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Hendon Green & Gold 35 - Jon Daly

Greensnet Editor
Sat 18 Jul 2015, 10:07

The subject of this feature is another of the many players who had more than one spell at Hendon, midfielder Jon Daly.

The signature of Jon Daly, in autumn 1992, wasn't down only to one of his closest friends in football, Barry Blackman - who had been with the Greens since the start of the season. Club manager Barrie Williams was far too astute to sign someone on the say-so of a player - but he did have a staunch ally. Daly and Blackman had been teammates at Croydon when that club had the best youth policy in south London non-League football. Jon first joined Hendon from Dulwich Hamlet, having previously played for Croydon, Tooting & Mitcham United and Whyteleafe. In May 1991, he was in the Sutton United team which played Wealdstone in the final senior match at Lower Mead; a decade later he was in the Hendon team when they played the final senior match at Enfield's Southbury Road ground – a unique if ghoulish double.

Jon was a powerful attacking midfielder with a good eye for goal, as a strike rate of a goal every 7.8 matches proves. His strength and fitness were excellent attributes, especially at Claremont Road around the turn of the century, when the pitch was in an awful state. Although not the fastest player around, he had the happy knack of appearing in the right place at the right time; his positional sense was also displayed on the odd occasion when he played in the middle of the back four. Jon's debut, against Basingstoke at Claremont Road, ended in a goalless stalemate, and his first goal came in a 2-2 draw at Wokingham in his fourth match for the Greens.

Hendon rather went off the rails in the second half of the season; Williams departed in the spring of 1993 and Bobby Makin took over for the rest of the campaign. Jon netted all of Hendon’s last three goals, but none were in a winning cause and only one earned as much as a point. Peter Taylor took over in May 1993. It might have been a new dawn at Claremont Road - except Taylor left at the beginning of December and at the end of the month, chairman Victor Green pulled out too. He installed his wife Elaine as his replacement, with a massively reduced budget. Almost immediately, the team broke up and Jon moved on. He played for Kingstonian and St Albans before, in the summer of 1998, Hendon manager Frank Murphy, re-signed Jon for a four-figure transfer fee.

He joined a team which had been installed as pre-season favourites for the title, based on a great finish to the previous campaign. Those notions were disabused on the opening day when newly-promoted Hampton won 3-1 at The Beveree, but Hendon were a potent force with Paul Whitmarsh and Junior Lewis amassing 70 goals between them. Jon had one of his quieter seasons in terms of goals with only five in 58 appearances, but he did win both Middlesex Senior and Full Members Cup winners medals, after defeats of Wembley at Enfield and Worthing at Sutton. He also appeared in the FA Cup run to the first round proper, where Notts County won in a replay at Meadow Lane after a goalless draw at boggy Claremont Road. But Hendon under-performed in the Ryman League, and managed only a disappointing 13th place, 20 points away from both second top and second bottom.

In 1999-2000 Jon's performances earned him the Supporters Association Player-of-the-Year award - an honour he achieved at his last three clubs. He missed only one league match and finished with 55 appearances, including in the 2–0 defeat in the FA Cup second round at Blackpool. This was Jon's last full season as a Hendon player although he did play in the first and last games of the 2000-01 season. He had joined the Metropolitan Police – the third serving officer at Hendon, alongside on-loan keeper Richard Wilmot and defender Paul Towler. Jon's 36 appearances were his fewest in any of his last 12 senior seasons, during which time he played 617 times. Jon's final appearance at Claremont Road came four days after his 38th birthday, 24 September 2005, with his final club, Metropolitan Police FC, in an FA Cup tie the Blues won after a replay. He did not retire until April 2008, having - almost certainly - appeared in more than 1,000 senior matches. Oh yes, in December 2013, Jon played and scored for Met Police Vets!

Joined Hendon: October 1992; Summer 1998. Left Hendon: January 1994; May 2001
Appearances: 203 (198 starts, 5 as a substitute). Goals: 26
Supporters Association Player of the Year: 1999-2000
Medals won: Full Members Cup: 1998-99; Middlesex Senior Cup 1998-99