Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wales Greatest All-Time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Wales at Euro 2016
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team,
IrelandNorthern Ireland,
United Kingdom.

Wales has one of the oldest Football Associations in the world.  However, Wales never figured much in international football.  In 1958, they qualified for the World Cup Finals in Sweden after a playoff game against Israel.  Cliff Jones, Alf Sherwood, Jack Kelsey, Ronnie Burgess and John Charles were some the greatest ever players from Wales. They drew Hungary, the host Sweden and Mexico, and advanced to next round before Brazil sent them home with goal by a 17 year old Pele.  In the 1980's, Wales again had a Golden Generation.  However, while Neville Southall, Ian Rush and Mark Hughes starred in the English league, Wales failed to achieve much as a national team. In 2016, Wakes made a strong run at Euro 2016, reaching the semi-final.

This is my all-time team for Wales. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 
Wales World Cup 1958
GK: Neville Southall 
Neville Southall was the FWA Football of the Year in 1985 and one of the few keepers to win the award.  He was regarded as one of the best British keeper of his generation in a generation filled with great keepers.  He started with Bury, but played most of his career with Everton, where the club was enjoying its most successful period. He won two First Divison title and two FA Cup with them.  He had 92 caps for Wales.
Neville Southall
GK:  Jack Kelsey
Kelsey had 41 caps for Wales.  He was Wales' keeper at the World Cup Finals in 1958, their only finals appearance to date. They were eventually knocked out 1–0 by winners Brazil in the quarter-finals..  He spent his entire career with Arsenal.  He played over 300 games for Arsenal from 1949 to 1963.  He became their starter in the 1953-1954 season. However, he went trophyless during his time there.

Roose was renowned as one of the best players in his position in the Edwardian period.  Roose's international career began in 1900, when he played for Wales in a 2–0 defeat of Ireland. He won a total of 24 caps, turning out for his last international game against Scotland in March 1911. He was one of Wales's key players when the team won the British Home Championship for the first time in 190

RB: Alf Sherwood
Sherwood joined Cardiff City in 1942, from Aberaman Athletic.  He played for them until 1956. From 1956 to 1961, he played for Newport County.  Si Stanley Matthews described him as "the most difficult opponent he ever played against". In 2006, he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.

RB/LB:  Stuart Williams
Stuart Williams was a member of the 1958 World Cup team that left a big impression on Pele.  He aso played as a striker in the beginning of his career.  He played his club football for Wrexham, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.  As of April 2012 he is WBA's most capped international, having earned 33 of his Welsh caps whilst with Albion.

CB/ST: John Charles
John Charles was the greatest Welsh player.  He was equally adept at centre-forward or centre-back.  He was all-time great with Leeds United, but this best part of career was with Juventus. He was Serie A's top scorer with 28 goals, and was voted player of the season as Juventus won the Scudetto. He played in Turin for five years, scoring 93 goals in 155 matches, winning the scudetto (Italian league championship) three times, and the Italian Cup twice. He was 3rd in the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) in 1959. He was never booked in his entire career.
John Charles
CB Mike England
At Spurs, Mike England won the inaugural 1972 UEFA Cup Final and was runner up in the same competition 2 years later; his goal in the first leg of the 1974 final unable to win the cup a second time for Spurs.  He also played for Blackburn Rovers, Seattle Sounders (USA) and Cardiff City.  He was capped 44 times and was also the youngest Welsh captain at one point. He also played as a center forward.

Keener began his career at his hometown side Cardiff City after a trial match in 1912.  He helped the club to the 1925 FA Cup Final, but losing in the Final.  As captain, he led the team to win the 1927 FA Cup Final later in the season, in which they defeated Arsenal 1–0. Their triumph remains the only time the competition has been won by a team based outside England.  From 1920 to 1932, he was capped 32 times.

CB Kevin Ratcliffte
Kevin Ratcliffte was the captain of Everton during its golden era in the 1980's.  He won two English League titles, one FA Cup and another Cup Winners' Cup. In 1991, he went to Dundee and then played for a short spells with Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Chester City. Ratcliffe was capped 59 times by Wales, often as captain. Wales never qualified for a major tournament while he was active. 
Kevin Ratcliffte
LB: Mel Hopkins 
Hopkins was signed by Tottenham Hotspur at the age of 15. He made his debut in January 1952.  In total, Hopkins played 219 games for Spurs, winning the Double in 1961.  He moved to for Brighton in 1964. Between 1956 and 1963, he earned 34 caps, including playing for Wales for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where they lost narrowly to Brazil in the quarter-finals.

CM: Terry Yorath
Terry Yorath was a member of Don Revie's Leeds United.  He became the first Welsh player to play in an European Cup Final when Leeds United reached the Final in 1975, but losing to Bayern Munich.  He also appeared in the 1973 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, which Leeds lost in controversial circumstances to AC Milan.  He also represented Coventry City, Tottenham Hotspur, Bradford City and Swansea City.  He earned 59 caps, often as captain.

CM: Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey made his senior debut for Wales at the age of 17.  He was made captain at the age of 20, the youngest ever. He was a part of Wales' team that made to the semifinal of the European Championship in 2016, where he was included in the Team of the Tournament. He also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.  At the club level, Ramsey started his career with Cardiff in 2006, but made his name with Arsenal when he joined in 2008. In 2019, he joined Juventus.
Aaron Ramsey
CM/RB: Ron Burgess
Ron Burgess was a miner before becoming a footballer. He spent majority of his career with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was the captain of Tottenham Hotspurs' League champion team in 1951. Burgess joined Swansea Town in 1954 as a player and played until 1956, taking over as manager of Swansea Town from 1955 to 1958. For Wales, he played 32 times and was the captain.

AM/LW: Gary Speed
Gary Speed played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United.  At one point, he held the record for the most appearances in the Premier League until David James surpassed by David James.  He was best remembered for winning the English league title in 1992 with Leeds United.  He made the PFA Team of the year in 1993. From 19988 to 2004, he played for Newcastle United. He was capped 85 times for Wales and served as the captain.

Jones was the best left winger in the world during the eraly 1960's. He won the Double with Tottenham in 1961-1962.  He also won the 1963 Cup Winners' Cup. He also played for Swansea and Fulham.  He played 59 times in all for Wales, scoring 16 goals. He went to play at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden. He also was the hero of Wales' 1955 victory over England.

Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014.  He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales.  He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.
Ryan Giggs
RW:  Billy Meredith
Billy Meredith was a legendary player for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was probably the greatest right winger in Manchester United's history, where he played between 1906 and 1921.  He was the oldest ever Manchester United player ever played. He gained 48 caps for Wales, for whom he scored 11 goals and won two British Home Championship titles. 

RW/LW:  Gareth Bale
Bale began his professional career at Southampton. Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. In 2011 and 2013, he was named PFA Players' Player of the Year.  His transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 was believed to be the most expensive in history.  He won four Champions League title with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the 2014 and the 2018 versions. In 2016, he led Wales to reach the semifinal of Euro 2016.
Gareth Bale
FW: Ivor Allchurch
Allchurch was born in Swansea. Known as 'The Golden Boy' of Welsh football, Ivor Allchurch played for Swansea Town, Newcastle United and Cardiff City, where he played 691 games and scored 249 goals. He was a star for Wales at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden, where Wales reached the quarter final.  He was at one point of the cap record holder and all-time leading scorer for Wales. His record of 68 caps for Wales stood until 1986. His brother Len also played for Wales.
Ivor Allchurch
ST: Mark Hughes 
Mark Hughes was best remembered for his spells with Manchester United. He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991.  He also played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as the English clubs Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and finally Blackburn Rovers.

ST:  John Toshack
John Toshack started with Cardiff in 1965. He joined Liverpool in 1970. At Liverpool, he formed a great partnership with Kevin Keegan. He won the First Division in 1973, 1976 and 1977, the FA Cup in 1974, and the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976. In 1978, he joined Swansea as a player-manager.  He led the club to jump from 4th division to 1st division in 3 years. He earned 40 caps with Wales between 1969 and 1980.
John Toshack
ST: Trevor Ford
Trevor Ford became the most expensive British player in 1950 when he moved from Aston Villa to Sunderland.  He also played for Swansea, Cardiff City and PSV Eindhoven. He was capped 38 times for Wales, becoming their all-time joint aggregate goal scorer with 23 goals. He was overlooked for the 1958 World Cup team because he was serving a suspension.

ST: Ian Rush
Ian Rush was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He is the Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer, with 346 goals. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic. Rush made 73 appearances for Wales between 1980 and 1996.
Ian Rush

Honorable Mention
Bert Gray, Gary Sprake, Dai Davies, Wayne Hennessey, Paul Jones, Joey Jones, Peter Rodrigues, Ben Davis, Graham Williams, Rod Thomas, Chris Gunter, Mel Charles, Walley Barnes, Roy Paul, Dave Bowen, Terry Hennessey, Roy Clarke, Terry Medwin, Leighton James, Robbie James, Brian Flynn, Dean Saunders, Rod Thomas, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Hennessey, Joe Allan, Hal Robson-Kanu, Dave Bowen, John Hartson, Graham Williams, Wally Barnes, Ron Davis, TG Jones.

Squad Explanation 
-- In October 2021, I completely redid the team.  I expanded the list of honorable mentions.  And I reorganised this section.
-- Ryan Giggs, often hailed as the greatest Manchester United player under Sir Alex Ferguson, and John Charles, voted as Juventus' greatest import, stand among the all-time legends of Welsh football. Alongside them, Gareth Bale and Ian Rush have solidified their places as some of the greatest players from Wales. Neville Southall and Billy Meredith also hold esteemed positions among the pantheon of Welsh football greats.
-- In 2022, FourFourTwo released their rankings of the top 10 all-time players for Wales. The list is as follows: 10) Gary Speed  9) Terry Yorath 8) Cliff Jones 7) Neville Southall  6) Billy Meredith 5) Mark Hughes 4) Ryan Giggs 3) Ian Rush  2) John Charles 1) Gareth Bale.
-- IFFHS created their All-Time Best XI for Wales.  The lineup was: Neville Southall, Alf Sherwood, Kevin Ratcliffe, Mike England, Joey Jones, Aaron Ramsey, Terry Yorath, Gareth Bale, John Charles, Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs.
-- Wales' 2016 European Championship's run was their greatest moment since the World Cup Finals of 1958.  However, most of the key players played in the lower tiers of the English league. It was difficult to include some of the heroes of Euro 2016 when they were up against of the old-timers who were famous club players at their own time. Ben Davis, Wayne Hennessey, Joe Allan and Hal Robson-Kanu were added to the honorable mention, based on that run.  Only Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale made it to the team.
-- Wales qualified the World Cup Finals once in 1958. John Charles, Stuart Williams, Mel Hopkins, Jack Kelsey, Ivor Allchurch and Cliff Jones were on that team.  Trevor Ford was overlooked for the World Cup team, but I took him here.
-- During Terry Yorath's tenure as the manager of Wales, he assembled a formidable team featuring the defensive prowess of Neville Southall and Kevin Ratcliffe. The attacking trio of Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, and Dean Saunders provided the firepower upfront. This team achieved a significant victory by defeating Germany in a qualifier for Euro 1992. Ryan Giggs, a rising star at the time, made his debut for Wales in a subsequent qualifier. However, despite their impressive performances, Wales narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Their hopes were dashed when they failed to convert a penalty against Romania in a crucial match.
--  For goalkeepers, Neville Southall was an easy choice. Jack Kelsey established himself as an all-timer in Arsenal and was an easy choice for number two.  On my original team in 2014, I had Dai Davis as my third goalkeeper.  In 2021, I replaced Davis with Leigh Richmond Roose.  Leigh Richmond Roose who was killed in the Battle of Somme was considered the best goalkeeper of his time.  His style was also innovative.  Davis' career mainly played in the lower division.  He was never the very best goalkeeper in the United Kingdom.
-- Wayne Hennessey was the second most capped goalkeeper for Wales.  He was in and out of the Premiership throughout his career.  Paul Jones also occupied the goalkeeping position for a long time.  In his time, Bert Gray won several British Home Championship for Wales.  Gary Sprake was the starting goalkeeper in the 1970's for Leeds United.  They all made honorable mention.
-- Dai Davis made 52 appearances for the Wales national football team between 1975 and 1982. For club football, he played for Everton, Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers and three spells at Swansea City.  He was a youth product of Swansea, where he played with Giorgio Chinaglia before he was spotted by Everton. He signed with Everton in 1970.
-- Joey Jones was the starting leftback for Liverpool during its historic League-FA Cup-European Cup treble winning season, making him the first Welshman to win a European Cup medal, but he was the starter for only two of his seasons in Liverpool.  Instead, I selected Mel Hopkins who had a successful stint with Tottenham Hotspur, winning the Double in 1961. He was a regular starter for Spurs and also represented Wales in the 1958 World Cup. Additionally, I made the decision not to select Jones as a backup. Interestingly, Gareth Bale initially began his career as a left-back with Southampton.   Additionally, Stuart Williams was capable of playing in that position, eliminating the need for a backup.  Ron Burgess could fill that role too. Ben Davis was a part of the Golden Generation that went to the Euro 2016 and 2020 as well the 2022 World Cup. He also spent a long time in the Premiership.  Graham Williams and Rod Thomas were on my honorable mention. 
-- For rightback, Alf Sherwood was undisputed.  He can actually play all across the backline. Chris Gunter is the most capped player for Wales, but his club career was mainly in the lower division.  So I took Stuart Williams whom Pele considered to be a very good rightback when they played against each other in the World Cup Finals.
Alf Sherwood
-- I could have taken both Jones and Hopkins while dropping Stuart Williams, but Williams' ability to play on both sides of the fullback position provided valuable versatility, making him a valuable asset to the squad.
-- To accommodate an additional attacker, I decided to position John Charles as a defender.  Alongside him, I selected Kevin Ratcliffe and Mike England, both of whom had impressive club careers in England. Ratcliffe notably captained Everton during the 1980s, a period that marked one of the club's greatest chapters in history. As captain, Ratcliffe achieved remarkable successes, including winning the 1984 FA Cup Final, the Football League Championship in 1984–85 and 1986–87, as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1984–85. Meanwhile, Mike England had a memorable stint with Tottenham Hotspur, contributing to their victory in the UEFA Cup in 1972. 
-- The last centre-back was hard to choose.  Mel Charles was well-known because of his brother, but he played mainly in the lower division.  So the last centerback was between Fred Keenor and T.G. Jones.
-- Fred Keenor as the captain of Cardiff City won the FA Cup in 1926.  It was the only time a club outside England ever winning it. A statue of Keenor remained outside the Cardiff City Stadium.  While T.G. Jones was a big name in England, Keenor as the captain of that FA Cup victory meant much more for Wales.  In 2015, TG Jones was on this team, but I replaced him with Keenor in 2021.
-- CB/DM: T.G. Jones started his career with Wrexham. He signed for Everton for £3,000 in 1936, where he played until 1950.  At one point, he was offered to play for AS Roma. He later played for Pwllheli F.C. and Bangor in Wales.  In 2000, he was elected into "Everton Giants" as one of the club's greatest players.  Jones won 17 caps for Wales and eleven caps in wartime internationals.
-- Terry Yorath was a member of Don Revie's Leeds United.  He became the first Welsh player to play in an European Cup Final when Leeds United reached the Final in 1975.
-- Gary Speed held the record for the most appearances in the Premier League at 535, until it was surpassed by David James.  He was an important part of Leeds United's 1992 Premiership winning team.
Gary Speed 
-- I selected Aaron Ramsey because the team lacked a playmaker. Besides, he deserved a spot for his contribution at the Euro 2016.  He was one of the few British footballers who successfully played outside the British Isles.  He was only the third Welsh player to make 50 or more appearance in the Champions' League.
-- After I took Aaron Ramsey, Gary Speed, Terry Yorath and Ron Burgess, I studied Roy Paul, Dave Bowen and Terry Hennessey.
--Dave Bowen, although the captain of the 1958 World Cup team, was not selected for the team due to the greater fame and recognition of Yorath and Burgess during their respective eras. Bowen's time at Arsenal coincided with a challenging period for the club, and he never achieved the same level of household recognition as the other four players. Terry Hennessey, who played under Brian Clough at Derby, had a career plagued by injuries during his time at the club. He was a talented midfielder but struggled to stay fit consistently. On the other hand, Roy Paul had a unique journey in his football career. His early years in Swansea were interrupted by the Second World War, and he briefly ventured to the Colombian league in the 1950s in search of financial gain. However, he returned after just 10 days and eventually joined Manchester City at the age of 30. Paul's leadership skills were evident as he captained the team to the 1955 FA Cup Final. While the team ideally required another midfielder, the decision of who to drop (possibly Trevor Ford) remains a difficult one. In the end,  I realsied that Ivor Allchurch could also play as a midfielder.  So I did not need an extra midfielder.  
-- Wales had great wingers.  The task of selecting them was very easy. On the right, Gareth Bale led Wales to the semi-final of Euro 2016. It was Wales' best finishes in a major tournament. He was also the most decorated player in club football, winning more Champions' League titles than any Welsh players.  In the 2017 Champions' League Final, he scored two memorial goals against Liverpool.  Billy Meredith also did not need introduction. He was considered one of Manchester United's greatest players.  
-- On left, of course, I selected Ryan Giggs and Cliff Jones. Wales also had Terry Medwin, Leighton James and Roy Clarke.
Cliff Jones 
-- In 2021, Ryan Giggs was voted as Manchester United's greatest ever players by Manchester Evening News ahead of Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law.  He won 12 Premier League titles, 4 F.A Cups, 4 League Cups and 2 Champions League titles for them and played over 900 games.  However, for Wales, he never attended a major tournament for Wales.
-- Among the wingers selected, Cliff Jones was probably the least famous.  He was elected into the Football League 100, English Football Hall of Fame and Tottenham Hotspurs Hall of Fame.  He was one of Tottenham's great side in the 1960's.  Terry Medwin who is a member of Tottenham Hotspurs Hall of Fame could not get into this team.  Leighton James played for Derby and QPR when the clubs were going downhill.  Later, he made a name with John Toshack's Swansea in the 1980's, but he was not comparable with Ryan Giggs or Cliff Jones. Roy Clarke was also a lower division player for a long period of time.
-- Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, John Charles and Ivor Allchurch easily made the team.  Does the team still need Trevor Ford and John Toshack?
-- To create space for an additional attacker, I selected John Charles as a defender, despite his immense talent as an attacker. He is widely regarded as one of Juventus' greatest foreign players.  Ian Rush, on the other hand, holds the esteemed title of being Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer, having scored an impressive 346 goals in all competitions. Until 2018, he also held the record for the most goals scored for his country, tallying 28 goals between 1980 and 1996.
--Ivor Allchurch, the Golden Boy of Welsh football, showcased his skills while playing for Welsh clubs Swansea and Cardiff City. His inclusion in multiple all-time teams for Wales speaks to his remarkable contributions to the sport.
-- Mark Hughes was a hero in Manchester United, but he also played with Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice (1988–89, 1990–91).
Mark Hughes
--  I decided to take John Toshack.  He had decorated club careers in England while playing for Liverpool.  Over there, he was known for his partnership with Kevin Keegan in the early 1970's.  He was voted at No.34 on the Liverpool website poll "100 Players Who Shook The Kop". He later had a career as a manager and perhaps, that helped his name recognition.  
-- It was between Dean Saunders, Craig Bellamy and Trevor Ford for the last attacker spot on the team. Saunders is famous among the younger fans, but Ford was at one point the all-time leading scorer for Wales. 
-- Before I started my research, I initially considered Dean Saunders as a highly probable candidate, alongside Mark Hughes and John Toshack. However, upon further examination, it became apparent that both Hughes and Toshack had slightly more successful club careers compared to Saunders. Saunders' career suffered due to his inability to establish a lasting presence at Liverpool. Despite being a high-profile transfer, he only played for the club for one season. According to an interview with Saunders, his partnership with Ian Rush at Liverpool did not yield the desired success. Ultimately, I chose Trevor Ford over Saunders primarily due to Ford's remarkable achievement as Wales' all-time leading scorer, an accomplishment that greatly influenced my decision.
-- Then, I also studied if I should put John Charles as a forward and take central defender T.G.Jones.   If I took TG Jones, I would have to drop Trevor Ford.  
-- Ron Davis went to the same school as the Spurs defender Mike England, whom he played alongside in internationals for Wales.   At one point, he was one of the greatest aerial threat in English football, but he only made honorable mention.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-4-2
  • I used a classic British 4-4-2 formation.  Bale could become the greatest, but Meredith is just too good to be unseated at this point.
  • I nearly put John Charles on the defense and started Allchurch upfront.



  1. Great squad. I think you are missing Wally Barnes, the fine right back for Arsenal in the 40s and 50s, Everton centre half TG Jones and Ron Davies, Southampton striker described by Matt Busby as the best in Europe. All honorable mentions at least. I think Barnes should be above Williams at RB and Jones above Mel Charles. I also think your initial view of Roy Paul ahead of Mel was correct.

  2. 1.Southall
    3.J Charles
    2.Leigh Richmond Reese
    5.M Charles
    6.J Jones

  3. Might be time to add Bale as a starter?