11th July 2007
Thomas Jones, signed as an unknown Northern Irishman, is making a name for himself at AS Monaco.
The attacking midfielder has already played for his country, scoring a brace against Liechtenstein in their 4-1 win. At Monaco, however, he is quickly becoming a legend since signing from Linfield last year.
He has had most of the European media on his back, suggesting how he is going places. AS Monaco fans already love him, as he is pretty much scoring in every game and getting loads more assists. He could well be one of the bargains of the century, joining for free. And at the age of 17, he may develop into one of the world's greatest.
11th July 2010
Thomas Jones has just had one of the games of his life. Four goals, two assists against Lyon the other day. This is only going to stir up interest in him among Spain and England.
It will be a massive injustice should he not make it to the top...
I am Tom. If you live in France, you know me as that wonderkid who didn't make it.
I went on to play for Northern Ireland 25 times. I only scored 7, however, as the new manager played me on the left wing for him. I'm not a left winger, by the way.
It was on Northern Ireland duty that my career ended at the age of 22. Against England, a collision with David Bentley left me needing spinal surgery. I was a legend at Monaco, and I was so sad when I had to leave.
But it was as I left the training grounds there for the last time that I realised the two options that was now presented to me. I could be bitter about it for the rest of my life and never look at a football field again due to a mix of jealousy, sadness and general emotional pain, or I could accept what happened and try my hand at something else. It is in my character to do the latter, I have done it before when I used to play rugby.
So I decided to work on coaching skills, and I didn't stop studying for 2 full years. I had gone straight for a Continental Pro License, I think there aren't many people who have done that. And, surpassing the expectations of everybody, I passed. I now have the skills to coach at the biggest teams in Europe.
But if I wanted to be a manager, and I did, then I would need tactics and I would have to wait until a good job became available. The tactics came first. I had moved to the Netherlands, and I pretty much know off by heart how Ajax and Feyenoord play, who came 1st and 2nd respectively. Now, I need to find a job.
It took a year or so, but the new Russian owners of AS Monaco who showed up just before I got injured, had sacked Leonardo Jardim just this year. It seemed like a long shot, but I still tried to get the job.
They said that they didn't know how good a manager I was, but I was still a legend and if the fans hear that I was rejected as manager they would get angry. So I am the manager of AS Monaco.
That is my story so far, and I hope to tell you all about my second time at the Stade Louis II.