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Cover Story

Our players have always been front page news – as John Fennelly’s ongoing series on magazines and books from the past clearly illustrates. This month we go way back to 1897 when non-league Spurs caused a stir by signing a Welsh international.

Cover_main John L. Jones was so highly-thought of as a student and exponent of the game that he even produced his own coaching manual in the days when playing professional football was looked down on in many quarters.

Indeed, such was his renown that he even taught the subject at Rugby School together with cricket which he also excelled at.

Born near Rhyl, he started out in local football before making it to the Football League with Grimsby Town in May, 1893. However, he really made his name with Sheffield United who had only been in existence five years when he moved there a year later.

Within a few more months, the inside-forward had stepped up for his full Wales debut so when he moved to Tottenham in May, 1897, manager Frank Brettell had pulled off a massive coup because not only were we non-league but we’d only been in the Southern League for one season.

Jones holds a place in our history as our first ever international and he went on to win a further 12 caps while with us. In addition he was the captain who lifted the FA Cup when we again rocked the establishment by winning the trophy while still outside the Football League.

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