Cult Hero: Phil Dwyer

Cult Hero: Phil Dwyer

Only 10 caps for Wales, but a legend in Cardiff nonetheless.

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Every football fan has their own personal favourite. A player who catches your eye, a player you admire and for you epitomises everything you’d want to be if you were a professional footballer. The player may not be the most gifted at the club, but to you and many other fans he is a hero… A cult hero.

One such player for me and thousands of others was Phil Dwyer, of Cardiff City and Wales fame. A defender, Dwyer was as hard as nails, would run through a brick wall for the cause and the fans loved him for it.

Phil Dwyer made his debut for Cardiff City against Leyton Orient in 1972 playing at right back, a position he played a lot in the early days of his footballing career, but eventually moved to centre-back where his desire to win aerial challenges and rough up the opposing centre forward, delighted many fans at Ninian Park over those years. Dwyer, I think it is fair to say, was not a creative centre back who brought the ball out from the back or hit cross field passes to his wingers, but he could play a pass. is strongest attribute was his desire to defend and to stop the opposition scoring.

The uncompromising player played 471 matches for Cardiff City from 1972 to 1985, scoring 41 goals. Dwyer still holds the appearance record for the club after his 13 year spell at the club. He played the majority of his career at Cardiff City, but ended his career with Rochdale, where he played 15 matches on loan. Dwyer captained Cardiff City for 4 years during his time at the club and was a real leader on a football field.

In terms of his international career, Phil Dwyer made his debut for Wales in 1978 against Iran and scored the only goal of the game. In his second game, which came against England in the British Home Championship (I loved this competition as a child), Dwyer scored again in a 3–1 home defeat to the old enemy in front of his adoring fans at Ninian Park. Two games, two goals; not a bad record for a defender! Dwyer would go on to win 10 caps for his country; his final game in 1979 in a 5–1 defeat to international giants West Germany.

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