Dave Jones: I won't forget the people who stood by me as I fought to prove my innocence


Last updated at 18:33 10 May 2008

In common with most of his

Cardiff City team, Dave Jones will

not be able to join in at Wembley

when Katherine Jenkins sings the

Welsh national anthem before next

Saturday's FA Cup final against


There is, however, one

Welsh phrase dear to his heart. Tyn y

Cae, which means House on the Hill, is

the name of the converted farm where

the City manager lives with his wife,

Ann, and daughter, Georgia.

dave jones

Animal magic: Dave Jones at home with his horses in the Vale of Glamorgan

It is a haven that provides the City

manager with a retreat from the day job

and a place that allows him to protect his

privacy with a passion. Not many people

get beyond the wrought iron gates, but as

he shows off the property, a sweeping

gesture takes in the acres of fields that

surround the house.

'They're mine,' says

a beaming Jones, before gesturing in a

different direction. 'And so are they. Not

bad for a boy from Toxteth, eh?'

His two horses and their shaggy

companion pony amble over at the sound

of his whistle. Jones cocks his ear at the

shrill of birdsong. 'Listen to that,' he

says. 'This is as noisy as it gets.'

It is a glorious setting but, had

circumstances been different, 'home' for

Jones might have meant something

rather less salubrious.

Nine years ago, he

faced allegations of child abuse dating

back to his days as a care worker in his

native Liverpool in the late 1980s. His

devoted wife, Ann — they are childhood

sweethearts, married for 31 years and

with four children — told him: 'Whatever

it costs, we will clear your name, even if

we have to sell our home and live in a


In the event, the charges against Jones

were thrown out 18 months later, after

two days of what was expected to

be a protracted trial at Liverpool

Crown Court. The judge said: 'This case

should never have reached the trial


It is an experience Jones can never

forget. But the subject is far from taboo.

He is gushing in his gratitude to those

who stood by him — and not so

benevolent to one or two who, he says,

did not.

'If the people I knew in the game, had played against and been associated

with, had deserted me, that would have

killed me,' he adds. 'But they didn't.'

Jim Smith was one. Jones recalls, when

Smith's Derby played his Southampton

shortly after he was charged: 'Jim came

to me before the game and said: “Come

on, Dave, we'll walk out on to the pitch

together, shoulder to shoulder”.' Jones

says: 'I'll never be able to thank him

enough for that.'

The same goes for Sir Alex Ferguson,

at Manchester United. 'He insisted

on walking out at Old Trafford side by

side when we played there,' says Jones.

'The crowd gave us a standing ovation. It

was unbelievable.'

Ferguson being Ferguson, however, he

changed his tune after Southampton

grabbed an unexpected 3-3 draw. Jones

laughs as he recalls: 'We shook hands and

then he told me: “Right, after that, you

can walk back on your ******* own”. You

don't get sentiment and a point from

Sir Alex.

'Those are things I'll never forget

because it could have been quite easy for

them to stride 20 yards in front. They

made a point of walking alongside me to

say: “We believe in you”.'

Others Jones remembers not quite

so graciously, particularly his former

Southampton chairman, Rupert Lowe,

who suspended him on full pay

pending the outcome of the trial before

eventually giving the manager's job to

Glenn Hoddle.

Jones says: 'People believe I'm happy

with the predicament Southampton are

in now, but I'm not. I still have close links with the club and I don't like to see them

in the state they are in, even though I felt

hard done by. I gave three-and-a-half

years of my life to that club and I love

the area and the people. They looked

after my family when all the problems

were going on.'

His arrival at Cardiff City was by way

of Wolverhampton Wanderers. 'I took the

job within a month of being cleared,' he

says. 'I took Wolves into the Premier

League one year and got relegated the

next because there was hardly any

investment in the team. I think I did my

job there and I did it well but they

thought it was time for a change and I

accepted that.'

Former Leeds United chairman Peter

Ridsdale, now in a similar role at Cardiff,

persuaded Jones to end a self-imposed exile to take the City job. Ridsdale's

reward is a seat in the Royal Box at

Wembley next Saturday, something not

even a transfer kitty of £100 million

could buy him at Elland Road.

Between them, and with the help of

local businessmen Gerald Leeke and his

son, Stephen, they have engineered a

football revolution at a club that had

slipped way behind the times. Now the

players benefit from state-of-the-art

training facilities at the Vale Of

Glamorgan Hotel and a new 30,000-

seater stadium adjacent to Ninian Park

will be open for the 2009-10 season.

'When I signed the likes of Jimmy

Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler, I

never showed them our training

facilities. They would never have come,'

says Jones. ' Last year from November

to February we trained on grass twice

because the pitch was waterlogged.

'Our academy used the Vale and I had a

meeting with Gerald and Stephen, who

own the hotel and were building football

pitches to attract teams there for

training breaks. It began from there. I

feel proud about what, with the help of a

lot of people, we have achieved here.'

Now a final against Premier League

Portsmouth could be the finest hour-anda-

half for Jones and his collection of

bargains. At £600,000 defender Darren

Purse, bought just after he arrived three

years ago, is his most expensive signing.

'I haven't spent any money for the past

16 months,' says Jones. 'When you

consider the financial restraints I think

the expectation levels here are a little

exaggerated. It's not just the club, there's

a nation riding on the result.'

Cardiff have not won the FA Cup since

their famous victory over Arsenal in

1927. Now, again, they find themselves

the final's underdogs. But Jones says: 'It

doesn't bother me. If we perform to our

best, we'll match Portsmouth.

'They are a very good side with a lot of

quality players. But we have a chance

because we're there and that's what I'll

tell the players. Go out and be

yourselves; don't try to be something

you're not. Be good at what you do, and

Cavrdiff Cit y we'll have a chance.'

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