LEEDS fans’ abusive chanting towards Dave Jones at Hillsborough opened an old wound for the Wednesday manager.
He has suffered similar treatment in the past from opposing supporters since his battle against child-abuse charges - even though he left court 12 years ago without a stain on his character.
Jones’ outburst against fans whom he described as “vile animals” last Friday came from a man who suffered the ordeal of having to fight to clear his name against false accusations made by convicted criminals, stemming from his time as a care worker at a home for youngsters with behavioural problems.
His innocence was proved emphatically but for years after that he has occasionally had to listen to some rival fans calling him a paedophile.
Jones calls such supporters “low-life scum” in his autobiography, No Smoke No Fire , and his history explains why he took such great offence at Leeds fans’ chanting last Friday.
He says in the book that some fans of other clubs have been “determined to get a rise out of me by chanting my name as a paedophile”.
He tried to block it out but his family heard the tormemtors “spewing out their filthy bile”.
He recalls one such incident at Ipswich at Christmas. “If they had been singing racist chants they would quite rightly have been thrown out, but chants about what I was meant to have done went unpunished.
“That was by no means an isolated incident.”
He recalls a game at Nottngham Forest a few years ago: “I suffered horrible chants for over an hour, yet when I reacted by making a gesture back to the supporters, one of the stewards told me to stop winding up the fans.”
Jones also experienced abuse within hearing of his family, at Burnley, where stewards refused to intervene, and the then Wolves academy director Chris Evans, later to become Wednesday assistant manager, jumped into the crowd to confront the offender.
He says that the behaviour is usually by a minority, sometimes only one or two people: “I have to wonder why the stewards never intervene; why these people are never ejected. They are just low-life scum, in my opinion.”
Once when Leeds were on the way to being relegated from the Championship, he endured “vile abuse” for the best part of 80 minutes.
He eventually reacted by pointing his finger down as if to indicate the club were getting relegated, and then received a letter of complaint from a female Leeds fan who said she was disgusted by his action.
He phoned the woman and said: “What about all the abuse that I received? Her pathetic reply was ‘well, it was just football banter’.
“I replied ‘no it wasn’t, it’s just vile, and the people they are abusing are my wife and children who have to sit there and listen to it. So think about that. Don’t tell me it’s football banter.’”
Jones went through “mental torture” after the accusations were made against him. Regarding sexual abuse against a child as the “most evil crime imaginable,” he felt humiliated and angry and was determined to prove that his accusers were lying: two were in jail for robbery, another was an arsonist.
He strongly criticises the police and the Crown Prosecution Service in the book and alleges that financial inducements were made to prisoners to testify against him.
Before the jury was sworn in, two alleged victims withdrew from giving evidence.
One complainant, the armed robber, claimed in the witness box that Jones had abused him, but Jones could prove that he was on holiday at the time - and the accuser ended up admitting in court that his story was fabricated. Another key prosecution witness declined to leave his prison cell to go to court.
A long list of defence witnesses were not needed: the prosecution case collapsed, and all the charges were thrown out. The judge congratulated Jones on his “restraint and dignity” and said:
“No doubt there are people who will think there is no smoke without fire. I cannot do anything about that, except to say that such an attitude would be wrong.
“No wrongdoing whatsoever on your part has been established.”