The death was announced yesterday of former City centre half Danny Malloy who spent six years with the club after signing from Dundee in 1955. I’m too young to have seen Danny play for City, but he is someone whose name nearly always crops up when I discuss great City players with those old enough to have seen him turn out for us.
Under the circumstances, it seems best that I leave it to one of those who grew up watching Malloy play for us, so here’s what regular correspondent Dai Woosnam has to say about him;-
“I saw every home game that Danny Malloy played, and a fair smattering of his away games too. Along with John Charles, Ivor Allchurch and Graham Moore, he was one of the only 4 TRULY GREAT players I saw in a City shirt…I was a bit too young to see Alf Sherwood, other than a couple of games.
Best memory? Not the promotion game against Villa when he spoke from the grandstand to us kids who had spilled on to the pitch in delight. But that amazing game on 28 December 1957 when City were beating LIVERPOOL 5-0 at half time! We kids in the Boys’ Enclosure could not believe it. Nor could manager Trevor Morris as he warned City at half time that “we have not won the game yet!”
And captain Danny famously replied “Och, but we are slight favourites though boss, eh?!”
I remember how after every game, we would run after him for his autograph as he emerged into the car park. His big black car was always gleaming and some boys would put their sweaty fingerprints on it to get their balance, as they jostled for position to get his autograph. And Danny would always sign every one. But the fingerprints would exasperate him. And he would be unable to contain his slight annoyance: he would raise his voice slightly and say “Och, get away from the CAR please laddie!”
Ah, halcyon days indeed.
And the staggering thing is this: for a tenner a week Cardiff let their star player go after the first of the two seasons in the top flight. He was on the then maximum wage of £20 which was abolished that year. He wanted a 50% increase. Bill Jones turned this down by saying “No player is bigger than the club”. (Ah but it turned out that Danny almost WAS !!)
Johnny Haynes was also on the same £20, but that same summer got a staggering 400% increase to become the first £100 a week footballer …and Malloy was every bit as good a footballer, and just as VITAL to the Bluebirds, as Haynes was to Fulham. He wanted a tenner pay rise, not EIGHTY.
We went into the second season with Splott-born Frank Rankmore, who was a decent centre half who looked a bit like Burt Lancaster. But he wasn’t the commanding centre half that Malloy was, and more importantly, was not the LEADER of MEN.
Cardiff have never had such a leader since.
And you know, I genuinely believe that City would have stayed up that second year were Danny at the helm. And who knows? They may then have consolidated and consolidated and done an Arsenal or Everton and never left the top flight since!
All for a tenner! Half a century in the wilderness resulted. Let it be a warning to us all, not to be too parsimonious.”