JOEY JONES was never going to stop his famous-fist salute - even after he was hauled before the Football Association for claims he had incited a riot at a Chelsea game.

“I did it all the time at Liverpool and never got into any trouble but at Chelsea it was different,” said Jones, who has as much pride for the Blues fans as they do for him.

Fans in The Shed End loved players like Jones, who would regularly give opposing players the Chelsea boot as well as sending the natives crazy with his now legendary gesture.

“I had to go before the FA John Neal and chairman Ken Bates came to say words for me and I was accused of inciting a riot at a game and warned not to do it again or I’d be fined and banned,” said Jones, who spent just under three years at Stamford Bridge, playing almost 100 games.

Life wasn’t easy for Jones, who originally didn’t want to uproot from Wrexham but the Racecourse cash had run-out and John Neal, the former Reds manager who nurtured him during his early days as a professional, got his man for a steal - just £34,000.

He was sent off on his debut and because he decided to stay in Wrexham, he commuted to West London - every day of the week!

“For 18 months I did that,” recalled Jones. “I’d leave home five o’clock every morning. The training ground was near Heathrow Airport in those days. I’d finish training and then drive straight back home.

“Then Mickey Thomas signed for Chelsea and we shared the driving. He was living in Rhyl so he had to leave home at four.

“The only night we stayed over was a Friday night for a home game on Saturday. I couldn’t see many Premier League players doing that now.

“Although I did stay in the ground one night - Mickey kipped there on a few more occasions than me because he knew someone who had the keys.”

Thomas and Jones had long been the best of pals by the time Neal - the man who took them from the North Wales coast to Wrexham in the early Seventies - reunited them at Chelsea with another ex-Reds youngster, Eddie Niedzwiecki.

“I remember the first day I met Mickey,” said Jones. “We were both picked for North Wales Schoolboys under 15s. I was on the bus already and we picked up players on the way.

“Mickey was one of them and he sat next to me. He had his school uniform on and I remember looking at his tie. It was red and grey and in the grey bits he’d written Everton all over it with pen.

“Obviously I was Liverpool but we hit it off straight away and been best mates ever since. He’s like a brother to me.

“And bringing Mickey in was another masterstroke from John Neal.

“At the time we weren’t very good and John knew that. We had to win the last game against Bolton Wanderers to stay up otherwise we would have been relegated to the Third Division.

“We won the game and the following season we went up as Second Division champions and by then we had the likes of Kerry Dixon and David Speedie in the side.

“There were also good men still around. Players like Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris was one but his career was coming to an end.

“He was one of football’s hardmen but then tackling was allowed back then. Me and Ron would never have got away with things now we used to do in the old days.

“I’ didn’t really consider myself a hardman - not with my socks rolled down by ankle and legs that looked like two pieces of string coming down from my shorts.

“I never used to wear shin-pads, didn’t like them. But then we had to wear them. I used to put them in my socks with a bit of tape but I never wore tie-ups - they just never felt right.

“Not that it stopped me making tackles. I liked a tackle and I know the fans like to see a good tackle. I supposed that’s why I like Tommy Smith so much.

“If Tommy Smith said he was going to get you, then Tommy Smith would get you!”

Back to the Bridge and Jones described Chelsea as a ‘great club’ and that he still keeps in touch with a lot of fans he made down there 36 years ago.

“Some of them have said why don’t you come down but I’ve never been back since,” added Jones, who had one more season in the top flight with Chelsea before surprisingly being sold for £1,000 more than Neal had forked out him when he joined Huddersfield at the start of the 1985/86 season.

“I’ve got strong ties with Chelsea. I loved the fans. I think they could see that I was more of a fan who just loved to be playing football

“Some fans I speak to say they preferred it back in the 80s than they do now because they felt closer to the players.”