Related to: 'The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager'

Headline

Bomb

Adam Jones
Authors:
Adam Jones

In rugby, there are the Flash Harrys and the Glory Boys: the fly-halves who run, kick and dazzle; the scrum-halves who nip and dart; the wingers who step and glide. These are the players who get the crowd on their feet, who set stadiums abuzz. But they only get to do these things because other, less glorified figures do all of the donkey work. Adam Jones is one such figure. And for a decade he was one of the world's best. On many occasions when George North or Shane Williams were careering under the posts to score a try, and the crowd was engulfed in rapturous joy, Adam Jones would be hauling himself up from the turf, spitting blood and mud, and massaging his aching neck. He hadn't scored the try; but more often than not it was his graft and strength which had made it. This is the story of 'Bomb': the self-effacing manual labourer from the Swansea Valley who traded laying paving slabs for running out in some of the world's most imposing sporting citadels. He rose to the pinnacle of his sport, winning virtually everything there was to be won: Grand Slams, Six Nations Championships, Lions tours, Pro12 titles. In a nation of rugby heroes, Adam Jones has become a legend. Only six Welshmen can say they've won three Grand Slams. He is one of them: not just as a bit-part player, but as the beating heart of the most successful squad in Welsh rugby history. His was one of the first names on the team sheet. He was - literally and metaphorically - the cornerstone of this Welsh side. In his autobiography, Jones reveals exactly what goes on in the murky depths of the front row: the tricks, the techniques, the physical and psychological warfare; and the mental fortitude it takes to endure in one of the hardest positions, in one of the world's toughest contact sports.

Alex Higgins

Born in Belfast in 1949, Alex Higgins turned professional at the age of 22. A year later he won the World Championship and repeated his victory in 1982. He has also won the Benson and Hedges Masters twice (1978 and 1981) and the UK Championship once (1983). He lives in Belfast.

Andrés Iniesta

Andres Iniesta is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers of his generation.After graduating from La Masia, the fabled Barcelona youth academy, Iniesta made his first-team debut in 2002, aged 18. He became a regular in the 2004-05 season and has remained in the side ever since, helping Barca to an amazing string of trophies, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.At international level he has well over a century of caps, and has twice won the European Championships. In 2010, he scored the winning goal to hand Spain their first World Cup victory.

Ben Stokes

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1991, Ben Stokes moved to Cumbria with his family at the age of 11. He made his debut for Durham CCC in 2009, and just two years later pulled on an England shirt for the first time.The highlights of his explosive England career to date have included scoring the fastest ever Test century at Lord's (against New Zealand in May 2015) and England's fastest ever Test double-century (against South Africa at Cape Town in January 2016). His bowling spell of 6-36 at Trent Bridge in August 2015 helped England to regain the Ashes. He has also played for the Melbourne Renegades in Australia's Big Bash League.He has a partner and two young children.

Colin Shindler

Colin Shindler is a leading TV writer and producer. He was responsible for the series Lovejoyand Madson, as well as the film Busterand won a BAFTA for his production of A Little Princess. His first book, MANCHESTER UNITED RUINED MY LIFE, was a big bestseller and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize; and his second, FATHERS, SONS AND FOOTBALL, also hit the bestseller list. He is the author of two novels.

Dietmar Hamann

Born in Waldsassen in Germany in 1973, Dietmar Hamann played professional football for Wacker Munich, Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Milton Keynes Dons. In club football, Hamann is much decorated, having won two Bundesliga titles, two UEFA Cups, two FA Cups and a Champions League winners` medal. At international level, he won 62 caps for his native Germany and has a 2002 World Cup runners-up medal for his efforts. In 2010 Hamann became player/coach at Milton Keynes Dons, and in 2011 he joined Leicester City as a first team coach. He has recently been appointed as Manager of Stockport County.

James Allen

James Allen is familiar to millions in the UK and around the English-speaking world as the lead commentator for ITVs Formula One coverage. He has worked in the sport as a journalist and broadcaster since 1990. James replaced Murray Walker as the voice of motorsport in 2001 and, through his extensive work for the Financial Times, has established himself as one of the most authoritative writers in Formula One. In 1995 he co-wrote Nigel Mansells bestselling autobiography THE PEOPLE`S CHAMPION.

Jimmy Bullard

East London-born Jimmy Bullard joined the club he supported as a boy, West Ham, from non-League Gravesend & Northfleet in 1999. He never played a first team game for The Hammers and moved to Peterborough United on a free transfer in 2001, where he started to make a name for himself under manager Barry Fry. A move to Wigan Athletic followed in 2003 and Bullard played his part in securing promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and a League Cup final appearance in 2006. He left The Latics to join Fulham but his time there was blighted by injury, as was his spell at Hull City, the club he joined in 2009. Brief spells at Ipswich Town and Milton Keynes Dons ensued, but Bullard brought his career to an end by announcing his retirement in October 2012. As far as international football was concerned, Bullard was called into the England squad in August 2008 for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia, but did not feature in either match.In September 2016 he was appointed manager of Leatherhead.

John Greig

Edinburgh-born John Greig played a total of 877 games for Rangers - 755 competitive - between 1961 and 1978 and scored 120 goals. He won five league titles, six Scottish Cups, four League Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1972. He was captain of Rangers when they beat Moscow Dynamo in the final in Barcelona. He also won 44 Scotland caps. He became manager of Rangers in 1978 in succession to Jock Wallace but never enjoyed the same level of success he had as a player. He later returned to Rangers to work in public relations and was recently appointed to the board. Voted the greatest ever Ranger and known as "Ledge" - in reference to legendary status, his statue now stands outside Ibrox.

Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson became England's youngest international for 71 years when he made his debut at 18 in March 1998. He has since won 70 caps for his country and is the leading point-scorer in test rugby. In the 2003 World Cup he scored the drop goal that won the tournament. He endured a succession of injuries that kept him out of international action for over three years but he returned to kick the England rugby team to the final of the 2007 World Cup. He has also won five British Lions caps. He was awarded the MBE in January 2003, and the OBE a year later.

Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio has been a Wasps player all his club career, signing in 1990 and becoming captain in 1995 for 12 years until his retirement in 2008. He has won a hat-trick of Premiership titles and was also a member of the triumphant England Sevens team which won the World Cup at Murrayfield in 1993. He has captained his country and is regarded as one of the world's greatest ever back-row forwards - he was the only player to play in every minute of every match during the victorious 2003 World Cup campaign. He has won 85 caps for England and 3 Lions caps.

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson has been a sports feature writer for the Daily Telegraph since 1995 before which he was the cricket correspondent of the Independent. His unique writing style has brought him many nominations and several awards, including the Sports Council's Sport Feature Writer of the Year. He collaborated with David Gower on his bestselling autobiography.

Paul Gascoigne

Gazza made his league debut for Newcastle in 1984-85, moving to Spurs in 1988 in a huge £2 million deal. He was one of England's key figures in the 1990 World Cup, and moved to Lazio in Italy in 1992. He then played for Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton, Burnley and briefly in China. He won 57 caps.

Phil Tufnell

Phil Tufnell, aka "Tuffers", played 42 Test matches and 20 One-Day Internationals for England between 1990 and 1997. Following retirement in 2002, Tufnell became a hugely popular TV personality. He was the winner of ITV1's "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" in 2003, and enjoyed a long run in BBC1's "Strictly Come Dancing" in 2009. Current broadcasting commitments include being team captain on BBC1's "A Question of Sport" and regular features on BBC1's "The One Show". He remains a star turn on Radio 4's iconic "Test Match Special" show.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez began his football coaching career at Real Madrid before going on to manage Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura and Tenerife. But it was at Valencia where he really made his name, managing the club to the Spanish La Liga title twice - in 2002 and 2004. Appointed manager of Liverpool in 2004, in Rafa's first year in charge he delivered the Champions League trophy, courtesy of an astonishing second-half come-back against AC Milan that came to be known as 'The Miracle of Istanbul'. His time at Anfield also brought four consecutive seasons in the Premier League top 4, the European Super Cup in 2005, and the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2006. But it was the Champions League record which marked him out as an absolutely outstanding operator - he won it once, finished runner-up once, and reached another semi-final and another quarter-final. Benitez left Liverpool to join Inter Milan in 2010, where he won the Italian Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, before he departed Italy in 2011.

Richard Purden

Richard Purden grew up in Edinburgh but with family roots in Limerick and the west of Scotland he always felt a strong connection to Irish literature, culture and of course, Celtic FC. While studying at the University of Stirling he began to write arts reviews for student magazine Brig and on graduating he was first published in the Celtic View, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, The Irish Examiner and The Irish Post. More recently he has contributed to Four Four Two, the Sunday Mail and the award-winning Herald Saturday magazine.

Rio Ferdinand

Born in Peckham, Ferdinand signed for West Ham as a schoolboy, turning professional at the age of 17. He played 158 games for the Hammers before transferring to Leeds United in November 2000, with whom he reached the Champions League semi-final in 2001. Following his star performance in the 2002 World Cup, he joined Manchester United. He made his England debut in November 1997 and was one of the team's best performers in the 2006 World Cup. He has won 72 caps.

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce was born in Dudley in the West Midlands in 1954, and supported Wolverhampton Wanderers as a boy.Between 1973 and 1992, he played for Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland, Millwall, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion and Limerick.His coaching and managerial career has been even longer. As a manager he has served at the helm of Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Sunderland. He kept Sunderland in the Premier League in the 2015-2016 season.As a player, Allardyce won the Second Division with Bolton in 1978. As a manager, he won the First Division in Ireland with Limerick in 1992, the Third Division with Notts County in 1998, the First Division Play-off final with Bolton in 2001 (where he also reached the League Cup final in 2004), and the Championship Play-off final with West Ham in 2012. In addition, he has won the Premier League Manager of the Month award on six separate occasions.

Sir Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart was born in Dumbarton. In the early 60s he dominated the British club and European F3 racing scenes and in 1965 he partnered Graham Hill in F1. At Monza that season he scored the first of his 27 Grand Prix victories. Teaming up with Ken Tyrrell in 1968 he went on to win three World Championships - 1969, '71 and '73. He retired from the circuit after competing in 99 F1 races. Since then he has built a hugely successful international business career. In 1997, Jackie entered the Stewart Grand Prix Racing team into F1, securing second place at Monaco in its fifth race and in September 99 a win at the Nurburgring. He was awarded an OBE in 1972 and a knighthood in 2001 and is actively involved in numerous charitable trusts.

Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce began his career at non-League Wealdstone, before signing for Coventry City. Two years later he joined Nottingham Forest and stayed there for 12 years, eventually becoming player-manager. In 1997 he moved to Newcastle United, and continued his career at West Ham United. He won 78 England caps.