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Les Jones – the career alongside Reg Cumner

Leslie Jenkin Jones wa born on 1 July 1911 in Aberdare in Aberdare and started playing with Aberdare Athletic.  This is the same club that the subject of my last article Reg Cumner played for (the club also known at times as Aberaman Athletic).  The two players had paths that crossed several times.

Les worked for his father before joining Cardiff in 1929. before moving on to Coventry in 1934.  After that Tottenham made an offer of £7,000 for him, but were outbid by Arsenal and Arsenal signed him on 4 November 1937.

He played his first game just two days later in the 2-1 defeat to Grimsby – so just like Reg Cumner in the following season, he scored on his debut.

But although this was a defeat, Les came into the side as it was turning the season around, for this was the penultimate game in a sequence of 12 in which Arsenal just won two matches.

After Les’ first match the situation for Arsenal did not look particularly promising

Pld W D L F A Pts
1 Brentford 15 3 2 3 11 13 20
2 Chelsea 14 2 1 3 14 17 19
3 Wolverhampton Wndrs 14 2 1 3 6 11 18
4 Preston North End 14 2 2 2 12 9 17
5 Leeds United 14 1 3 2 9 11 17
6 Stoke City 14 2 1 4 5 9 16
7 Bolton Wanderers 14 2 3 2 10 10 16
8 Charlton Athletic 14 2 3 2 8 11 16
9 Sunderland 14 1 2 4 9 19 16
10 Manchester City 14 0 2 5 8 20 15
11 Arsenal 14 1 3 4 10 12 14

Having got his place in the team Les Jones played every game except one through the rest of the season, playing both inside left and inside right, but also putting in a couple of games at right half.  Arsenal won the league.

P W D L F A Pt
1 Arsenal 42 21 10 11 77 44 52
2 Wolverhampton Wndrs 42 20 11 11 72 49 51
3 Preston North End 42 16 17 9 64 44 49
4 Charlton Athletic 42 16 14 12 65 51 46
5 Middlesbrough 42 19 8 15 72 65 46
6 Brentford 42 18 9 15 69 59 45
7 Bolton Wanderers 42 15 15 12 64 60 45
8 Sunderland 42 14 16 12 55 57 44
9 Leeds United 42 14 15 13 64 69 43
10 Chelsea 42 14 13 15 65 65 41
11 Liverpool 42 15 11 16 65 71 41

Les also played in the Charity Shield match as a result of winning the league, as Arsenal beat Preston 2-1 (Drake scored both) but an injury in December 1938 restricted his appearances in his second and final season.  He played in all three games of the aborted 1939/40 season, and played 71 wartime club games and five wartime internationals while serving in the RAF.

As with Reg Cumner his final match was the third round FA Cup tie West Ham United in the FA Cup on 9 January 1946. His last league game was the final game of the 1938/9 season in which Arsenal beat Brentford at home 2-0 to secure fifth place in the league on 6 May 1939.  He played left half  In June 1940, he was one of five Arsenal players who guested for Southampton in a victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage and made 68 wartime appearances for Arsenal during the war years.

He was released on a free transfer in 1946 as football resumed, and went to Swansea as a player coach singing on 22 May 1946 before shortly after moving on to be player manager at Barry Town.  He then played for Brighton and Hove Albion.

In June 1950 he was appointed manager of Scunthorpe United, their first League manager – and promptly recruited his home club and Arsenal friend Reg Cumner. Scunthorpe finished 12th but differences with the board of directors meant he left the club.  There is one report that he then played for Grimsby, but I can’t verify this and suspect this is not right.

Like Reg Cumner, Les Jones was a Wales international, winning four caps to Reg’s three during their time together – but Les’ total number of caps was 11.  Les scored one goal for Wales on 9 November 1938.

Club record (excluding Grimsby, for which I can’t find any details

Season Club League games Goals
1929 Aberdare Athletic
1929/34 Cardiff City 142 31
1934/7 Coventry City 138 70
1937/46 Arsenal 46 3
1946 Swansea Town 2 0
1946/8 Barry Town
1948/9 Brighton & Hove Albion 3 0

Les’ Arsenal record

Season League games Goals
1937/8 28 3
1938/9 18 0
Total 46 3

As with Reg Cumner after this football days we lose track of him and there are no details I can find as to what he did after his life.  The sentimental part of me likes to think Reg and Les got together once or twice just to talk over old days, but who knows.

Various sources give reg dying in January 1981, but there is one source that actually gives a date: 31 December 1980.

The books

The details of the anniversary files are on the home page.

1 comment to Les Jones – the career alongside Reg Cumner

  • nicky

    I remember seeing Les in an Arsenal shirt during WW2. Usually at inside right, with his more Illustrious countryman, Bryn Jones at inside left. Les never failed to perform and frequently outshone Bryn.

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