FOOTBALL followers in the Costcutter League without any action due to the coronavirus crisis have reminisced over players who emerged to grace higher pastures.

Only a few have made it to the English Football League but for very many years there were those who cut their teeth in the Cardiganshire Football League established themselves with leading semi-professional Welsh clubs.

The biggest impact was undoubtedly made by goalkeeper John ‘Cwrt’ Davies who was a youngster with Bargod Rangers at Drefach Felindre when joining Cardiff City in 1976.

He was transferred to Hull City where he spent a glittering career initially at Boothferry Park and finally the KCOM Stadium.

On retiring from playing he spent over 30 years as youth coach, the 63-year-old a shining example in relation to loyalty.

Another to perform with distinction in the EFL and non-league football was Alan Morgan, born in Aberystwyth and with close connections at Plwmp and Crannog Football Club

The 46-year-old was a skilful midfielder for Tranmere Rovers before joining other clubs and after hanging up his boots held managerial positions.

As a youth Wayne Evans, of Llandysul, who is now in his late 30s, was a highly promising midfielder at Manchester United where none other than legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed with the youngster’s ability.

But like so many hopefuls things did not go according to plan for him at Old Trafford and he dropped out of the big time although involved in good standard non-league football.

Goalkeeper, the late Dyfrig Davies of St Dogmaels, spent 13 years with Aberystwyth Town from 1965 to 1978 making 392 appearances.

He joined Aber from Swansea Town‘s ground staff and in 1969 was lauded in the national press for a performance against Cardiff City in the Welsh Cup at Park Avenue.

City won the tie 3-0 but the margin of victory would have been far higher but for Davies who pulled off save after save, some of them from the burgeoning John Toshack.

Shortly afterwards Newport County offered the custodian a contract which he turned down. Sadly he passed away five years ago.

The local league has proved a fertile breeding ground for Aber who in 1987 snapped up Maesglas midfielder Nigel Nicholas who went on to make more than 300 appearances.

After a pre-season friendly against Chelsea the Londoners invited the classy defender cum midfielder for a month at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately he suffered an ankle injury and was forced to return home. With talented young players coming through constantly the Blues did not pursue their interest in Nicholas.

A coastal path officer with Ceredigion County Council, he hails from the village of Maenclochog in north Pembrokeshire and asked about his most memorable game said it was in the Maenclochog summer 5-a-side tournament.

When Nicholas held down the left-back berth at Park Avenue a team-mate was former Wales Youth and Newcastle Emlyn left winger Michael Davies, who possessed a superb first touch and also netted his share of goals over many seasons.

He is joint executive head of Ysgol Y Preseli at Crymych and Haverfordwest VC High School.

In the 60’s and 70’s Emlyn had an exceptional goalscorer in Hywel Morris who became a regular for Carmarthen Town in the Welsh League and also at that time the Teifi Valley club could call on the services of gifted winger and English Amateur International Paul Hodges. Before their time goalkeeper John Davies was a bit special and a Welsh League regular.

Maesglas goalkeeper Jonathan Llewellyn, who led the Blues to win the J Emrys Morgan Cup in successive seasons – still a record – also performed with distinction in greener pastures. As well as a spell with Bargod Rangers in the Mid Wales League he turned out for Cardiff City, Cardiff Corries and Barry Town.

Going back to the late 1940s and 1950s Cardigan Town had a quality midfielder in Alan Phillips, who played for Milford in the Welsh League and spent some time with Chelsea.

In later years, Town midfield general Robert James could have gone right to the top. He hit a hat-trick for Wales Youth against their English counterparts and was invited to join Arsenal but remained locally.

Also at King George V Playing Field centre forward Eilir Williams was a devastating finisher, especially with his head. He played for Aberystwyth for several seasons and took part in trials with Liverpool.

In recent seasons former Wales Youth captain Islwyn Evans has shown his skills for Town and current teenage striker Liam Doherty, formerly with Penrhyncoch in the Cymru Alliance, has been in great form.