World Cup Swans | Terry Medwin

19th November 2022

As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar gets under way this weekend, we take a look at the players with Swansea connections who have featured on the biggest stage.

We start with Terry Medwin, whose appearance at the 1958 finals came while he was with Tottenham Hotspur, but whose career was initially forged with his hometown club.

The former winger, now aged 90, remains of the finest homegrown players to ever pull on the white shirt.

His story is a remarkable one, particularly given the development pathways open to young players today.

Medwin, whose family hailed from Sandfields, was born in 1932 in one of the flats at Swansea Prison, where his father worked as a warder.

Wales Terry Medwin

His talent was obvious, and he would captain a Swansea Schoolboys side including a certain John Charles.

Yet, when Medwin left school, it was for a job at Morsmith Motors as he trained as a mechanic, while playing football part-time.

He initially signed for the Swans on a part-time basis, training on his own early in the mornings before going to work, and then heading to the Vetch to train with the rest of the squad.

He would become a full-time footballer in 1949, graduating through the third team and the reserves before making his league debut against Blackburn in January 1952, netting his first goal for the Swans five days later in an FA Cup tie against Reading.

Medwin’s performances in a Swans shirt – where he played across the frontline with aplomb - soon caught the attention of national boss Jimmy Murphy and in April 1953 he made his full international debut in Wales’ 3-2 victory over Ireland in Belfast.

He played in a trio of Welsh Cup successes for the Swans, with the last of those coming in 1956, just before he completed an £18,000 move to First Division Tottenham.

At Spurs he was – and remains – a popular figure, registering 215 appearances in a seven-year spell at White Hart Lane, scoring 72 goals.  

He was a member of the squad that won the double under Bill Nicholson in 1961, and Medwin helped Spurs retain the FA Cup in 1962, scoring in the semi-final win against Manchester United and playing in the final victory against Burnley.  

At international level Medwin would score six goals in 30 caps for Wales, and the highlight of his representative career would come at the 1958 World Cup.

Wales Terry Medwin

In a squad with a considerable Swansea presence with the likes of Cliff Jones, Mel Charles, John Charles and Ivor Allchurch, Medwin would be one of Wales’ stand-out performers as they reached the quarter-finals.

He played in four of their five matches at the finals in Sweden. Wales drew their three group games against Sweden, Hungary and Mexico, and a play-off against the Hungarians was required to decide who would advance to the knock-out stages.

Medwin would score the winner in a 2-1 victory, a goal that would be the last scored by a Wales player at a major tournament for 58 years until Gareth Bale’s free-kick against Slovakia at Euro 2016.

Defeat to Brazil – and a teenage Pele – would follow, but Wales and Medwin had made their mark on the biggest stage.

Forced to retire through injury after breaking his leg in 1963, Medwin went on to hold coaching or scouting positions with Cheshunt, Cardiff City, Fulham, Norwich City and back at the Swans before retiring from the game.