HONOUR FOR STAR FORWARD
Plaque for ‘Wyn the Leap’
A FORMER top-flight footballer says he was “humbled” by a ceremony marking the house where he was born on a North Wales estate.
Wyn Davies, 76, was born in Caernarfon and returned to his hometown to unveil a plaque on the wall of 17 Maes Barcer.
The former Wales, Wrexham, Newcastle United, Manchester City and Manchester United forward – known as ‘Wyn the Leap’ for his heading prowess – said the visit made him feel he “should have come home” after his career. He now lives in Bolton in Lancashire.
After the unveiling, he visited former club Caernarfon Town and was there as the Cofis beat Llanelli 3-0.
Mr Davies said: “It was great of them to do this for me. I was a bit nervous about it, but it was very humbling. There were many other good players to come out of Caernarfon, not just me. I am very grateful.
“Perhaps I should have come home when I finished playing with Newcastle. The people are down to earth and it’s home.”
Dafydd Iwan sang Hen, Hen Hiraeth to Mr Davies at the unveiling, and he was presented with a painting by artist Stephen John Owen depicting him in a sporting tussle with Nobby Stiles.
He also enjoyed chatting with fellow former Wales player Malcolm Allen, who also started his career with Deiniolen and played for Newcastle United.
Mr Davies said: “Newcastle was the best club I played for. Humble people and fanatical. Around 40 Newcastle fans still come down every year to see me and another player who played after me, Pat Howard.
“They still sing the song to me that they used to sing on the terraces: ‘Come all without, come all within, you’ve not seen nothing like the Mighty Wyn’ (sung to the tune of Manfred Mann’s the Mighty Quinn).”
In a career spanning 20 years, he played for Newcastle, Manchester City, Manchester United, Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers and Wrexham, to name but six in a 5,550-game career.
Arguably, his finest hour was at Newcastle where, between 1966 and 1971, he notched 40 goals and won the Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the Uefa Cup, now the Europa League.
He says his biggest regret was never winning the FA Cup at Wembley so “all my family and friends could have seen me at a cup final”.
Despite playing with a host of star players, he also shared the pitch with a couple of surprising ones – none more so than former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley.
Both were called up for a match with Caernarfon Reserves at Porthmadog in 1959/60, and Mr Davies went on the following week to make the Canaries’ first 11.
Mr Wigley, as legend goes, was dropped from the reserves and two special careers diverged in very different ways.
However, Mr Davies has never forgotten those roots, according to Alun Roberts, who arranged Saturday’s event.
He said: “I was speaking to Wyn when we were arranging this and Wales were due to play the Republic of Ireland.
“I said: ‘Will you be watching the match?’
“He said: ‘No, I’ll miss Pobl y Cwm.’ He still watches it in Bolton.”
● Ex-footballer Wyn Davies at the special presentation in Caernarfon, where a commemorative plaque marking his birthplace was unveiled Pictures: RICHARD BIRCH
● Wyn with Caernarfon Town’s Nathan Craig and Sean Eardley ● Wyn meets local Newcastle United fan Barry Davies