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Gordon Davies
17 Apr 2021, Saturday

Gordon Davies Wrexham.jpg

Let’s start at the very beginning. Gordon was born in 1955 and was eleven years old when he played in the very first Georgetown squad in 1966. That was when I first came to witness at first hand Gordon’s prodigious talent. He dazzled everyone with his exceptional technique and skill even on a frozen pitch early on a Saturday morning in Butetown in the Under 14’s Rhymney Valley League.

On a late summer evening in Bargoed, a group of elderly gentlemen who were on the sidelines watching, were overheard saying that “Gordon Davies is the best schoolboy player that we have ever seen play on this ground”. They were obviously extremely good judges of the potential of a future Welsh International.

Before we even started to see the development of the elite Football Academies, Georgetown had produced 25 players who became professional footballers and Welsh Internationals at various levels. Gordon was a prolific goalscorer at Under 14’s and Under 16’s level and also represented Wales Schoolboys at Under 15 level.

It was while still at Cyfarthfa High School that he made his first appearance for the Martyrs in a Welsh Youth Cup game. After obtaining his ‘A’ levels Gordon studied Physical Education at Madeley College, Staffordshire.

During his time at College, Gordon made a number of appearances for the Martyrs whenever he came home for the weekend. After completing his degree course at college, Gordon returned to South Wales to complete his teacher training and signed permanently for the Martyrs under the guidance of Emrys Evans.

Initially Gordon played on the right wing, which seemed to be his natural position due to his electric pace. An injury allowed Emrys to switch Gordon to play alongside Paul Caviel, that allowed him to demonstrate his goalscoring technique.

During the 70’s the Martyrs were a very good Cup side but to often after mounting a promotion challenge they generally faded away towards the end of the season.

After a referral from Alan Mullery, who was Brighton manager at the time, Fulham invited Gordon to Craven Cottage and offered him a full time contract. Although he signed in November 1977 when he was 22 years old, Bobby Campbell Fulham’s manager agreed that he could stay with the Martyrs until March 1978. By February Gordon had scored 36 goals for the Martyrs in his final season at Penydarren Park.

During that season the Martyrs reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy before losing 3-2 in a replay to Northern Premier League side Runcorn. During our progress to the last eight Gordon scored a hat-trick against Hitchin in a 4-0 win and a brace against Gravesend in a 4-1 victory.

He was unable to play in the Runcorn game because he was due to report to Fulham 48 hours later, his presence undoubtedly would have proved to be the difference. After our exit from the FA Trophy Emrys resigned as manager over several issues.

After playing four games in the Fulham reserve team, Gordon was selected for his debut against Blackpool. Within two minutes of his debut Gordon had given away a penalty! “I looked around at the faces of the other players and could see them thinking – what have we got here! I didn’t let it upset me and the rest of the match went like a dream. I provided the assist for Les Strong to equalise and then scored the winner in the second half”.

Gordon’s progress at Fulham had attracted the attention of Wales team manager Mike Smith, which led to Davies being called into the Welsh squad for the game against Eire at Swansea after an injury to John Toshack.

In October 1979 Gordon returned to play at Penydarren Park as a Fulham player in a friendly arranged as part of the transfer. On the night Fulham won 4-2 with Davies inevitably scoring a hat-trick. Derek Elliott and Paul Caviel were the Martyrs scorers.

Gordon made his debut for Wales in November 1979 in the 1-0 defeat in a European Championship game against Turkey. He went on to make 16 international appearances scoring twice.

He spent six years with the West London club, before signing for Chelsea for a fee of £90,000 that was fixed by a tribunal. After a short stay at Stamford Bridge he moved to Manchester City making his debut on 12 October 1985 against Watford, and his first goals came two days later in a 6–1 victory over Leeds United in the Full Members Cup, when he scored yet another hat-trick that day. When Billy McNeill departed as City manager Davies' days at the club were numbered and his final City match was against Southend United in the Football League Cup. It was ironic that as a schoolboy Gordon was signed by Manchester City, who subsequently paid £100,000 to sign him from Fulham. “I received a letter telling me that City didn’t think that I would make a professional footballer” said Davies, which appeared to be a very expensive mistake.

He returned to Fulham in October 1986 and his second spell at Craven Cottage lasted five years. In October 1990 Gordon, known affectionately as ‘Ivor the Engine’ by his Fulham colleagues, passed Fulham legend Johnny Haynes to establish himself as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer a record that he still holds for the West London Premiership club, with 159 league goals in 460 appearances. In recognition of his career and the service he provided to the Cottagers, the club granted him a testimonial which was played against a Wales XI.

Davies left Fulham in 1991 and returned to Wales to join Wrexham. He became a part of FA Cup history when they beat Arsenal 2-1 in one of the competition’s biggest shocks, with Gordon creating the winning goal for Steve Watkin in the 84th minute. He left the Welsh club in February 1992 to take up an offer of management in Norway with Tornado FK, signing on as player-manager. In the summer of 1992 he returned to the UK and signed for Northwich Victoria where he spent one season before retiring from the game.

Wandering


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