Len Allchurch: Former Wales and Swansea footballer dies aged 83

Wales team that played Scotland in October 1958
Len Allchurch (front left) in the Wales team that played Scotland in 1958 with his brother Ivor (rear left).

Former Swansea, Sheffield United and Wales winger Len Allchurch has died at the age of 83.

Allchurch played more than 600 League matches in a career which started in 1950 and ended in 1971, helping the Blades gain promotion to the First Division in the 1960-61 season.

He was the younger brother of legendary Wales international Ivor Allchurch.

The winner of 11 caps, Len Allchurch was in the Wales squad at the 1958 World Cup but did not play a game.

Former Swansea and Wales team-mate Cliff Jones paid tribute to Allchurch.

"We grew up together and we played our football together," said the Tottenham Hotspur legend.

"We were in the same Swansea schoolboy team for a couple of seasons and after leaving school we worked in the docks - he was an apprentice coppersmith and I was an apprentice sheet metal worker.

"We were related closely in our working life and in our sporting life at Swansea Town.

"He was a very skilled right winger and had great control and a wonderful temperament and great company was Lenny."

Len Allchurch in action for Swansea against Lincoln City in 1955
Len Allchurch (left) in action for Swansea against Lincoln City in 1955

The 1950s were a golden period for football in Swansea, with some of the finest talent in the history of the game in Wales emerging from what was in those days called Swansea Town.

As well as the Allchurch brothers, John and Mel Charles and Spurs legends Jones and Terry Medwin all came through the club's ranks - with John Charles the only one not to play for his hometown team.

Len Allchurch played 276 League games for the Swans before joining Sheffield United for £18,000 in 1961, where he scored five goals in the last seven games of the season to help John Harris' side gain promotion to the First Division.

He left Sheffield in 1965 to join Stockport County - helping them to win the Fourth Division title in 1966-67 - and in 1969 returned to his home town club, by which time Swansea Town had become Swansea City.

He made a further 71 League appearances for the Swans before retiring in 1971.

Although in the squad for the the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Len did not get to play alongside his brother as Wales reached the quarter final before being knocked out by 1-0 by Brazil, with Pele scoring the goal.

He did play in the 2-0 win over Israel in the first leg of the play-off which Wales won to reach the finals for the first and so far only time.

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