John Toshack led Wales rise to the top. Pic: Getty Images.

Brian Flynn Pays Tribute To John Toshack For Wales Revolution . . . As S4C Begin World Cup Countdown

By Gareth James

Former Wales manager Brian Flynn has paid tribute to John Toshack, for sowing the seeds that helped Wales’ incredible rise, from perennial underachievers to consistent major tournament appearances.

To start the countdown to the World Cup, S4C will show a special film directed by Jonny Owen, called Cewri Cwpan y Byd (World Cup Giants), on Monday 31 October.

The film charts the rising fortunes of Welsh football over a tumultuous and transformational 18-year period, featuring interviews from the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Coleman, Rob Page, Laura McAllister, and several more key players from that period and the current squad.

It ddetails how Toshack’s reign as Wales manager began a long journey towards Wales reaching the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

Flynn sees Toshack as the architect to Wales’ rise to the top table of international football, as he looked to rejuvenate Welsh football with a new generation of players.

Flynn said: “He [John Toshack] basically said the squad was too old. The average age was over 26, 27, he wanted to bring that down within five years to at least 22, 23. And I remember his parting shot to me was: ‘Bry, this is going to be a minimum five years, possibly ten years, but always remember, somebody else is going to get the credit for this, for what we do now.’

“I always remember John saying that. This is for others. John gave débuts to Wayne Hennessey, Chris Gunter, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes, Hal Robson-Kanu.”

John Toshack added: “As most international team managers do, you spend a lot of time travelling and watching players at their clubs, and after while I thought; right, this team has had a lot of opportunities and it’s not been good enough. We need to slowly start to rip it up, if you like.

“I remember, okay, Gareth Bale, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Wayne Hennessey, all these young lads coming through. And I remember thinking, we’re going to suffer a little bit with these as they start to make the jump from league football to international football.

“But a lot of these are going to get 50 caps. A lot of these young lads that we pushed through at that particular time came through, and other people got the benefit of it, and Wales reached major tournaments, and they did well.”

Gareth Bale said: “He was trying to build for the future and he gave a lot of youngsters their débuts so we could have a lot of experience going into times like this. I think it was a good plan for the future and one we’re benefitting from now.”

Wales are heading to the World Cup in Qatar, in three weeks. They will play the United States of America, Iran and England in Group B.

Here is a clip from the programme, featuring Bale, John Toshack and Brian Flynn, discussing the policy of fast-tracking young talent during Toshack’s reign as manager:


Watch the film Cewri Cwpan y Byd (World Cup Giants), directed by Jonny Owen, at 9.00pm on Monday 31 October on S4C, and on S4C Clic. English subtitles available.

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