PICTURE by Sky Sports.
TODAY’S spotlight is one of the greatest footballers to ever have come out of Anglesey. Although born in Bangor, Eifion Williams was raised in Llangoed on Anglesey and laser went on to become a legend of Wales’ top flight.
Having been an apprentice at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where things didn’t quite work out for him, Williams returned to live on Anglesey and signed for Gwynedd side Caernarfon Town, where he would first make a name for himself between 1995 and 1997.
Just as nowadays, back then the Canaries were a League of Wales (now JD Cymru Premier) side. Whilst playing there, Williams was also working as a builder.
And having laid some great goal-scoring foundations by scoring 63 goals in just 76 appearances for Caernarfon, bigger clubs came calling for his signature and he made the switch to the formidable Barry Town ahead of the 1997/98 campaign.
Back then, Barry were the only professional side in the League of Wales and it told as they won four successive titles between 1995 and 1999. When they signed Williams it was for a then-record fee of £25,000. And he went on to more than prove his worth to the club, even netting a UEFA Champions League qualifying goal for the club against Dynamo Kiev.
But it was in the league of Wales that the lethal forward would prove to be at his very best for Barry Town. He once scored four goals in one game to help the club record its biggest ever victory – a 9-0 thrashing of Conwy United.
Williams also netted a ridiculous 40 goals in just 37 matches as Barry went a whole season undefeated to claim the League of Wales title in 1997/98. The year after he notched up 28 goals in 22 matches, taking his overall tally in Wales’ top flight to an impressive 131 goals in 135 matches.
After amassing more than 100 League of Wales goals by March 1999, the English League came swooping in for Williams and he made the switch to Torquay United who broke their record to sign him for £70,000.
And if anyone thought he’d struggle upon crossing the border, they were wrong. Williams mad ehis league debut against Hartlepool United and bagged a hat-trick – becoming the first Torquay player to do so on his debut since Peter Laraman against Barnsley in 1962. This led to now-famous goalkeeper Neville Southall, who was a team-mate of Williams’ at Torquay at the time, stating that the latter could ‘make it all the way to the Premiership’.
But such pressure on his shoulders following such a great display may or may not have led to a downfall in Williams’ career in English football from there on out.
Injuries later affected his form, causing him to play with a broken toe for part of 2000–01, although he still managed nine goals in what was a dismal season for the club. He was placed on the transfer list on 2 November 2001 by mutual consent after finding himself playing mainly as a substitute and left to join Hartlepool United in March 2002 for a fee of £30,000.
Williams made his Hartlepool debut against Bristol Rovers and by the end of the season he had managed five goals in 10 appearances to help Pools make the play-offs. The following season saw Williams play in 45 of Hartlepool’s 46 league matches. Due to the injury of Gordon Watson he became Hartlepool’s first choice striker and finished as Hartlepool’s top scorer, scoring 15 goals in 45 games, helping Hartlepool get automatic promotion in the process.
William’s first season in League One saw him repeat the success of the previous as he participated in 41 games and scored 13 times despite playing right wing for a large majority of the season. These performances led to him being called up to the Welsh national team – then led by Mark Hughes, although he never managed to earn an actual cap. He did however play for Wales’ B team and also for the Ynys Mon mens team once upon a time.
2004/05 saw him spend most of the season on the wing again for Hartelpool, reducing his goal-scoring record greatly as he scored just five goals in 41 appearances. However, he did have yet another big say in their season as he equalise for Hartlepool in their play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday in front of a crowd of 59,808 at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff before they eventually lost out 4–2 after extra time.
The 2005–06 season saw Williams once again playing up front due to injuries to team-mates and he managed to score eight goals.
Williams was released from his Hartlepool United contract at the end of the 2006/07 season, which saw Williams scoring Hartlepool’s goal of the season with a sublime strike in a 3–0 win over arch-rivals Darlington.
Williams would then return to North Wales, signing for League Two side Wrexham in June 2007. He scored two goals on his début in a 3–2 home defeat in a friendly against Liverpool. However, his only official goal for Wrexham came in a 1-0 win over Bury on December 4, 2007 – and he injured his hamstring whilst scoring it, with now Aberystwyth Town captain Marc Williams coming on to replace him.
This turned out to be his final appearance as a professional footballer and he retired during the 2007/08 season.
He briefly came out of retirement in 2008 to play for the now-defunct Jarrow Roofing FC, based near Sunderland. Whilst playing part-time for the Northern League side he began working for Hartlepool Youth Offending Service.
Williams, who turns 45 years old on the 15th of this month, is said to currently still reside in Hartlepool, where he is a P.E. teacher at Dyke House College.
Undoubtedly one of Anglesey’s finest who went on to achieve the dream of playing in the English Football League. It’s just a shame that injuries hampered what could have been an even better career for Williams I’m sure!
Williams’ full career record was as follows;
Caernarfon Town (1995-1997): 63 goals in 75 appearances
Barry Town United (1997-1999): 68 goals in 60 appearances
Torquay United (1999-2002): 24 goals in 107 appearances
Hartelpool United (2002-2007): 50 goals in 208 appearances
Wrexham (2007-2008) 1 goal in 13 appearances
Total: 206 goals in 463 appearances