I’m sure we’ve all dreamt of pulling on the famous colours of our hometown club, writes Club Media Assistant Matthew Wallace. I’m sure most of us still harbour those ambitions. I’m sure that some of us even believe that we are still capable of fulfilling that ambition. But for club skipper Stuart Jones, there’s been no dreaming about it. In a hugely successful career, Jones racked up a century of games in Aberystwyth colours having arrived at that milestone via spells at Swansea City and Llanelli Town.
“I used to go and watch us play as a boy and even after leaving to go and play for Swansea, I said then that one day I wanted to come back and play for Aber. It may have taken a bit longer than I thought it would having spent a few seasons down in Llanelli but I’m glad I’m here now and play as many games for us as I can.”
The milestone has come around quickly for Stu. Having joined the Seasiders from Llanelli in 2012, Jones has become a stalwart and a constant presence of stability at the heart of the Aberystwyth defence.
“I was surprised to hear in the week that it was a hundred up for me. It’s come up quite quickly if I’m honest! I don’t know if that’s a sign of me getting old I don’t know but it’s an honour to play that many games for your home town club and hopefully there’ll be many more to come.”
That century of games includea leading the side out at the Glyndwr University Stadium in the Welsh Cup final of 2014 and leading the side out for our two games against Derry City in the Europa league. These are games that the three-time Welsh Premier team of the year candidate lists as his highlights.
“Taking the club into the Welsh Cup Final and the subsequent games into Europe (were highlights). I know the games in Europe didn’t work out the way we wanted them to but it was an extremely proud moment leading the lads into those games.”
Although Town didn’t get the win they so desperately wanted to celebrate the centre back’s landmark, a 0-0 draw against Newtown turned out to be a very good point. It keeps the club undefeated in six league games which includes two clean sheets in succession.
“We’ve been building on clean sheets and defensive work over recent weeks. In training it’s been 0’s and 1’s we’ve been working on as that gives us a great opportunity to go on and win matches. They’ve had a few chances to be fair but we’ve had a couple down the other end as well so it wasn’t as if it was a dull 0-0 draw. We’ve been defending pretty well as a whole but there’s still more to come from this side.”
What is remarkable about this occasion is that Jones has been the captain for every single on of his appearances. In fact, Jones is only two appearances away from 300 in the Welsh Premier League with that milestone looking likely to arrive at home to TNS later in the month.
“It means a lot to see managers think of me in that way,” add Stuarts.
With a century quickly under his belt, Jones is already looking to build ahead for the next one hundred and has some very clear targets him mind.
“We’re looking to build year on year. Last year was a bit of a setback with us losing out on European football on the last game but we set our targets quite high here as a squad. We’ve got a great squad of players who are capable of getting into Europe year on year and that is the target for us as a group.”
But despite this momentous moment, there is still one member of the Aberystwyth squad that remains unimpressed.
“I still get it in the ear from Wyn Thomas reminding me how many he’s got and how many more I’ve got to go before I catch him up!”
Watch Matthew Wallace's post match interviews with Manager Ian Hughes and Stuart Jones on Aber Town's Youtube Channel here.