“I’m just trying to get into golf,” says Mark Jones, who admits that he has “put on a couple of pounds” since Christmas.
That was when the former Wrexham midfielder stopped playing football. He has not officially retired, but there are no plans to continue.
“I finished with Airbus because I couldn’t keep fit,” he says. “That’s the reason I’ve packed it in. I don’t know if you’d call it retired but I don’t play anymore.”
Jones, who joined Wrexham as a teenager, is still only 33. He spent six years at the Racecourse in his first spell, departing in 2008 after the club’s relegation from the Football League.
“I’m from Wrexham and I played for Wrexham, so I’m proud of that,” he says. “It would’ve been nice if there were more good times than bad times. But it was brilliant to be a part of. It was when I was at my peak, when I was playing well, so it’s something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life.
“I’m from the area so it’s a club close to my heart. When I was at the club we had some really good players: Carlos Edwards, Darren Ferguson; it was a really good team. It was nice to be a part of it.”
Wrexham fans who watched that team will have memories of Jones’ tendency to launch shots from distance, often successfully. A technically gifted midfielder, he quickly made the spectacular his trademark.
After leaving Wrexham, Jones joined Rochdale. But he stayed for just one season and returned to the Racecourse.
“It was a nice change for me,” he says. “I was so used to being around Wrexham that it was a nice change to go to Rochdale and see a different team, a different mentality. But I didn’t play many games.”
Jones’ impressive form earned him a Wales call up. He earned two caps for his country, an achievement he remains proud of. “The first time was at the Racecourse, so I had all my family and friends and it was a proud one for me. I’m one of the people who’s played for my country and it’s something that I cherish.”
Since 2010, Jones has played in the Welsh Premier League, first with Bala and then with Airbus.
“I could’ve stayed in the Conference when I left Wrexham but I wasn’t really interested,” he admits. “A couple of my mates were playing for Bala so that’s the reason I joined.
“I just wanted to get back to enjoying football. I just wanted to be comfortable with my surroundings.
“I had seven really good years at Bala. It’s such a nice club, the people there were brilliant and I fully enjoyed it. I’ve not got a bad word to say about Bala.”
Jones now plans to use his time to return more regularly to the Racecourse. He attended last weekend’s home defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge, but remains optimistic that Wrexham will eventually return to the Football League.
“I’m looking forward to coming back now and seeing a few games,” he says. “There’s still a lot of familiar faces. It’s the same people doing all the work around the club. It’s still a welcoming club. It’s a family-oriented club. And it’s a top club.
“At the end of the day, Wrexham are the biggest team in the conference. It’s just a difficult league to get out of. But I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later.”