It’s with great sadness to report that Ron Davies, the Southampton and Wales legend, has died aged 70.
Described by Matt Busby as the best centre-forward in Europe, Davies had an incredible career in Britain where he’s best remembered for his time at Southampton. But the tall number nine also played for Manchester United, Wales, Norwich City, Portsmouth, Seattle Sounders, LA Aztecs and other teams.
In 2009, thanks to the help of one of his dear friends and a Southampton supporter, I was able to speak with Davies via telephone and conducted a very rare interview. At the time, he was reluctant to give interviews for fear of what sensationalist British tabloid journalists had written in the past. Plus, his partner had recently died, he was living in a trailer in the desert in New Mexico and he had little money. On top of that, he was dealing with medical issues. But thanks to his friend, and my word that I would treat him with the respect he deserved, the interview request was granted. Plus, I think it also helped that I’m Welsh.
In a very moving interview, Davies discussed his playing career and his fond memories of playing alongside George Best and Harry Redknapp, as well as his memories of scoring four goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Davies, who had the gift of being able to leap high into the air, also described the secret of his aerial success.
Between 1966-69, he scored 90 times in 123 league games for Southampton. It’s no wonder that football commentator Martin Tyler names Davies as his hero.
Davies died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the eve of his 71st birthday. I’ll never forget the pleasure I had interviewing Ron Davies, the legend. He was so kind with his time, humble and a great man. RIP Ron Davies. Give it to Ron.