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THE footballing world has been remembering legendary Welsh goalkeeper Dai Davies whose death was announced on social media earlier today.
The 72-year-old had played for Swansea City, Everton, Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers and Bangor City and had been capped 52 times for Wales.
Born in Glanamman, Davies played schoolboy and youth football with local clubs Ammanford United, and then Ammanford Town, before becoming a professional footballer at the age of 21 in 1969. He signed for Swansea Town immediately after leaving training college.
In December 1970, he joined Everton, who were First Division champions at the time, for a fee of £40,000. Davies remained at Goodison Park for seven seasons, playing 82 times for the Toffees.
He then joined Wrexham in 1977, where, in his first season with the club, the Reds experienced their lowest number of defeats in a season on their way to winning the Football League Division Three title. Four years later, Davies would return to play for Swansea once more.
After two more seasons with the Swans, the goalkeeper moved on to Tranmere Rovers as a player-coach and despite calling time on his career in the mid 80’s, he later returned to the game to play for Bangor City in the 1985/86 European Cup Winners Cup.
After that, Davies returned to the Racecourse with Wrexham, where he won a Welsh cup medal – also in 1985/86 – but did not play and further league matches for the club. All in all, he played 199 matches for Wrexham, conceding 210 goals (an average of just 1.06 per game) and kept 63 clean sheets.
For Wales, he Davies made his international debut against Hungary on April 16, 1975. 28 of the 52 caps he had earned for his country came whilst he was with Wrexham. His final appearance in a Wales shirt came on June 2, 1982 against France.
Davies, who was also a druid having been initiated into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards (Gorsedd y Beirdd Ynys Prydain) in 1978, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer last August.
Many football clubs and many players have paid tribute to the great man via social media throughout the day.
Fellow Welsh goalkeeping royalty Neville Southall wrote: “RIP Dai Davies. My friend, a gentleman, an inspirational guy and a proper Welsh man, a great mentor and a top keeper.”
Wrexham legend Mickey Thomas wrote: “Sad news hearing the passing of Dai Davies, my former team mate at Wrexham and Wales. A great character and footballer who will be sadly missed. RIP.”
S4C football show Sgorio, who Davies had worked for, also paid tribute saying: “The Sgorio team are deeply saddened to hear the news of Dai Davies’ passing.
“Dai was a crucial member of the team for many years – an honest and astute pundit, a fantastic mentor and a friend to all members of the production. Our deepest condolences to the whole family.”