Richard Jones - Leader of Men, Scorer of Great Goals, And Not a Chef.
I have played football with Rich since I was about 6 and he'd have been even younger. It was always clear that he was a very talented footballer in the making, easily showing up his brother's older mates.
A complete footballer. Strong in the air and tackle combined with great feet and an exceptional range of passing, he could play anywhere and affect the game. And he did, playing as a striker, midfielder, and defender during his 300 Playford matches. Even weighing in with a hat-trick from centre back. As a winger myself for most of our games played together, and I know I speak for Jem Vince on the opposite wing during that time, you knew that if you made the right run then Rich would find you with a raking diagonal pass over 60 or 70 yards. Unfortunately assists weren't recorded till a bit later but I wouldn't mind betting that Rich would be well up there in the assists department.
Rich also brought an edge with the way he played and a strong voice to the dressing room and on the field. Something that the team was desperately short of, and every team talk he would tell us how quiet and too nice as a team we were (Something that I personally never tired of hearing). It was no surprise that he was quickly made captain and later manager.
Who can forget when Playford went viral? The "no sponsor no kit" campaign, that got us playing a pre-season friendly in our pants on Sky Sports, was his brainchild and executed brilliantly. It put Playford on the map (Although I'm sure 95% of players still have no idea where Playford is) and it attracted a sponsorship deal so large that the clubs future is secure for many centuries.
Richard also has a very memorable email address "Cheese_Scones@popularemailprovider.com", obvious to most that this was an amusing rhyme with his surname. Not obvious to James Holland! James assumed, based on this email address, that Richard's occupation must've been that of a Chef. Much amusement ensued when this was discovered but, disappointingly, the nickname "The Chef" was to be short-lived.
What I remember most about Rich though are the absolute thunder-bastard goals he would score with some regularity. His first against Rust & Kemp was some way to open your account for a club. His best being the goal straight from kick off against Kitchner Tavs reserves, from my memory it was still rising as it hit the back of the net. Numerous other long-range efforts and free kicks interspersed between the penalties and towering headers.
Some legends are more legendary than others and Richard comfortably fits into the "more legendary" category. Congratulations and enjoy your retirement, Rich.