Terry Medwin . . . The Welshman Who Opened The Door For Pele And Then Became A Spurs Hero

Terry Medwin, of Wales and Tottenham Hotspur in September 1960.

Terry Medwin . . . The Welshman Who Opened The Door For Pele And Then Became A Spurs Hero

By Phil White

For 64 years, Terry Medwin was the last Wales player to score at a World Cup.

Medwin, who has died at the age of 91, scored the winner in a 2-1 play-off victory over Hungary at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

The goal set up an ultimately unsuccessful quarter-final against eventual champions Brazil – a contest decided by Pele’s first World Cup goal – but Medwin’s place in Welsh football history was secure.

It was not until Gareth Bale converted a penalty against the United States in Qatar in 2022 that another Welshman would score at a World Cup.

But it was not just at international level where Medwin shone as he was part of Tottenham’s 1960-61 double-winning squad and featured in the 1962 FA Cup victory over Burnley.

Medwin was born on September 25, 1932 in one of the flats at Swansea Prison, where his father Cameron worked as a warder, just a goal-kick away from the Vetch Field.

From the age of four he used to sneak inside the ground on matchdays to watch the then-called Swansea Town and, after honing his playing skills on the local beach, impressed on the football field himself.

Medwin captained a Swansea Schoolboys side including the great John Charles and scouts flocked to the corner of south-west Wales. Ivor Allchurch, Cliff Jones and Mel Charles – John’s brother – were all Swansea products.

Yet Medwin began his working life as a mechanic while playing football part-time at Swansea for £3 a week.

A prolific goal-scoring right winger, Medwin made his first-team debut in the 1951-52 season and notched 57 goals in 147 league appearances before joining Spurs for £25,000 in May 1956.

He made the first of his 30 Wales appearances in a 3-2 away victory over Ireland in April 1953.

Under Manchester United assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, Wales qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1958 – training in Hyde Park before the tournament and receiving about £50 per game.

Medwin featured in four of their five matches in Sweden, with his Hungary strike being one of the six international goals he scored.

“It is a nice feeling,” Medwin said in an interview with The Guardian in November 2022 when reminiscing about his World Cup exploits. “Big John, Mel, Ivor, Cliffy…

“It was a great experience playing for Wales when I first got my cap but even better when we qualified for the World Cup.”

Jones, two years Medwin’s junior, had joined him at Spurs before the World Cup and his ability to play on either side of the pitch often kept his fellow ‘Swansea Jack’ out of the side.

Medwin, who scored twice on his debut in a 4–1 victory at Preston, played 215 games in seven years at Spurs and scored 72 goals.

He made 14 league appearances and scored five goals as Bill Nicholson’s team became the first to win the English league and FA Cup double for 72 years.

Medwin was an FA Cup winner the following season, but his career ended at the age of 30 in May 1963 when he broke his leg in Cape Town on a pre-season tour.

“We’d just won the Cup Winners’ Cup in Rotterdam and we flew from there to South Africa,” Medwin said in a 2021 interview with his former club.

“I had to have it set and I never played again. They were great days. That Spurs team was great.”

He managed Cheshunt and coached at Cardiff, Fulham and Norwich before returning to Swansea as John Toshack’s assistant, where he helped his hometown club rise through the leagues in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Medwin was married to Joyce and had six children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.