Cliff Jones was a player who came to represent a new breed of winger. Pacy but with an ability to join in the attack to add to the scoring options as well as creating opportunities in a forward line designed to get goals.
Coming from a footballing family, it was almost certain that would be the path he followed. His father Ivor had been a Welsh international and his brother, four uncles and a cousin also played at a good level. Further down the line, his grand-son, Scott Nielson, became a professional footballer playing for Bradford City before dropping into non-league.
Cliff attended St. Helens Mixed Junior School and then went on to study at Oxford Street Secondary Modern School.
Arriving at Spurs in 1958 after a
spell starring for Swansea Town, Jones was an
established Welsh international before he signed for
Tottenham, turning out for his national side over a
period of 14 years in total.
His ability had been noted early on and there was a thrill among Spurs fans when news broke of his signing, as he was seen as a provider of goals for Bobby Smith, but Cliff turned out to be much more than that. An incredibly fit man, he could skin full backs for pace and lost them with a dropped shoulder, but he also did his share of chasing players back and for a player who was not the tallest, he had a prodigious leap that won him headers and helped him score a large number of headed goals. Jones was also very brave, often going in where the boots were flying to apply the finishing touch to crosses into the box or sticking his head in with the risk of taking a blow in the process.
Cliff's Spurs debut came in an away match at Arsenal in 1958 that ended all square at 4-4. That summer, he appeared at the World Cup finals in Sweden for Wales and helped them draw all three group games, setting up a play-off match with Hungary to see who progressed to the quarter finals. Wales won and met Brazil, who knocked them out with Pele's first World Cup goal. But the team that contained John Charles and other fine players had made their mark and Jones was touted as the best left winger in the world at the time.
However, the Welsh wing wizard didn't really come into his own in a Lilywhite shirt until Bill Nicholson took over as manager later in 1958 and his place in the side was part of the germination of the Double side that swept all before them in 1960-61. With his place in the side guaranteed apart from injuries, Cliff was a provider of crosses for Smith and later Greaves, but whether he was cutting in from the wing to unleash a powerful shot, racing in at the far post to get on the end of one of Terry Dyson's crosses or jumping high to meet a dead ball play, Jones was rarely out of the limelight.
He was a part of the European Cup-Winners Cup triumph and right through to the 1967 FA Cup win, when he was sitting on the bench, ready to play his part, Cliff was a thread that ran through the successful period of the clubs history under Bill Nicholson. But the last of those trophy wins was to be the watershed for the Welshman, as injuries caught up with him and younger legs were entrusted with the winger's position. Jones scored against Man U in his last match for Spurs a few days before he joined Fulham and even though he donned a kit similar to Tottenham's it wasn't quite right. He had been part of the White Hart Lane fabric for 10 years and written his part in the Tottenham Hotspur story.
Having spent an injury hit two years at Craven Cottage, Cliff played for Cambridge City in 1972, after having moved around to King's Lynn, Bedford Town and Wealdstone after leaving Fulham.
Looking as fit as he was in his playing days, Cliff Jones is a regular visitor to White Hart Lane and talks lovingly about the club and his time there.