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Dave Jones

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 17/06/1956


Dave Jones made a welcome return to the Premiership three-and-a-half years after having his short spell in the top flight brought to a premature end at Southampton.

The likeable Merseysider finally ended Wolverhampton Wanderers' 19-year exile from the top division as they beat Sheffield United in the First Division play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.

Dave had signed a three-and-a-half year contract at Molineux in January 2001, succeeding Colin Lee, who had been dismissed the previous month.

After a highly publicized and unfortunate twelve month absence from the game, he returned with an enthusiasm and desire to lift the sleeping Midlands giants back to the top flight and make a speedy personal return to Premiership management.

Dave spent two-and-a-half largely successful years in the Premiership with Southampton, and was even named as the LMA's Manager of the Year in his first season at the helm, before being given a leave of absence to fight a court case relating to charges of child abuse brought against him over allegations from his employment in a children's home in Liverpool ten years earlier.

Although the allegations proved to be unfounded and the case again him was dropped, Dave was replaced at The Dell by Glenn Hoddle and he was left feeling aggrieved at the way in which his career had been adversely affected.

His greatest achievements, prior to taking Wolves into the Barclaycard Premiership, came at Edgeley Park where he led Stockport County into the First Division and also to a League Cup semi-final in 1997.

Born in Liverpool, David Jones commenced his footballing career at Goodison Park as a fifteen-year-old schoolboy. Having signed professional terms for Everton, he became a virtual ever-present for the Toffees until 1981 when he moved to Coventry for 275,000. A strong, commanding centre half, Dave stayed at Highfield Road for three years before suffering a serious knee injury. He recovered sufficiently to spend two seasons with Hong Kong side Seiko FC.

Despite being advised to stop playing, he managed to play two more seasons, this time at Preston, before finally hanging up his boots with over 300 league games to his credit and having achieved international recognition for England at Youth and under-21 levels.

He then enjoyed some managerial experience with non-league sides such as Southport, Mossley and Morecambe before joining the Edgeley Park staff as chief coach in July 1990, becoming a key member of the managerial set up at Stockport County and taking over the hot seat in March 1995.

Dave's excellent record with The Hatters - earning promotion to Division One - prompted Southampton to offer him the chance to manage at the top level following the departure of Graeme Souness in 1997.

The unfortunate circumstances in which the Evertonian's tenure at The Dell came to an end made him the perfect appointment for Wolves, who were also desperate to return to the top flight.

Dave was determined to succeed where several before him have failed in gaining promotion to the Premiership with the famous Molineux club.

They seemed destined for an immediate return in his first full season in charge, 2001/02. With a quarter of the season remaining, Wolves were 11 points clear of West Bromwich Albion and appeared to be battling it out with Manchester City for the First Division title.

However, a terrible loss of form in the final stages of their camapaign allowed their Black Country rivals to snatch the second automatic promotion place behind Keegan's men, who went on to become champions.

Forced to settle for a play-off berth, Wolves were beaten by Norwich City - who had secured sixth place in Divsion One on goal difference on the last day of the season - leaving Dave to reflect on what might have been and look ahead to the following season.

Although automatic promotion never looked on the cards in 2002/03, Wolves managed to secure a place in the play-offs once again, and their form going into the end-of-season shoot-out was significantly better than the previous year.

The hard-working manager guided his men through a two-legged semi final with Reading to set up a Cardiff meeting with Sheffield United.

Goals from Mark Kennedy, Nathan Blake and Kenny Miller put Wanderers three up at half time, and they held on in the second period to claim their place in the Barclaycard Premiership.

Dave was delighted to be back in the top flight, along with a club who had been waiting to return for so long, and his next ambition was to ensure they both stayed there.

(info as at 01/10/03)

Reproduced under permission from the League Managers Association.
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