Ron Davies 25th May 1942 – 24th May 2013.
Everyone at Kenilworth Road has been saddened to learn of the recent passing of former Hatters striker Ron Davies, one day short of his 71st birthday.
Holywell born Ron started his Football League career with Chester where, he later recounted, he was made to jump hurdles in army boots during training. This was to stand him in good stead in later years as his prodigious leap and heading ability made him one of the best centre-forwards in the game.
It came as a surprise when Luton manager Bill Harvey snapped up the youngster in October 1962. Luton supporters were looking for an experienced forward as the Town struggled to free themselves from the bottom of Division Two (now the Championship) rather than an untried and untested 20 year old. How wrong we were!
Ron was an instant success, scoring 21 goals in only 29 starts in an ultimately unsuccessful campaign, with his ability in the air coupled with a sure touch on the ground. If only we could have secured his services earlier.
Sadly, after only three games into the following season the inevitable happened when he was sold to Norwich for £35,000. The Canaries, no doubt recalling the six goals Ron scored against them for the Hatters in 1962/63 (two in the 3-3 draw at Carrow Road and all four in the 4-2 home win), had snapped up a, by now, proven goalscorer.
He continued his scoring exploits at Norwich but, in turn, the Canaries were forced to sell the established Welsh international when Southampton, newly promoted to the top flight, came calling in 1966.
While at Southampton, Ron was regarded as the best striker in Europe with the Saints turning down many transfer requests for his services, most notably from Manchester United.
United did eventually get their man but by that time Ron was past his best having suffered from the bumps and bruises handed out by physical defenders in what was a different game to that of today.
His eventual career record of 275 goals in 540 League appearances stands comparison with all the greats in the sport.
Our condolences go out to his family and friends.