Every Picture Tells A Story

By Posted on 52 Comments 3 min read

A family photo. This photograph is from 1922 and the Ton Pentre football club.

There’s Only One Will John

My Grandfather, Will John or ‘Shoni’ as he was known to his family and friends is sat at the front left of the photograph. There are all sorts of mixed emotions for me in this picture as well as a story or two. The photograph was taken shortly before ‘kick-off’ on Saturday, 4th May 1922 at Taff Vale Park, Ton Pentre, Wales in front of a crowd of 8,000 supporters. The occasion was the Welsh Cup Final against Cardiff City. Cardiff won the game 2-0 which was not surprising as they were expected to win, being the superior side. To be honest, 2-0 was a great result for Ton Pentre.

Shoni Jones
Shoni Jones

Tottenham Hotspur

Fast forward forty years to 1962 and I was 5 and living in Birmingham with my parents. My Grandparents were on a visit from their home which was now on the coast in the Kent seaside town of Margate. My Dad’s cousin was playing for Tottenham Hotspur (Cliff Jones) and whenever they played in Birmingham, it was a day out for the whole family. So, with Grandad Shoni, me, my brother, my Dad and Uncle Cyril, we set off for St Andrew’s, Birmingham City’s football ground to see the mighty Spurs.

The Trainer

In those days, the trainer would march out onto the playing field wearing a long white coat and dragging what looked like a large picnic basket behind him. I assume there were oranges and the magic sponge contained within and not a meal of ham sandwiches and pork pies for the entire team. No sooner had the Tottenham trainer come out of the players’ tunnel, my Grandad was off and ran down to where the terrace meets the pitch and where the trainer sat. He called out to him and they shook hands and looked genuinely pleased to see each other. They must have had some history because my Grandad stayed chatting with the trainer for the whole 90 minutes and only returned when the game had finished.

40 Years On

Being a 5 year old, I never thought about why Grandad had spent so much time in the company of the trainer of the top football side in the country at that time. In fact, I was probably glad to get home as football was never a big thing in my life. That was that until another 40 years or so later. Around 2002, by which time my Grandad had long passed and my Dad was suffering from dementia. I was into tracing the Jones family history when by accident I came across the photograph at the Cynon Taf Photographic Archive. Thankfully, all the gentlemen in the photo are named too.

Cecil Poynton
Cecil Poynton

Cecil Poynton

Ton Pentre AFC at that time were a professional team, playing in what was called the Southern League in the days before Division 3 or 4. Looking through the players’ names, I notice Cecil Poynton as one of the players. Immediately, I recognised that name and after a quick check, lo and behold, he was the trainer at Tottenham Hotspur during the 1950s and ’60s. So here was the answer to how Grandad had spent all that time in 1962 at the football match talking with the Spurs trainer. It was such a shame that I wasn’t able to explain to my Dad that I had found the photograph and the connection to the game back in 62.

No Medal

There must also be a medal somewhere, though I have never seen one. Every player who was in the Welsh Cup final were presented with one, either a winners or losers medal which Grandad would have had. I was only 11 when he passed away and although some of his brothers and nephews went on to achieve greater things in the game of football, he never once mentioned anything about playing himself. I often wonder if he saw this photograph? Even now he has his own Wikipedia page!

I wrote this article thanks to the Weekly Prompts page.

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52 Comments
  • SueW
    July 4, 2020

    Trev, this is such an interesting article, I know absolutely nothing about my father’s side of the family, though I know my dad led a fascinating life until he settled down. Thank you so much for joining in our challenge and sharing with us. 🙂

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Sue. I had fun researching my family tree and got to meet some nice people along the way. Thank you for the motivation to join in with the challenge. 😊

  • Lolsy's Library
    July 4, 2020

    <3

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Lolsy. 😊

  • cbholganza
    July 4, 2020

    love these old photos. there’s always so many stories to tell. thanks for reminding me to secure the old,old pics handed down to me.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, there’s always a story, sometimes we find them and sometimes we don’t 😊

  • 100 Country Trek
    July 4, 2020

    Lovely you have the history of your family tree. Interesting story. I have some of mine but reminds me to start digging deeper.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, it’s been a labour of love researching it. 😊

  • Going Batty in Wales
    July 4, 2020

    I too have photos from the same sort of era – a different world from now. Like you I wish I had asked more questions about them when I was a child and young adult and had the chance.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you and yes, it was a different world from now. You never think that time will pass as fast as it does and one day you’re suddenly alone. 🙁

  • Yetismith
    July 4, 2020

    Very interesting, Trev. I would love to find out about my family, either side, but I don’t have anything to work with. I joined Ancestry.com but didn’t get far. I only know that some of the ancestors on Dad’s side escaped France when the Huegnots were being persecuted. Great grandma Deer whose book of poems I have was the only descendant I know of.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Yeti. I was lucky my folks were still around when I started and I could get a good start to researching my ancestors. 😊

  • anotherdaywithjulie
    July 4, 2020

    I love family history and the stories about our ancestors. Makes things click and come alive.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      It certainly does and also keeps the stories alive for future generations. Thank you, Julie 😊

  • Peter's pondering
    July 4, 2020

    Very interesting Trev. The size of those shin guards!!!

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Peter. Yes, they needed them. 😁

  • gc
    July 4, 2020

    Thank you Trev for sharing this family story with us. I did not know my father as he died when I was nine years old. I ca detect the pride and the joy you are feeling as you typed out the article. Take care. Be safe.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Gerry. So sorry you lost your father at such a young age. I think you’re right, I do feel very proud of my Grandfather and all his generation after what they went through. Thanks again and stay safe.

      • gc
        July 11, 2020

        You as well Trev. Stay safe and optimistic.

  • Invisibly Me
    July 4, 2020

    How exciting to be able to dig through and discover Cecil. Quite bittersweet to find the link but not be able to share it though, I’m sorry, Trev. I wonder whether you’ll ever find a medal somewhere, perhaps somewhere you least expect it? My folks lived in Birmingham, incl Edgbaston and other parts. Any idea why your grandfather was nicknamed “Shoni”? x

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thanks, Caz. It would be nice to find a medal, but I don’t hold my breath. I lived in Yardley in Birmingham. I was always told that Shoni was Welsh for John, like Sean can be Irish for John. Also, I know Shoni is a nickname for anyone from South Wales and Gog for someone from North Wales. 🙂

  • susiesopinions
    July 4, 2020

    What a fantastic story, and you know how much l love football.
    My mother at age 7, and her twin brother lived in Folkestone after her mother died. Being born in Kent this brought a smile to my face.

    • susiesopinions
      July 4, 2020

      Margate. It was my brother who lived in Folkestone.

    • Trev
      July 4, 2020

      Thank you, Susie. I still have family in Kent, Broadstairs which I go and visit now and then. 🙂

  • luisa zambrotta
    July 5, 2020

    Great post and lovely photo!

    • Trev
      July 5, 2020

      Thank you, Luisa. 😊

  • Nancy Nelson
    July 5, 2020

    AMAZING WORK!!

    • Trev
      July 5, 2020

      Thank you for your kind words, Nancy 😊

  • Herb
    July 6, 2020

    This was very interesting. What a cool story. There is a lot I didn’t know about different grandparents and would have liked to ask them about it. Thanks for sharing this..

    • Trev
      July 6, 2020

      Thank you, Herb. We never think to ask our Grandparents while we have the opportunity. 😊

  • parneetsachdev
    July 6, 2020

    What an amazing memory! You seem to remember even the minute details. Wonderful. Happy memories and life

    • Trev
      July 6, 2020

      Thank you, Parneet. It seems like it was only yesterday 😊

  • Michael
    July 6, 2020

    This is interesting!

  • nitinsingh
    July 9, 2020

    interesting, fantastic

    • Trev
      July 9, 2020

      Thank you, Nitin 😊

  • etiliyle
    July 10, 2020

    ❤️❤️❤️

  • Nilesh Kumar
    July 13, 2020

    Wooow this was so much interesting ! Love those old photos

    • Trev
      July 13, 2020

      Thank you, Nilesh. 😊

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  • Anjali
    July 14, 2020

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    • Trev
      July 14, 2020

      Thank you, Anjali 😊

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    July 14, 2020

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  • Poesias y Sentimientos
    July 16, 2020

    Me gustaría leerte, no entiendo tu idioma, me consta que escribirás muy bien!!
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    • Trev
      July 16, 2020

      Thank you for your very kind words 🙂

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    July 16, 2020

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  • anjaliutters
    July 30, 2020

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