We're sorry to learn of the death of former Yeovil Town manager Glyn Davies at the age of 80 years old. Glynn managed the club across 1964-65 after a playing career that took in Derby County and Swansea Town (now known as Swansea City) before he took on his first management job in Somerset. He passed away after an illness on February 7th 2013.
Glyn was born in Swansea on May 31st 1932, yet didn't represent his home town club until much later in his career, being given professional forms by Derby County in the summer of 1949 as one of their juniors, and going on to make his first team debut in 1953. He was a left-sided player, variously described as a wing-half and a central defender by various sources. The Rams noted him as "a crucial player in the 1950s, with his tough tackles and commitment" - he went on to make precisely 200 Football League appearances, with 213 for the Rams overall, scoring five goals between 1953 and 1961.
In 1961, he returned to his home town, and signed for Swansea Town, adding a further 17 appearances and one goal to his Football League tally, although was never a regular for their first team. In early 1964, Yeovil Town were searching for a new manager, after Basil Hayward announced he was leaving Somerset to become Bedford Town's manager. In early February, Davies was chosen as his replacement, and at the age of 31 years old became the club's new player-manager.
Hayward had already built a team that was challenging at the top of the Southern League Premier Division, and so Davies' job was to keep the ship steady and on course. He hit the ground running, putting the club on a run of six consecutive wins to tighten the gap on Romford who had been leading the division. Despite that start, it took a while for the Huish crowd to warm to him - Davies played what was then a fairly radical tactic at the time - the offside trap - and that meant that he got plenty of early criticism.
A couple of defeats saw Yeovil wobble slightly in mid-March, but they responded well, going on a run of eight wins and one draw that Romford, and late challengers Bath City and Chelmsford City had no answer to. On April 22nd 1964, Glyn Davies became the manager of a Southern League title winning side, with the club rubbing it nicely by being presented the league Shield in front of their local rivals Weymouth on the final home game of the league season, in front of 3,563 spectators.
Davies used his old contacts well, bringing Derby County down to the old Huish ground for a testimonial match for a quartet of long serving players, with Dave Topping, Dave Jones, Roy Lambden and Len Harris sharing the proceeds, recognising over 900 Yeovil Town appearances between them. He started the 1964-65 season well, winning the Southern League Challenge Shield against Burton Albion, going unbeaten in the league until November 28th.
But Yeovil were facing their own struggles - they'd lost Ken Pound to Davies' old club Swansea Town, and top scorer Dave Taylor was suffering from a series of injuries that kept him out of the side, with numerous other players also landing on the treatment table. The lack of an FA Cup run, and the onset of a financial crisis at the club began to create cracks, and the wheels began to come off around the December/January period. The season was notable for the club officially opening it's brand new Main Stand at Huish, with stars such as Jimmy Hill, Danny Blanchflower and Malcolm Allinson (a future Yeovil Town manager) coming down as part of an International XI. But the feat of the previous season couldn't be matched, and Yeovil ended up finishing in fourth place, and six points behind eventual champions Weymouth.
The last match that Davies took charge of saw the club win the Somerset Premier Cup Final against Minehead, ensuring that his time in Somerset ended on a mini-high. However on June 30th 1965, Swansea Town returned for their prodigal son and he returned to Wales. As a player he made 23 appearances for the club, scoring 5 goals, choosing to largely concentrate on his position in the dugouts during the 18 months he spent in South Somerset.
Noteworthy was that Yeovil Town received a fee in the region of £1,250 as compensation - reported as the first time they had received money for the loss of their manager. He went on to manage Swansea during the 1965-66 season during which time Swansea became Welsh Cup Winners for the fifth time in their history. However, the Welsh club were in a steady decline in between a fall from the Second Division to the Fourth Division and although he managed to keep them in the Third Division he was to only last the one season.
Glyn's obituary in the local Swansea press is shown below. His funeral takes place this coming Wednesday at Swansea Crematorium, with details as follows:
"DAVIES Glyn (Ex Derby County - Swansea City) Peacefully on 7th February 2013 after an illness courageously borne, Glyn, loving partner and best friend of Carole, loving father of Neil and Ashley, father-in-law to Liz, proud grandpa of Chelsea and Victoria. Much loved brother of Elaine, George and John. Glyn will be sadly missed by all the family and many friends. Funeral Wednesday 20th February when a service will be held at Swansea Crematorium 3pm. Family flowers only, donations in lieu if so desired may be made to Ty Olwen Hospice c/o D. G. Attwell Funeral Directors, 95 Eaton Road, Brynhyfryd, Swansea. SA5 9JH Tel: 01792 650205."
[Article originally published on the Ciderspace News Page, February 17th 2013, following Glyn's death.]
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