Danny Williams (footballer, born 1924)

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For other people named Danny Williams, see Danny Williams (disambiguation).

Danny Williams (born 20 November 1924) was a footballer and football manager. He was born in Thrybergh, South Yorkshire.

Playing career[edit]

He spent his entire playing career with Rotherham United F.C. as either a left-half or inside-forward between 1945 and 1966. He made 461 league appearances and 621 first-team appearances in total for the club.

Management career[edit]

He managed Rotherham United (1962-1965), Swindon Town (1965-1969) and (1974-1978), Sheffield Wednesday (1969-1971) and Mansfield Town (1971-1974).

He led Swindon to an unexpected 3-1 victory over Arsenal to win the 1969 Football League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. The winger Don Rogers scored twice.

Following two successful spells at Swindon, he spent several years as general and commercial manager.

Career at Swindon Town[edit]

A one club man as a player, Danny Williams made over 450 appearances for Rotherham, and it was there that he started his managerial career. He was appointed as manager of Swindon Town in July 1965, after the controversial sacking of Bert Head.

Williams' first job was to rebuild the team that had been relegated the previous season. The Town were in debt, and both Mike Summerbee and Ernie Hunt, perhaps the club's two most influential players at this time, were sold to balance the books. Nevertheless, Williams' brought in some cheaper, competent replacements, and the Town finished seventh in their first season back in Division Three.

Over the next couple of seasons, the Town's main achievements came in the cup competitions - and it has been written that at this time, Swindon were so good at beating higher league opposition that it was almost expected of them. In the 1966-67 season, the Town reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, in a run which included a famous victory over West Ham United, who boasted three World Cup winners (Moore, Hurst and Peters) in their side. Though Geoff Hurst repeated his Wembley hat-trick at Upton Park, the Town won a replay, before despatching them 3-1 at the County Ground.

It was in the League Cup, however, where Williams' major achievement came. In an epic cup run in 1968-69, Swindon were to play eleven matches en route to Wembley, the club reaching the first major cup final in their history. Against all the odds, they shocked Arsenal in the final, winning 3-1. It was an amazing result, Swindon becoming only the second Third Division side to lift the trophy. Williams had signed eight of the players who made up the squad.

Despite the sapping cup exploits, the Town still managed to keep up their league form, and, at the end of the season, were promoted in second place, and thus completing a brilliant double. Unfortunately for Swindon, Williams left the club shortly before the 1969-70 season began, when he accepted the manager's position at First Division Sheffield Wednesday.

Williams returned to the club towards the end of the 1973-74 season, after Les Allen's unsuccessful managerial spell left Swindon floundering at the bottom of the table. With relegation virtually assured, all Williams could do was prepare for the following season in Division Three - and he started by releasing twelve of the first team squad. The Town just missed out on promotion at the first attempt - finishing just two points behind third-placed Charlton Athletic.

Williams remained in the manager's seat for three more seasons, before moving upstairs into a "General Manager" position in May 1978, where he stayed until 1985. He now lives in retirement in Newmarket.

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