Tributes pour in for Terry Hayes as football in Welwyn Garden City mourns ‘local legend’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 August 2018

Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (far left) in action.

Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (far left) in action.

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Friends and former team-mates were literally queuing up to pay tribute to “local legend” Terry Hayes.

Tributes have been paid to Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (front row, second from left).Tributes have been paid to Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (front row, second from left).

Originally born in Plymouth, he was Welwyn Garden City Football Club’s record scorer, notching 214 goals in 401 appearances, also a club record, in three spells between 1977 and 1993.

He also played for Welwyn Garden United and Welwyn Arsenal on a Sunday morning and three things became very apparent listening to the stories that were told.

Tributes have been paid to Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (back row, second from left).Tributes have been paid to Welwyn Garden City's record goalscorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes (back row, second from left).

One said: “He was one of the best footballers we’ve ever seen down here, although probably one of the worst trainers I’ve ever seen in my life.

“If you couldn’t get the ball to his feet, he didn’t want to know but get him the ball and he would score a goal.

Former team-mates of Terry Hayes were at Herns Lane to pay their respects to Welwyn Garden City's record scorer and appearance maker. Picture: WGC FCFormer team-mates of Terry Hayes were at Herns Lane to pay their respects to Welwyn Garden City's record scorer and appearance maker. Picture: WGC FC

“He was that good, a class act.

“I don’t know how better to put it other any team you wanted to pick, you’d pick him first because he was just a quality player.”

The crowd at Herns Lane held a minutes applause for record goal scorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes before the match with Didcot Town. Picture: WGC FCThe crowd at Herns Lane held a minutes applause for record goal scorer and appearance maker Terry Hayes before the match with Didcot Town. Picture: WGC FC

Barry Hope said: “You could turn round to him and say ‘Tel, you’ve done absolutely nothing today’ and his reply would be ‘yeah but I’ve scored two goals’.

“That was his job and he did it so well. But off the pitch as well as on it he was a gentleman. I never heard anyone say a bad word against him.”

The family of Terry Hayes received a special jersey from the football club, presented by chairman Ollie Croft and secretary Ron Oliver. Picture: WGC FCThe family of Terry Hayes received a special jersey from the football club, presented by chairman Ollie Croft and secretary Ron Oliver. Picture: WGC FC

Dave Conroy was the goalkeeper behind Hayes and said he used to dread the times when Hayes did show up at training.

He said: “I used to come training when Johnny Sneddon was the manager and I thought if Terry Hayes turns up he’ll beat me every time and I’ll never get in the first team.

“Some people don’t get the respect they deserve but he did. He was a real goalscorer, a poacher.

“If you talk about local legends, he was one of them.”

Alan Skelton said: “I’ll always remember Terry from playing with him on a Sunday morning as a 16-year-old, from having a drink with him in later life and from Man Utd. And I’ll always remember him as a gentleman.

“He’s the leading goalscorer of all-time down here. Whenever the ball fell to him in the box he would put it in the back of the net.”

Mick Ford added: “Best goalscorer I’ve ever played with and I’ve played with a lot but before that, what a lovely bloke.

“I used to supply him and he used to bang them in. He did it day in, day out, week in, week out.

“As for training, he didn’t like it at all. He was a lovely man with a lovely family and he’d do anything for you.”

Welwyn Garden City held a special tribute for him before their game with Didcot Town.

Manager Adam Fisher said: “He would always stop me in the street and ask me how it was going. A minute’s applause was right as this was a celebration of his life and what he achieved.”

WGC secretary Ron Oliver said: “From our point of view Terry is in the history books for what he has done and everyone at Welwyn Garden City Football Club misses him.”

He leaves wife Jenny and three children, Nick, Alex and Beth. His funeral will be at Harwood Park Crematorium in Knebworth on Tuesday (2pm). The wake will be at The Shamrock Club.

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