Keith JONES

Keith Jones - Chelsea FC - Biography 1983/84-1987/88

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 26 December 1984

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    • POSITION
      Midfielder
    • DATE OF BIRTH
      Thursday, 14 October 1965
    • PLACE OF BIRTH
      London, England.
  • CLUBS
  • Charlton Athletic
    • Club Career Dates
      1994-2000
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 17th September 1994 in a 1-0 win at home to Swindon Town (Aged: 28)
    • Club Career
      142 League apps (+16 as sub), 6 goals
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1983-1987
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 26th March 1983 in a 3-0 defeat at home to Barnsley (Aged: 17)
    • Club Career
      43 League apps (+9 as sub), 7 goals
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Keith JONES - Chelsea FC - Biography 1983/84-1987/88

Keith Jones, a former England schoolboy international, and the jewel in the crown of the Chelsea youth team, was given his debut in March 1983 at the age of just 17. An elegant, hard-working midfielder with an impressive range of passing, a good eye for a goal, he might have expected to make a significant impact during the following campaign but the impressive form of John Neal's promotion-bound, newly constructed side meant that Jones failed to feature at all in the first team during 1983/84, instead captaining the youth team to the South East Counties League title. He burst back onto the scene the following September with an outstanding performance in place of the injured John Bumstead against Leicester in a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. An injury to Pat Nevin allowed Keith to keep his place in the side and he was given a huge vote of confidence when he retained his place after John Bumstead's return to fitness. Keith scored his first goals for The Blues when he found the net twice as Chelsea recovered from 2-0 down to demolish Coventry City 6-2, and three days later fired home a spectacular effort against Walsall as The Saddlers were beaten 3-0 in a Milk Cup replay. He quickly established himself as an integral part of The Blues midfield and his performances in pre-Christmas victories over current champions Liverpool and champions-elect Everton caught the eye of England manager Bobby Robson, who awarded him the Barclay Young Eagle of the Month award for December 1984. By a cruel twist of fate, it was a game at the end of that month, when Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, which proved to be the turning point in his Chelsea career. Jones' game was routinely dismantled by Bryan Robson and he was substituted at half-time with, quite incredibly, the jeers of the home supporters ringing in his ears. Visibly shattered by the experience, he became a shadow of his former self, a withdrawn figure who shied away from trying anything inventive for fear of failure and subsequent barracking from the terraces. He made just five more appearances that season and just ten League starts the following campaign, scoring twice. He was given an opportunity to resurrect his Chelsea career early in the 1986/87 season as John Hollins wielded the axe after a disappointing start to the campaign. However, it was typical of Jones' luck that he should make his return in a 6-2 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest which was followed by a 1-0 loss at York City in the Littlewoods Cup. He nevertheless kept his place throughout the autumn and also successfully took on the responsibility of penalty taker, but by Christmas he was back in the reserves. He was given another recall at the tail end of the season and scored his final goal in a Chelsea shirt at Watford in a 3-1 defeat. Keith remained with the club throughout the following summer but it was clear that he was no longer in the manager's plans and in September 1987 he joined Brentford for a fee of £40, 000. (Kelvin Barker)