Swindon Town were devastated to hear of the passing of one its most successful managers of all time with the news of Danny Williams’ death, at the age of 94.
In two four-year spells at the County Ground he presided over almost 450 games, leading the club to a ‘double’ in 1969 – lifting the League Cup at Wembley and promotion from the third tier.
Earlier, as a player, he had made a club record 621 appearances for Rotherham before taking the managerial reins there in 1962.
Born a few miles away, at Thrybergh, Danny progressed to league football the hard way - putting in a shift at the mines at Silverwood Colliery on a Saturday morning before playing in the afternoon.
Appointed to the Swindon job in June 1965 in succession to Bert Head, Danny brought a string of players who would be influential to the club - at bargain prices. Peter Downsborough, Mel Nurse, Stan Harland, Joe Butler, Willie Penman, Pat Terry, Peter Noble, John Smith and Frank Burrows all gave sterling service.
Peter Eastoe, Jim Barron, Colin Prophett, Trevor Anderson, Steve Aizlewood, Ray McHale, Russell Lewis, Chris Kamara and ‘Chic’ Bates followed during his second spell at the County Ground, from 1974 to 1978.
Prior to the events of 1969, Danny’s Town had hit the headlines early in 1967. Drawn away to West Ham – featuring World Cup winning trio Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Bobby Moore – in the Third Round of the F.A.Cup, the Hammers were held 3-3 by Swindon before suffering a 3-1 defeat in the replay in Wiltshire.
Danny convinced his troops that they could beat anyone – and that was proved time and time again during the League Cup run when Town saw off higher League opposition five times to lift the trophy. After reaching Wembley just before Christmas he had told them to ‘forget about the Final and concentrate on the League games – they are much more important’.
After handing over to Bob Smith in 1978, Danny moved ‘upstairs’ to become general manager.