Roger Jones may not be a name known by many current Vale fans, but the one-club man combined long service with a show-stealing ability to score goals.
Jones was a Burslem boy and he joined the Valiants in July 1923.
The 21 year-old made his debut in the Second Division season of 1923-24 but that was to be his only appearance that campaign. In fact, Jones was used sparingly for the next three seasons and by the start of the 1927-28 season he had just 27 senior appearances to his name. That season, he only managed just eight appearances but he did at least score his first goal for the club.
Jones had found his shooting boots and for a left-half he certainly managed to grab the headlines with his shooting prowess…
Jones had found his shooting boots and for a left-half (effectively a wide midfielder in today’s terms) he proceeded to grab the headlines with his (albeit occasional) shooting prowess. In 1928-29, in a Vale team that was relegated, he managed four goals in 19 games – not bad considering legendary striker Wilf Kirkham only nabbed 15 in 32 matches.
The next season, 1929-30, Vale were placed in the Third Division North and Jones at last became a first-team regular at the age of 27. He played 38 games but failed to find the target as Vale romped to the title and promotion back to the Second Division.
The next season (1930-31) was Port Vale’s most successful in their history as they finished fifth in League Two. Jones played forty times and netted in a 3-0 win over Reading. Jones had by now, found the net six times and Vale had never lost whenever he’d found the target. That run continued in 1931-32 as Jones scored twice in a 2-2 draw with Millwall. Roger found the target again in 1932-33 and 1935-36, both during wins against Bradford City.
In the 1936-37 season, something extraordinary happened. Jones – with seven goals in 300 appearances, suddenly became prolific…
In the 1936-37 season, something extraordinary happened. Jones – with ten goals in 300 appearances – suddenly became prolific. He hit TWO hat-tricks – one in a 5-1 win over Mansfield and another in a 3-1 win over Halifax. He also netted in a 3-2 win over Accrington and a 2-1 win over York. His run of never scoring in a defeat had continued but sadly, it ended with his final goal for Vale – a consolation during a 7-1 thrashing at Mansfield. Nevertheless, Jones had finished with an impressive tally of nine goals from 36 games.
Despite his goals, that season was 35 year-old Jones’ last at the club as he was released in the summer. A one-club man, his thirteen year career at Vale had totaled 346 games and a memorable 19 goals. He had also played a key role in the 1929-30 promotion season.
Jones will never reach the legendary status of another Vale left-half and one-club man, Roy Sproson, but our cult series is not about classic Vale greats, it’s about players who can be remembered for other reasons. And for his long-service and his ability to trouble the scoresheet, often with surprising effect, we feel Roger Jones is a worthy addition to our cult hall of fame.
Roger Jones sadly died in Bradeley in 1967, aged 65.
Cult credentials: Local lad, long-serving, one club man, headline-grabbing goal antics
Honours: Promotion 1929-30