Rarely do I receive text messages nowadays. Most of my instant messaging is done through WhatsApp. So on the rare occasion my text alert did sound I knew it was going to be from one of the following: voicemail notification, spam or Davy Lee.
When Davy sent a group text to everyone it was to informed the die-hards of Wrexham AFC about the next planned trips aboard TWATS travel — The Wrexham Away Travel Supporters.
It would mention the usual pick-up points and times plus the added bonus of a scheduled stop-off to sample the watering holes of a town within a 30 minute drive or so of the destination Wrexham were playing at.
That was one of the first things you learned about Davy — his willingness to ensure everyone had a good day out irrespective of whether Wrexham got turned over on the pitch. It was one of his many endearing qualities even if he was too modest to say.
Even the prizes for the coach quiz would make you chuckle — an out-of-date bottle of Lambrini and an 80s film on VHS, to name but a few of the most eloquent spoils.
We’ve lost so many prominent Wrexham fans in recent years. Chris ‘Scarfy' Williams, Sargey, king of the kop Jacko. And now Davy and Richie Moss within a week of one another.
All were loud and proud fans of their local team. Even if you didn’t see them (or know them) at games you would certainly hear them — all human foghorns, an outlet of their unbridled passion for Wrexham AFC.
The first time I met Davy I could tell he was going to be good for a laugh. His dry sense of humour would have you in fits of laughter. If he had a point to make he would make it quick and cutting— he tongue was as razor sharp as his wit.
During one of my early excursions aboard TWATS travel (then under a different guise before Davy opted for the schoolboy giggling acronym) Davy christened me ‘KP’ after noticing my shock of blonde hair in an otherwise spiky, dark barnet looked similar to that adopted by cricketer Kevin Pietersen. That’s what he told me anyway. I don’t think I would like to be compared to a brand of dry roasted nuts.
I can see him now, clear as day. As an old Navy boy he would ensure he looked the part outdoors. Neutral colour jacket with a zillion pockets (plenty of room for betting slips as he was a huge fan of the nags) paired with some straight trousers. A slight squint of the eyes and his head tipped back even so slightly, as soon as he saw you he would greet you warmly. The piss-taking and straight talking was never far behind, mind.
I loved the emphasis he placed on the word “shite!”, uttered so often following Wrexham performances of the past decade. For me, it became one of his trademark swear words, put-downs and even acted as an ice-breaker at times.
Despite his genteel nature Davy was no mug and would not suffer fools gladly. If you were late for TWATS travel departure by even just a few minutes, you’d hear him pipe up at the front of the bus: “right, fuck ’em. They knew the time. Let’s go.” Davy’s word was often final.
Everyone will have fond memories of him and one of the best ones I have dates back to an away-day to Bath City a decade ago.
After alighting the bus a few of us including Davy sought out a pub on the outskirts of the notoriously pricey city. We found one and wandered inside.
The locals immediately made us feel unwelcome and the landlord insisted we could have drinks in the beer garden at the rear. After walking that far out of town it felt like a compromise we had no choice but to accept.
At some stage during our a couple of fake fooligans decided they would make their presence known to us. You know the type, the ones that have listened to a few Stone Roses songs, have been romanced by the Madchester indie scene and think a pair of Adidas Sambas is the pinnacle of terrace fashion.
Maybe they thought they were onto an easy victory — take on a few fans wearing colours and an old fella who looks like he’s lost the rest of his Shearings Holidays group.
Not so fast boys. As one of the lads foolishly tried to get chopsy with us his hooky bucket hat was swiped from atop his bonce when his back was turned. I can’t quite remember if I took it and passed it to Davy, who promptly threw it onto the roof outside or vice-versa.
Either way, our childish high jinx was met with seething rage and embarrassment from ‘Our Kid’, who emerged from the pub frothing at the mouth. He started giving it the big ‘un once again only this time Davy had heard enough.
In a flash Davy put his dukes up like he was preparing for a Queensberry Rules battle — it was the most fluid I’ve ever seen him move.
The young lad had no idea what to do. No swinging arms, a rogue plastic chair sailing through the sky, nothing. Just a pensioner with his fists raised, rocking back and forth on his heels ready to flatten the little shit who had declared war on those who had revealed his awful haircut.
It remains one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen — a life-size Scrappy Do intimating to Faux Gallagher to ‘put ’em up’.
Needless to say Bath’s finest beat a hasty retreat and Davy got on with supping his pint like nothing had even happened.
Davy lived for life and carried one of those auras that very few have. I’ll miss his “AH-HEEY” when he found something so amusing he had to make everyone within earshot aware of it.
I’ll miss his dry humour and warm smile. I’ll miss his indomitable spirit — when he took a nasty tumble at home not so long ago he ensured the TWATS show must go on in his absence and that he would return asap.
I’ll even miss the impromptu texts offering advanced notices of overnight stays for Torquay away, signing them off with ‘no time wasters’.
The Racecourse, the terraces at away grounds, the Malmia pub in Protaras, Cyprus and the pubs and bookies of Wrexham…places he trod regularly won’t quite be the same for some time.
Thank you for the memories mate. Rest in peace.
***thanks to those whose pictures I’ve used here***