Brian Little told us to be prepared for some of our favourites to leave, and this morning I had to break the news to my ten-year-old lad that his favourite player is on his way.
Ben's attachment to Mark Jones is possibly historical; his first season watching football coincided with Jones' annus mirabilis, scoring nearly twenty goals from midfield in a mediocre side. In fact, maybe they weren't even that; as we slipped off the play-off pace two years ago, dropping points hand over fist, I wondered what would have happened to us if Jones hadn't scored all those goals. In the following two seasons we've found out.
Our failure to make the most of Jones' talent is a huge factor in our demise. There's no question that his form has not held up, and bearing that in mind the talk of Championship sides sniffing around him is interesting; could his agent be looking to work up an interest? It seems to me that Jones' shy personality and, more importantly, a tendency towards self-criticism, have worked against him. His lack of form looks to have played on his mind, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's no doubt that he's a whole-hearted competitor, and that he desperately wanted to succeed and to help the club. Perhaps he tried too hard. Out of form or not, the question of whether he should still have been in our midfield ahead of Chris Llewellyn is a reasonable one though.