THE stars turned out to pay tribute to Pontypool, Wales and Lions legend Bobby Windsor at the launch of his book ‘The Iron Duke’ at the Millennium Stadium, writes Robin Davey.

Mervyn Davies, JJ Williams, Clive Rowlands, Mark Ring and David Bishop were all there along with popular entertainer Max Boyce, who immortalised Windsor in a song along with his Pontypool, Wales and Lions front row teammates Tony Faulkner and Graham Price.

“Bobby was an honest guy, a good guy and a good footballer who could really play because he had superb hands,” said Clive Rowlands, the ex-Wales captain who coached Windsor for much of his international career.

“In fact, Gwent had two of the best hookers the world has ever seen,” he added, referring to Newport great Bryn Meredith as the other.

Windsor, now living mainly in Majorca, joked in typical fashion, “I didn’t slate people as much as I could have or it would have been a best seller!

“When I went to South Africa with the Lions, because we could send so much back home, I was able to furnish my council house!

“But the biggest thing of all rugby brought me is the friendships which last a lifetime. Rugby has been kind to me, it’s been great.”

Then, returning to his wisecracking self, Windsor said: “People will say we were a bunch of thugs, but our job was to do as much damage as we could, that’s the truth.

“We had to damage them so they couldn’t get at our backs - and we won the game. But after the game everybody sat next to one another in hospital!”

Peter Jackson, who wrote the book, paid tribute to Windsor, saying: “When you think of all the great teams there have been, you think of what the Lions did (in South Africa in 1974) and it will never be done again.

“What Bobby did was phenomenal. The thing that set him out more than anybody else was his link with the steelworks (Windsor worked at Whitehead Steelworks in Newport). He was truly a working class hero.”

l The Iron Duke Bobby Windsor, The Life and Times of a Working Class Hero (Mainstream Publishing) is available in bookshops this week.