How appropriate, yet how very sad that, on the day we all share our memories of some of the greatest players to have represented our club, we learn of the death of Ron Davies at the age of 70.
Ron featured very strongly in many of the comments we received in response to my article and request for fellow fans to offer up their own Greatest Ever Canary XI’s, missing out on a place in our collective matchday squad by the very narrowest of margins-despite being in ‘competition’ with some of the most well known players in Norwich’s history, especially those from the 1970’s and 1990’s.
For Ron represented the club during one of the quieter spells of its history, joining us from Luton Town in September 1963 for what was then a club record transfer fee of £30,000. He played for Norwich for three seasons, scoring 66 goals in 126 League and Cup appearances before joining Southampton at the start of the 1966/67 season, a shock move that caused much discontent amongst Norwich fans and which remains, to this day, one of the most unpopular decisions made by any Canaries board regarding the sale of a player.
At just 24, he had been the central figure and goalscoring mainstay of a Norwich side that had genuine hopes of securing First Division football for the first time in the clubs history before the end of that decade. Who knows what progress the club might have eventually made had Ron stayed at Carrow Road and been the man that Lol Morgan, appointed Manager only weeks before Davies moved, had been able to build a side around. Maybe Morgan, rather than Ron Saunders, would have been the man to have brought top flight football to Carrow Road, who can tell? It is a tantalising thought.
For Ron to feature so highly in so many people’s thoughts still, despite that footballing decade in Norfolk being largely overshadowed by both the exploits and characters from later years is testament to both his undoubted quality as a footballer and goalscorer extraordinary and the strong and fond memories many Norwich fans still have of him.
Our loss was Southampton’s gain however, with Ron going onto score 134 goals in 240 appearances for the Saints where he is also fondly remembered and where he now, like he will here, be missed.
“The greatest centre forward in Europe”- Sir Matt Busby.
Ron Davies 1942-2013. RIP.