Ron Davies Obituary
Ron Davies and I went back a long time, although he never knew it of course: King Ron signed for Saints in the summer of 1966 and I saw my first match at The Dell on 17th September that year. Ron scored (naturally) in a 1-2 defeat, but it was with his right foot. The obituary on the Saints web site points out that Davies’ first headed goal in the old 1st Division came as late as the 7th game of the 66/67 campaign, and it notes that 23 of that season’s amazing 43 goal haul (37 in the League) were scored ‘from a foot’ – I assume they mean the appendage, not the distance.
To my mind, and even allowing that some were possibly bundled in off the chest for example, the amazing statistic is that the remaining 20 goals were nearly all headers. Twenty headed goals! In one season! And who knows how many assists for Chivers who finished with 14?
Furthermore, only one of the 43 was a penalty, and that amongst the four scored in the last match – compare with say Channon or Le Tissier who had the luxury of both free kicks and penalties. It all makes Lambert seem goal-shy.
To continue in wide-eyed amazement, don’t forget that the goals came as part of a side that struggled to stay up, as did the 28 (including penalties now) in the following year. 1968/69 was less successful with a ‘mere’ 20 League goals, followed by 12 from 29 injury ridden games in 69/70. But that season did include an incredible performance at Old Trafford on 16th August when Saints won 4-1 thanks to four crosses from John Sydenham, and either three or four headers from Ron, depending on how generous you were with a possible Tony Dunne own goal.
ITV had footage of that game – funny how it never seems to make the screen nowadays, but you should be able to find it on YouTube here.
It wasn’t difficult to work out Ted Bates’ tactics in those days, with Terry Paine MBE supplying the trickery on the right, Johnny Syd using his pace on the left, plus Davies as the best target in the league – no wonder the Milton Road End used to sing:
Give it to Ron, give it to Ron.
On his head, on his head.
(Think of The Troggs’ 1967 hit “Give It To Me”)
My favourite Davies moment came against Wolves in 1968. Eric Martin caught a corner and threw out to the deep-lying Sydenham… with opposing defenders stranded upfield, Syd had plenty of space to run into, but he was so left footed that he could only go in a straight line… he could cross, though, and a superb low ball into the middle was met by the diving Davies who sent it hurtling past Phil Parkes.
Ah, but there are so many memories: thanks for all of them, Ronald Tudor Davies, born Holywell, Flintshire 25th May 1942, died heaven knows where (well, Albuquerque, New Mexico actually) 24th May 2013. Ron the Nod – surely one of the greatest Saints ever.