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Q&A with Bolton Wanderers Legend Paul Jones

Wanderers legend Paul Jones answers questions on his time at the club

Over the past couple weeks, there has been a lot of press surrounding Big Sam's England debut. Whether it was a story debating whether Sam would pick John Stones, or a story on how close Sam came to an England call-up, one name kept cropping up.

Paul Jones.

With 43 goals in 506 appearances from 1970-1983 (the sixth highest number of appearances in Wanderers' history), Paul Jones is known as one of the greatest players to ever wear a Wanderers shirt. And in 2005, Jones was voted as the 7th greatest ever Wanderers player.

It's not hard to see why Manchester City defender John Stones has been compared to the former Wanderers player.

Big Sam and Paul Jones were also once described as 'one of the best centre half pairings in English football'.

Jones is also regarded by Wanderers fans as one of the greatest players to have not played for England.

For those not familiar with Jones, here are a few questions Paul took the time to answer on his thirteen year spell at Burnden Park.

Who was your footballing hero growing up?

'Footballing hero was Bobby Charlton. He epitomised the player I wanted to be. He was fantastic, could pass with both feet and had a great shot on him. I'm not a Manchester United fan but I admired him a lot.'

How did the move to Bolton come about?

'Well I started playing for Ellesmere Port boys before moving on to Cheshire boys and there was a scout from Bolton that came to watch a few times. He recommended me to go for a trial at Bolton. They originally played me at right back but I was a centre half. They let me go but a short while later they changed the chief scout. I think it was Colin Murphy who took over and brought me and maybe Stuart Lee back and we both ended up being Nat Lofthouse's first signings.'

What do you remember about your Wanderers debut?

'Haha well forty-five seconds means a lot to me in my career. On my debut for Bolton I conceded a goal after forty-five seconds against Sheffield United. We were near the bottom of league and they were top. We kicked off and the ball came back to me which we'd not practiced in training! So I knocked the ball back to the keeper, it didn't get there and the striker then nipped in and scored. But we beat them 2-1 and my tackle proved to be the assist for Paul Fletcher's winning before he went to Burnley. Forty-five seconds was also how long it took me to get sent off for Stockport once and also forty-five seconds is the quickest penalty ever scored at Maine Road which I scored for Huddersfield.'

Who was the better manager: Jimmy Armfield or Ian Greaves?

'Ian Greaves. Jimmy inherited a good set of good quality young kids. Ian took over and he took us to new better levels. No disrespect to Jimmy and I've got a lot of time for him.'

You played alongside some legendary players at Bolton. Who do you think was the best player you played with?

'I've played with so many great players, the best player I've played with as a forward has to be Frank Worthington. For us he was God. He wasn't pretentious in any way. He was one of us, one of the boys. Best midfielder was Peter Reid. Wherever the ball was he was there. Always wanted the ball. He would win the ball for us, great passer of the ball. Covered every blade of grass. Best defender was Tony Dunne at left back, along with Warrick Rimmer, they looked after me as a kid and gave great advice. Me and Sam were the ones who invented stepping out and putting your hand up for offside. Well before it was done at Arsenal in the 90's! We caught Mick Channon enough times with that as he was lightning quick.'

The 1978 Bolton Wanderers squad. Featuring players like Frank Worthington, Tony Dunne, Sam Allardyce, Peter Reid, Willie Morgan and of course Paul Jones

What was your favourite Bolton game?

'Favourite Bolton game was 1979 (ish) away at Newcastle United in a FA cup replay at their place. It finished 0-0 AET. The best atmosphere I've ever played in. I played for 119 minutes with a pulled hamstring. There was 50,000 Geordies screaming at us, it was a great atmosphere.'

What was your favourite Bolton goal?

'I loved every goal I scored. It was just an absolute pleasure. A few were penalties but I loved the near post flick on headers. One person I can thank for most of my near post headers was Ronnie Phillips who I miss dearly and he was an unsung hero for Bolton. His corners were inch perfect.'

Despite not making an appearance, what was it like being called up for England?

'Ian Greaves pulled me into the office and said "guess what, you've been picked for England", I thought he was winding me up. I was in a bit of shock until the FA got in touch with me and told me to report. I was in the company of great players like Joe Royle, Kevin Keegan, Emlyn Hughes, Kevin Beattie, Paul Marriner. These were all top flight players and I was in the second division. I was there with them and they treated me like one of them as well. The game was Luxembourg as a world cup qualifier at Wembley. Joe Royles last game. England won 1-0. Unfortunately there was only me and Joe Corrigan who never made the bench for that game so we never got a cap.'

Fellow centre back and Wanderers graduate, Rob Holding, made the move to Arsenal in the Summer. How good do you think he could be?

'Rob is quality. I admit I've not seen him too much but from what I have seen he looks sound. The people at Bolton I speak to asked me what I thought and I always said he looks quality and he will get a move, and he did. Good luck to him. I'm not a bad judge of a player am I?'

Big Sam was your centre half partner at Bolton. Do you think he'll be a success as England boss?

'Yeah I think Sam will be a success in his new role. Don't expect a quality side who is going to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK. Sam will produce a team that England will be proud of and they will be difficult to beat. Again good luck luck to him.'

What was it like coaching in China?

'China was hard work! I love China and I would go back there tomorrow. The players there are not being coached to our standards. When I went there the coaches struggled to communicate their instructions properly. I succeeded in changing their attitudes and approach to coaching. There's a lot of great talent out there, but hopefully more coaches will take the same approach I did for my teams.'

Are you still involved in football now?

'At this moment in time I'm not involved professionally, but I enjoyed my time as a judge on the TV talent show Futbol Prensi which was like an X factor for football. This was a football talent show in Turkey, Vietnam and China. I spend my weekends watching all football and coach a Sunday football team called Flyers Fc.'

Finally, do you think Bolton can get promoted this season?

'It will be difficult and I hope promotion can be achieved. A great start but if the club can get a stable platform off the field then there is no reason why not.'

You can now follow Paul Jones on Twitter @PaulJones1953.