Ron Stitfall: Stalwart of Cardiff City FC

Ron Stitfall belonged to that remarkable group of footballers who pledged their allegiance to one club throughout their career. In the case of Stitfall, he played for his home-town team, Cardiff City, as man and boy and never dreamt of moving anywhere else.

Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes apart, the days of the one-club stalwart seem to be a thing of the past. As Giggs, also born in Cardiff, prepares for his 19th league season at Manchester United, he has just overtaken Stitfall, who spent 17 seasons in the Football League with the Bluebirds, although his link with the club stretched over a quarter of a century.

Marked out for stardom from a young age at Moorland Road School, Splott, Stitfall played for Cardiff Boys and the Welsh Schoolboys in 1939/40. He came from a soccer-mad family and was a regular on the terraces at Ninian Park as a schoolboy, along with his brothers Albert and Rob.

All three eventually made it onto the staff at Cardiff City and Ron and Albert played together in the Football League, although Rob, a goalkeeper, never made the first team. Ron went on to the Cardiff City books at the age of 14 and made his début a year later in a war-time clash with Cardiff's deadly rivals, Swansea Town. In those days he received five shillings tea money for home games and seven shillings and sixpence for away matches. In the 1940/41 season he played in nine different positions.

In 1943, aged 18, he joined the Army and went on to play centre-half for the Combined Services. Once the war was over he returned to Cardiff and signed as a professional at Ninian Park.

Ron Stitfall made his Football League début at Brentford on 18 October 1947, and turned out for the 398th time against Norwich City at Carrow Road on 14 December 1963. When you add in his appearances over that time in the FA and Football League Cups, his grand total reaches 421. At the time, that made him the third Cardiff City player to pass 400 games and even today he stands fourth on the club's all-time appearance list. More than 100 of those appearances came in the First Division, with the remainder in Division Two.

Twice he helped steer Cardiff into the First Division and he also picked up two Welsh Cup-winners' medals, in 1956 and 1959, and was a losing finalist in 1960. He had to battle with the England B full-back Charlie Rutter for his place in the side and eventually formed a regular partnership on the flanks in defence with Alf Sherwood. It was fitting, therefore, that the two should have lined up together for Wales at Wembley when Stitfall won the first of his two international caps.

England ran out winners by 5-2 on his début on 12 November 1952, but Stitfall tasted victory in his second Welsh appearance, against Czechoslovakia at Ninian Park in a World Cup qualifier on 1 May 1957. Wales won 1-0.

When Stitfall's playing contract was ended by Jimmy Scoular in 1964, he coached the club's youth team, a side that at that stage included one of Cardiff's greatest sporting sons, John Toshack. A qualified FA coach, Stitfall became trainer at Newport County in the 1970s, coach to the Wales youth team in the Seventies and, finally, kit man for the Wales senior team.

Rob Cole

Ronald Frederick Stitfall, footballer and coach: born Cardiff 14 December 1925; played for Cardiff City 1947-64; capped twice by Wales 1952-57; married (one son, two daughters); died Cardiff 22 June 2008.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea