Goalkeeper Paul Jones played six years for Exeter City and won promotion twice before moving on to clubs such as Peterborough, Crawley and Portsmouth. Much later he returned on loan as emergency cover and sat on the bench for two dozen games without playing.
Paul teamed-up with Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe, his former youth team manager at Leyton Orient, when he signed for the Grecians on loan for the rest of the season in November 2004. The deal was later made permanent when City paid a five-figure sum. Paul was soon to make his Grecians debut as substitute at Dagenham & Redbridge in December 2004 when he immediately saved a penalty. Then, after just a few games, he was voted Player of the Round after his performance in the 3rd round FA Cup tie at Manchester United in January 2005.
After such a bright start, which continued into 2005/06, Paul spent most of 2006/07 vying with Martin Rice for the goalkeeper’s jersey. In what was a surprise at the time, Paul was named for the Wembley play-off final against Morecambe after sitting out the semi-finals. City lost but Paul became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty at the ‘new’ Wembley. Now, with Martin Rice leaving for Torquay, Paul contested the ‘number one spot’ with Andy Marriott during 2007/08 and it was only after a late run of games that Paul kept his place to keep a clean-sheet in City’s victorious 2008 play-off win over Cambridge United.
By this time Paul had agreed a new contract and, with City back in the Football League, he played all 46 League matches in 2008/09 - and was named player of the season - as City won a second-successive promotion.
Paul moved to Peterborough United on loan in January 2011 with the deal made permanent in June 2011. After 35 league appearances for the Posh he moved on to Crawley Town and later Portsmouth. Then, with a move to Norwich City in 2016, Paul effectively cast himself into the role of back-up ‘keeper not only at Carrow Road but his later clubs too.
This, it transpired, was to include Exeter City for whom Paul joined for a second time on 4 January 2018 on loan for the remainder of the season. Acting as back-up to Christy Pym, Paul’s presence allowed James Hamon to be farmed out to gain experience. Paul was to sit on the bench for 21 league games, an FA Cup tie and three play-off games including the final almost ten years after his 2008 Wembley triumph.
Signing next for Fleetwood Town in August 2018, and then moving on to Sheffield Wednesday in August 2019, Paul finished his professional career in August 2020 having played over 400 league and cup games.
After a year away from football, and living in Norwich, Paul joined King’s Lynn Town in June 2021. He was ever-present during his first season and continued to play regularly during 2022/23.
League (inc 4 play-offs) 185; Cups 16 (201)