Throughout the season we’ll be introducing the BRFPA team to you.
Today we focus on our first ever Players’ Representative on the committee, the legendary Vaughan Jones.
Vaughan is of course remembered for being the Captain of the victorious Third Division Champions squad in 1989/90, and for holding the 11th highest total of senior appearances for Rovers (457 overall).
Vaughan first joined in 1976 as an apprentice right back from the rich Welsh valleys – a goldmine of football, not just coal. In 1982 he was allowed to leave for Newport County but returned in December 1984 from Cardiff City, originally on loan, and stayed for a further eight years before joining our landlords Bath City in 1993, a week after John Ward had become the new Rovers manager.
Joner was on the wrong side of the fence (alongside Gary Smart) when Rovers famously drew an ‘away’ tie at their landlords in the FA Cup First Round in January 1995. Rovers romped to a 5-0 win in front of a massive mixed crowd of 6,751 Gasheads and Romans, with Paul Miller banging in four of them in 23 second half minutes.
I was intrigued to see Vaughan make a reappearance in the media during the 2013/14 relegation season, and I doubt I would have been alone amongst Gasheads to have hoped that the club would have invited this exceptional servant back to do an inspirational talk to our lacklustre team. Vaughan would have put a rocket up them, yet also exude the serenity he showed as the patented ‘cool left back’ (Vaughan moved all the way along the back line as his career progressed).
Off the pitch he seemed a rather modest man. I was once standing in the sunshine on the North Terrace (before the roof) wearing the old white ‘Universal Components’ away kit from the aforementioned Champions season. I got talking to a couple of blokes, as you do, and their friend behind me said in a soft treacly Welsh accent ‘that’s a good old top you’ve got on’. I turned around to be faced by Joner himself, standing on OUR terrace with his friends. My jaw almost hit the floor.
Joner was captain at Wembley for the Leyland DAF Cup Final in 1990 but threw his losers medal away after the game, incensed at Vic Callow’s refereeing. Devon White picked it up and returned it to him later. Looking back Vaughan said, “One of the proudest moments of the day was seeing thousands of Rovers fans streaming up Wembley Way two hours before kick-off. The disappointment of the result will be overshadowed in the long term by memories of being the first captain to lead out Rovers at Wembley” (Ian Haddrell & Mike Jay – A Season To Remember – 2012 – The History Press)
If all Rovers players can achieve this deep feeling for our club I’m sure we’ll be fine in the future.