HE was the golden boy of Burnden Park who slayed the mighty Manchester City with a hat-trick still talked about by fans to this day.

It is 45 years since Jimmy Armfield’s Super Whites humbled a title-chasing City in the League Cup but on Saturday, many of the players who stood by Garry Jones that night did so again to support their former team-mate in his hour of need.

Jones, who is battling cancer, became an instant hero on October 5, 1971, when aged just 20 he helped a Third Division Bolton side inflict a memorable defeat on their neighbours in front of more than 40,000 supporters.

City had won the competition in 1970 and a side containing Francis Lee, Wynn Davies and Freddie Hill were outclassed on a night when Armfield’s young players came of age.

Jones’s ill health prompted the Bolton Wanderers Former Players Association to organise a reunion, presenting Jones with a cheque for £500 made to his chosen charity, The Christie Hospital, and a signed shirt.

Jones, who played more than 200 times for the Whites between 1968 and 1975, was helped on to the pitch at half time by his son Tom and son-in-law Bennett and joined by a number of famous faces, seven of whom played that night.

Sam Allardyce – who had roomed with Jones as a teenager when he first broke into the Bolton team and who has kept in touch with him throughout his chemotherapy treatment – joined the group on the pitch at half time.

Peter Nicholson, Neil Whatmore, John Thomas, Geoff Gaye, Ian Seddon, Paul Hallows, Ralph Wright, Alan Waldron, Roy Greaves, Paul Jones, Mike Walsh, John Byrom, Warwick Rimmer, Syd Farrimond, Peter Lucas, Albert Lord, Stan Walker, Steve Walton and ex-Wigan RL hooker Colin Clarke all congregated to a fine reception from the Wanderers fans at half time.

The group was also joined by another unassuming figure, who only momentarily acknowledged the applause and chants coming his way.

Dean Holdsworth turned down the chance to bask in the attention of his first home game as owner in respect to Jones.

“It was the plan for Dean to come on to the pitch before the game to say thanks to the supporters,” explained Andrew Dean, the club’s matchday organiser and promotions manager. “Once he knew that we had organised this reunion at the last minute he said right away ‘this should be Garry’s day’ and decided to walk on with the group in support.

“It was the same with Big Sam. He knew there would be a lot of attention but this was about supporting Garry and for me that sums up what Bolton Wanderers is all about.”