Another recently published book which adds to the history of the Wales national team, is “Trailing Clouds of Glory” by Nick Burnell (Y Lolfa).
The author analyses in-depth the efforts of the 1976 squad to get to the last eight in Euro 1976 and questions why players such as Terry Yorath, Dai Davies, Leighton James, John Toshack, Joey Jones, John Roberts, Arfon Griffiths, Brian Flynn, John Mahoney and others were the “forgotten heroes”. The author recounts some interesting events such as when Arfon Griffiths returned to Wrexham after 18 months at Arsenal at the end of the 1965/66 season when Wrexham finished rock bottom of Division Four!
The book is an enthralling and easily-read text highlighting the personalities of the players and Mike Smith, the forward-thinking manager at the time. There are many insights into the squad’s enjoyment of playing in Wrexham and he recalls how the Welsh team went back to the Bryn Howell hotel near Llangollen after the game against Austria at the Racecourse Ground on November 19th, 1975, and, under the conductorship of John Mahoney and Rod Thomas, they celebrated by singing Welsh songs and endless renditions of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau! The 1976 squad were a fervent Welsh team who wore the “Ddraig Goch” on their shirt and in their hearts. As Nick Burnell emphasises, their magnificent efforts must never be forgotten.
Let us hope that the spirit of the teams in 1976 and 2006 will reignite the efforts of the Wales squad in 2020 under the banner “Together Stronger” with the sounds of “Yma o Hyd” by Dafydd Iwan, blaring from the stadium speakers.
Book review by John Morris, Cover photo courtesy of Y Lolfa