ONE of Newport County’s most dedicated stalwarts, David Williams, has died.

So much more than just a former player of the club, Williams has given almost a lifetime of dedication to the Exiles.

Born at Ilfton Street behind the Black Horse pub in Newport, Williams has recalled accepting a few pennies here and there to look after cars on Cromwell Road, only to then escape into the ground to watch his beloved County.

Initially joining the ground staff at Newport County and signing a deal to play for Nash United, Williams would join Newport County and made his debut in the 1960/61 season, playing as an outside left.

Williams was moved to right back in 1965 but estimates he played nearly every position for the Ironsiders as managers like Billy Lucas, Bobby Evans and Les Graham.

In April 1969, Williams enjoyed a testimonial against Cardiff City FC.

David played under (or worked with) 13 managers during his tenure with the County and rated Billy Lucas, Len Ashurst and Colin Addison as the best of the bunch, with Keith Oakes rating as his greatest ever teammate.

David retired from playing in 1973 and went to work at Llanwern, playing for and at times managing Spencer Works for two seasons.

In 1976, he was contacted by Jimmy Scoular and went back to Newport to manage the reserves, promptly winning the SA Brain Cup.

David’s coaching duties were extended to include the first team in the following years and he was a familiar touchline figure for fans during the golden period that saw Newport promoted, winning the Welsh Cup twice and of course their famous European run.

By 1987/88, with the County on the brink of financial meltdown, Williams even stepped in as manager, standing down to become trainer when Eddie May arrived.

When things went bad and Jerry Sherman attempted to ride off into the sunset with the club now wound up, Williams was involved with the new Newport AFC, acting as a trainer and a director.

“I was keen to get involved, I didn’t want the town not to have a football team,” he recalled in the book Look Back in Amber.

Latterly, David has been involved with the Welsh senior football team as a kit man and his loss will be felt as acutely by players such as Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale as it is by Newport County fans and staff from the past fifty years.

Newport County offered the following tribute to Williams.

“Newport County AFC would like offer condolences to the family of Dai Williams, a true Newport County AFC great."