Bill Carne bumped into Dave O’Gorman on a visit home to Haverfordwest from his work in Germany...

WHEN Dave O’Gorman popped home from his work in Germany recently we were delighted to catch up with a footballing veteran from Haverfordwest who is aiming for three figures as a member of the Welsh Supporters’ team.

Dave has a wealth of footballing experience behind him that includes Welsh League football with Milford United and Dinas Powys FC, assistant manager of Croesyceiliog FC (where they won the Welsh League cup), playing and management at Cardiff Met University, and currently with Celta de Vigo FC in Essen, Germany.

But above all in his footballing life is the fact that Dave has not only watched the Welsh Football team playing around the globe for almost 20 years but has also represented the Welsh Supporters’ team abroad almost 50 times, 35 of them as captain in countries like Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Israel, Ireland, Austria, and France.

“We have a very strong squad and we wear the full Welsh kit, but of course we have to fund our own kit and travel, which we are happy to do.

“We have won about 65% of the games we have played and we competed in a European competition in France but I had already booked a flight to New York before the quarter-final and couldn’t cancel it - and to say I was gutted is something of an understatement!”

Off the pitch he supports Cardiff City (from a nipper) and Rot Weiss Essen with a group of friends - and follows them all over Germany against teams like Cologne, Dusseldorf and Aachen in a useful standard that is equivalent to League Division Two of English Football.

That Dave should be involved in sport is perhaps inevitable because when he started out he had the full support of his parents, dad Colin and late mum Kathy, plus two sisters Karen and Suzie (Karen in Dubai, Suzie in Stroud).

“My dad has always encouraged me in sport and is a keen rugby and football fan. My mum used to watch me run cross country every lesson at school as she’d walk the dogs. She also came to every home game for Scarrowscant United, whom I played with from 8 until 15 at The Racecourse, and often helped with lifts for away games.”

Dave has also enjoyed other sports and one that he took part in at school might rank as one of his most memorable came as Dyfed 1500m champion and proud holder of a new Dyfed record of 4m 46sec in Carmarthen in 1988, after being Pembrokeshire champion at 1500m and 800m, both with new county records. Small wonder then that he finished as 3rd best in Wales at Cross Country in the 1989 AAA Championships in Newtown.

A newly-acquired sport since moving to Europe is snowboarding in a range of counties including Bulgaria, France and Austria.

“I did a fair bit of surfing when I lived in Pembrokeshire,” said Dave, “and that was certainly a great help with balance and mobility as my pals and I used to sneak down to Newgale before school - and sometimes during school,” admitted Dave with a chuckle!

It must have paid off because he also represented UWIC in the British Student Surf Championships in 1994!

“On the same theme I’m lucky that near Essen, where I live and work, there is one of the longest indoor ski slopes in the world and it is nice to go there for relaxation sometimes.”

Back on the football front, Dave also enjoyed a spell at Marble Hall, Milford Haven, in 1998 to 2000, playing mainly Pembrokeshire League first division stuff under the management of another real character in Ian Sturley. My favourite manger in my career!

“I had played in a good win on the Saturday and was halfway through my seventh celebratory pint of Newcastle Brown when Mike Lewis and Peter Fearn asked me to play for the 1st team in a League cup away in Pontardawe next day.

“It seemed a good idea at the time but we were 3-0 down at half time and I was praying to be dragged off the pitch. By 70 minutes I was ‘dead’ and all I could get for energy was Werthers Originals given to me by Steve Price from the touchline. We got back to 3-2 and to my delight we didn’t equalise and have extra time as all subs were done and there were no Werthers left. I swear by them for energy and haven’t downed a pint of Newcastle Brown since!”

Dave also played for Cardiff Met and had few run outs in the team for the Welsh League Reserve Division, both teams winning silverware in the season he left (It was Third Division Welsh League and Welsh League Reserve East). The first team are now Welsh Premier!

“When I’d retired from playing I still signed on at Cardiff Met FC and I was first team coach and 2nd team manager – and I was coaching at Cardiff Met FC when I got the job as a Business Intelligence Analyst for DB Schenker.

“It was too good to turn down but I’ve kept my association through current Cardiff Met manager Christian Edwards,  a great friend of mine, and I’m currently official International Scout for Cardiff Met, looking out for anyone in my travels who would benefit the university football team whilst gaining an education. I still get in the dug-out when back in Wales.

“I could not speak a word of German in 2013 so had to go back playing and I have learnt to speak a very good level from this team but need to learn how to handle German referee’s (I thought Welsh refs were bad!). I’m embarrassed to admit I have had cards aplenty and the next one is a 200 euro fine – and I’m injured every Saturday but somehow always fit on Wednesday to train!”

One could talk to Dave about his sport exploits for hours because he has a host of stories, not all suitable for this column – but he is a great ambassador for Pembrokeshire Sport in Germany and across Europe – and we look forward to another chat on his next visit home!