The signing of a 21-year old Gavin Williams from Hereford in June 2002 was arguably the key that turned Yeovil into not only Conference title contenders, but eventual champions by a comfortable distance. After scoring six goals and ten assists in the title-winning season, he would go on to be the player of the season in Yeovil’s first Football League campaign. At a time when the Glovers found goalscoring the most difficult part of the step up, he was the club’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 9 assists, including a spectacular solo effort against Kidderminster and a last minute winner in the last game of the season against Lincoln.

In the following season that would eventually see Yeovil crowned champions of League Two, he sustained a wrist injury in the second game that saw him miss the early part of the season. He returned in dramatic fashion, scoring a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win at home to Swansea, annoying the opposition with his customary Cardiff ‘Ayatollah’ celebration even though it was not in front of the away fans (this time). Knowing it would wind up the opposition fans, he was well known for his eye for mischief.

Gavin scored two goals and four assists from 14 starts that season, before being sold to Championship side West Ham for £250,000. His other goal was in the memorable game against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, which saw the home side have two men sent off but still come back to draw 2-2. It was an excellent move which was started in his own half and then finished off with a curling shot by the Welsh wizard. It was always eventful with Super Gav around, such as the time he had a penalty saved against Shrewsbury on the day Yeovil went top of League Two in 2004 – it was ordered re-taken for an infringement, but the re-take was saved again, the only time I think I have ever seen a penalty missed twice (or saved, to be fair). His last action in his first spell for the Glovers was to be (rightly) sent off in the away game at Lincoln in November 2004. Although it was his only straight red for us – his other dismissal against Torquay in 2004 coming for two bookings – let’s be honest he came close to a few others as he was a player who liked to tread that fine line when it came to discipline, and as we all know he loved to wind up the opposition players and fans.

Gavin’s first goal for West Ham came in the 2-1 defeat at Leeds in February 2004. West Ham were on their way to promotion from the Championship, and once they became a Premier League club he found it difficult to break into the team, making only one appearance in the League Cup. He was loaned out to Ipswich in November 2005, making the deal permanent for £300,000 during the transfer window.

He remained at Ipswich until 2008 when, finding his first team opportunities limited, he linked back up with Gary Johnson for a second time, signing for Bristol City where he joined his former team-mates Lee Johnson, Michael McIndoe and Chris Weale.

Towards the end of his time at Bristol City, we were unexpectedly reunited with Super Gav when he was brought in on loan by manager Terry Skiverton in 2010 – we have covered his second debut before, as in typical Gav fashion he got one goal, one assist and a red card all in just over an hour. He scored five goals in that loan spell, and came back for another loan in 2010/11 before re-signing permanently at the age of 31 at the start of 2011/12. During that season, he was reunited for a third time with Gary Johnson, returning as manager in January 2012, and went on to make a further 28 appearances in the League One promotion season in 2012/13. He scored several more spectacular goals in those latter spells, including that game against Hartlepool, away at Oldham, at home to Scunthorpe which was unfortunately lost in the fog, and then his final goal for us was probably the best of all, at home to Oldham again.

Gavin left us for the final time in the summer of 2013, following promotion to the Championship. After a brief spell at Woking during which he scored five goals, he packed up football for good in December 2013, calling time on a career of 558 games and 92 goals.

Or so he thought.

Following the death of his father, Gavin’s contract with Woking was terminated by mutual consent so that he could return home to Merthyr. He had no intention of getting involved with football there, but Merthyr Town manager Garry Shephard called him to ask if he wanted a game, and kept calling and calling until eventually he said yes. In 2014, he became assistant manager, stepping up to manager from 2016 to eventually calling it a day in 2021. He saw the club through some very difficult times financially, and at one point was told he had to make a 70% cut in the playing budget before the next game. Despite some players offering to play for free, he did not feel it was fair to ask them to do that as he could not guarantee their future wages, so for one game against Chesham he was forced to field not only youth team players, but also members of his office staff. With a 15-year old in goal and one of the office workers at centre half, Merthyr lost 13-1 in a game that has gone down in the club’s history.

There is an an article on the Wales Online site which goes into the situation and is well worth a read.

There is also footage of a goal the player-manager scored in the FA Trophy against Cinderford in 2016 which, even at the age of 36 evoked the Gavin Williams we all knew from his time at Yeovil.

 


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