Rob Sawyer in conversation with former Pwllheli goalkeeper John Cowell on his association with Everton and Wales legend T.G.Jones.
Tommy G. Jones – often known by his initials, T.G., was idolised by Everton and Wales supporters in the late 1930s and 1940s. Dubbed the Prince of Centre-halves by devoted fans, Jones was described by Dixie Dean as the finest all-round player he had ever seen.
A league title winner in 1939, Jones lost many of his best years to the war, and picked up a debilitating ankle injury in a Merseyside derby in 1944.
Having fallen out of favour at Goodison Park, in spite of being club captain, Jones walked away from English football in 1950, becoming manager of the Tower Hotel in Pwllheli. As player-manager of the Welsh town’s football club, Pwllheli and District FC, he won every available honour there in the early 1950s. Moving to Bangor City in 1957, he led the team to a Welsh Cup win and a European Cup Winners’ Cup adventure with Napoli in 1962. Until a few years before his passing in 2004, he ran a newspaper shop with his wife, Joyce in the Garth area of Bangor.
John Cowell, now 92, is probably the only surviving member of Jones’ trophy-winning Pwllheli side. Joining as a young goalkeeper in 1951, he enjoyed two hugely successful seasons on the Llyn Peninsula – going onto appear between the sticks for Bangor City, Marine and Liverpool FC (at ‘A’ team and reserves level, where he lined up with John Morrissey ). A very capable cricketer, he once played alongside John Charles (Tommy Jones’ successor in the Welsh national football team) for Bangor Cricket Club in a centenary match.
The former goalkeeper has a fantastic memory and I caught up with John recently, to look back on his sporting life and to reflect on his times alongside the great Tommy Jones.