Plaque for ‘Wyn the Leap’

Caernarfon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jez Hem­ming

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

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