On this day Bryn Jones was hit by a policeman during a riot after a match in Brazil against Vasco de Gama, and the resultant injury curtailed his Arsenal career.
On August 4th 1938 George Allison, the Arsenal manager created the British transfer record in signing Bryn Jones from Wolverhampton, for £14,600. So outrageous did the fee appear (and what with this being Arsenal) questions were asked in Parliament.
And this transfer record stayed far longer than most (not least because of the second world war) and was not broken again until September 1947 when Billy Steel went from Morton to Derby.
Bryn’s transfer was the second time running that Arsenal had broken the record, for the previous transfer record was David’s Jacks transfer from Bolton to Arsenal in October 1928 for £14,500.
Arsenal did not appear in the transfer records list again until December 1971 when Bertie Mee transferred Alan Ball from Everton to Arsenal for £220,000 in what turned out to be a failed attempt to keep the Double Winners at their high standards.
Bryn Jones started well, scoring three in his first four games, but then that was it – he couldn’t score again in the 30 games played that season. Perhaps the mantle of succeeding Alex James was too much for him – and certainly, the press soon got on his back. The media, then as now, love nothing more than a big-money Arsenal transfer not living up to the media’s hype.
In “Forward Arsenal”, Bernard Joy (another Arsenal man who played alongside Bryn) wrote…
|“||Do we write Bryn Jones down as a gamble that failed, or would he have been a success eventually? The outbreak of war in September 1939 prevented us from ever finding the complete answer. There were signs before then that, as James had done, he was weathering the bad patch which always seems to follow a change of style from an attacking to a foraging inside-forward. […] My own view, however, is that Jones’s modesty was the barrier to achieving the key role Arsenal had intended for him. He could not […] regard the spotlight as a challenge to produce his best; all the time it irked him, making him self-conscious and uneasy.||”|
Bryn Jones served with the Royal Artillery in the war and aged 34, made 26 appearances in the first post-war season and scored just 1 goal. In his final season he played 7, and scored 1.
After leaving Arsenal he coached at Norwich from 1949 to 1951 and then ran a newsagent’s shop in Highbury. He died in October 1985.
Henry Norris at the Arsenal: There is a full index to the series here.
Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever
Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.
100 Years: 100 Years in the First Division