Extract from Percy Young, Football Year (1958), describing the writer’s first trip to a Swansea match. He had never seen Ivor play before, although he maintained he was not simply there to see the Swans star.
Within three minutes of the whistle there was a goal. It was Allchurch’s goal. More than that it was the first goal of the new year in the Football League, the start of the battle being set half-an-hour in advance of any other on the same day. With expectations previously aroused, and the circumstances of the goal as they were, it was clear that our hero was peerless. The papers were correct. Allchurch was the finest inside forward in the game. We were at one with our neighbours in the stand – excepting some who came from Newport and illogically supported West Ham. The calmer afterthoughts of half-time, however, brought to mind the close relationship between the miraculous and the merely fortuitous.
It had been this way. Allchurch receiving the ball just beyond the half-way line veered north-eastward, feinting the while. Ten yards from the corner flag the position was without hope. A posse of defenders harassed, and to contrive a neat, carefully pointed pass appeared as impossible as to outwit, single-footed, so many claret-coloured men, whose vigour at least could earn no reproach. Suddenly the right foot was swung. The ball lifted and, wind-swept, went directly and certainly into the distant net.
Was it the single, unmistakable sign of genius, or was it that a speculative ball meant for a hesitant colleague at centre-forward, or for the admirably adventurous Mervyn Charles, marauding to purpose from wing-half, had missed its intention? The answer lies elsewhere and will never, perhaps, be known.
You can read Ivor’s obituary from The Independent here.
One response to “Ivor Allchurch”
My brother-in-law, Sam Ashwood (from Danygraig in Swansea) was the head steward on the Wing side of the Vetch for many years. When Sam died of a heart attack this position was taken over by his daughter Joyce Butler and her husband, Richie Butler (a formed resident of the Sandfields.) I would imagine that my niece and her husband have well retired from these duties. Many, many good afternoons were spent at the Vetch field watching the Swans play many a good and enjoyable game standing in the rain cheering the team on.