Meet the Aldershot FA Cup star who additionally works for Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
The Shots triggered one of many nice FA Cup upsets of recent occasions within the final spherical as they hit League Two Swindon Town for seven. Tommy Widdrington’s underdogs ran out 7-4 winners on the County Ground, having led 7-0 earlier than a late Robins fightback.
That arrange a mouth-watering house tie in opposition to runaway League Two leaders Stockport, who have been the nation’s type facet till simply final week. The Hatters have since misplaced to Newport County and drawn to Salford City, proving that Dave Challinor’s mob are simply mere mortals like the remainder of the division.
Shots captain Jones cannot look forward to the Hatters to reach on the EBB Stadium on Sunday. The defender adopted Widdrington throughout from King’s Lynn in the summertime and has an fascinating sideline because the Director of Business Development at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.
The Norfolk amusement park has been within the 29-year-old’s household since 1954 and gives Jones with a welcome escape from soccer. “It was my great grandfather on my dad’s side who originally purchased the park with his brother, Albert Botton,” Jones revealed in an unique interview with Daily Star Sport.
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“It’s been passed through the generations since. My dad’s dad took over – unfortunately we lost him about 10 years ago – and he was also the vice-chairman at Norwich City, so there was a football connection as well!
“When he handed away my dad took over as managing director. It’s very a lot a household affair. My brother is there full time and I work remotely within the afternoon, and pa is on website.
“My role is director of business development, so essentially I do anything that can push the company forward, increase revenue and customer engagement and make us more sustainable in the future.
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“It’s exciting and it’s nice for me as it means I have an escape away from football. Often as a footballer you become so wrapped up in the industry, because everything is based around how you do on a Saturday.
“You take that into the remainder of your life. It’s good to have the ability to prepare within the morning after which change off at 1pm and focus my power on one thing else.”
Jones had to be switched on in round one against Swindon – if only to keep his team-mates’ feet on the ground. “We have been pinching ourselves as the sport was unfolding in entrance of us,” he says, recalling their 7-3 win.
“A draw would have been seen as a very good result, so to be 3-0 up in the first ten minutes, we couldn’t believe what was going on.”
Going in 4-0 up at half-time represented a singular problem for Jones’ captaincy. Not many skippers need to handle expectations to such an extent in opposition to a better division opponent.
“I knew how excited everyone was going to be. But, being captain, you have to try and tell people that the job isn’t done. Statistics and maths would probably say that it was extremely unlikely for us to concede four goals or end up drawing or losing the game, but we still had a job to do in the second half.”
“The boys were excited, and spirits were high, but we had to stay grounded and put in a good performance in the second half, which we did for 30 minutes and then had a mini collapse towards the end. It annoyed a few that we conceded the four, but we made a lot of changes and brought on some younger lads, so it was a good experience for them.”
While it could have been a freak scoreline in opposition to Swindon, the end result itself was no fluke. Aldershot are flying underneath former Kings Lynn boss Widdrington, who has remodeled the membership since arriving in April.
The Shots have gone from relegation battlers to play-off contenders within the area of some brief months. They have gained eight of their final ten matches in all competitions, together with three in 4 since that win over Swindon, and at present sit sixth within the National League desk after back-to-back wins deep in harm time.
There’s a personality and togetherness amongst this Aldershot facet that earlier iterations have maybe lacked. Now they’re prepared for a crack at Stockport as they bid to make the third spherical of the FA Cup for the primary time for the reason that 2012-13 season.
“We know how good a side Stockport are,” Jones continues. “Most of the players have played against them in the last couple of years.
“They’ve bought an extremely good supervisor, and so they’re an enormous membership with a powerful fanbase. It’s not going to be a simple sport and we’ll go into it as underdogs, however there’s a sense across the place that now we have one thing particular occurring, particularly at house.
“That makes it difficult for opposition teams to come to us. With the fans behind us, the players get extra-energised. We like to believe that on our day we can go toe-to-toe with anybody, even a team flying high at the top of League Two.”