26 September

On this day in 1973 Trevor Hockey became the first Welsh international to be sent off.

Hockey was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1943, the son of a Welsh rugby player who had moved to the north of England to earn a crust playing rugby league.

And Trevor had inherited his father’s ball skills – albeit with a round ball rather than the oval kind – Etifeddodd Trevor dalent ei dad gyda phêl – er mai pêl gron oedd yn mynd â bryd Trevor yn hytrach na’r bêl hirgron – signing for Bradford City in 1960.

He made his first appearance for the Bantams as a 16-year-old in the old Third Division but it wasn’t too long before he was attracting the attention of clubs at the top level.

He moved to Nottingham Forest in 1961 for £15,000 and was thrust straight into the first team, making his mark as a tough tackling, no nonsense player.

After to seasons at the City Ground it came as a bit of a surprise to Hockey to be sold to Newcastle United where he spent two realtively frustrating seasons before moving to Birmingham City.

His time at St Andrews was also a frustrating time, with the Blues missing out on promotion time after time, but Hockey himself was popular with the fans who gave him the nickname ‘The Beatle of Brum’ because of his long hair and straggly beard!

In 1971 Sheffield United came in for Hockey with a £40,000 offer and, despite being club captain, Hockey found himself on his way back to Yorkshire.

But there was even better news to come for Hockey as Fifa relaxed their international selection criteria.

No longer would a player have to play for the country of his birth, Fifa would now allow players to play for the country of their parents’ birth too.

The Football Association of Wales were in touch with Hockey straight away and he became the first Anglo to represent Wales when he made his debut in a 3-0 thrashing of Finland at the Vetch, Swansea in October 1971.

He scored his only international goal against Poland at Ninian Park in a 1974 World Cup qualifying match, but he will always be remembered for what happened during the corresponding fixture in Katowice.

In a bad tempered match which saw plenty of bad tackles by both sides, it wasn’t a surprise that the referee had had enough before the game was over.

And unfortunately for Hockey it was his tackle which was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the official was concerned and he was sent off!

Hockey didn’t play another game for Wales, and it seems a tad unfair to remember him, not for his nine caps or the goal against Poland but for being the first Welsh player to be sent for an early bath!