when McCall joined Everton?????
[quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Peter300[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wakefieldbantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silverbantam[/bold] wrote: Reminds me of John Hendrie who was only at City for 4 years but became a legend and even has a suite named after him.[/p][/quote]Doesn't remind me of Hendrie at all, Hendrie was quite keen to leave us Gary wanted to stay and I for one would never class Hendrie as a legend. Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years, but not Hendrie ![/p][/quote]Obviously John upset you sometime in the past. Both John and Stuart wanted to leave which was completely understandable. Gary has been a tremendous player for City. Hopefully he can have at least one full season elsewhere. Certainly he is not the type of player who wants to sit on the bench or be a bit part player. The manager knows that. A difficult decision, but he has to think about the club and the player.[/p][/quote]Wrong again Peter, actually I think Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often.[/p][/quote]Did you really write, "Hendrie's ok but imo would not class him as a legend. Legend is a term bandied about far too often", just a short while after writing, "Stuart, Bobby and yes Gary, even though he's only been with us for 2 years (are legends)"????? You say Peter was wrong. About what? He was stating a fact that both Hendrie and McCall wanted to leave to bigger challenges. Both were persuaded to stay for one final season at City; so why is Hendrie being knocked for joining Newcastle when McCall joined Everton????? Waynus1971
  • Score: -1

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