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Welsh football legend Terry Yorath talks about the highs and lows of his life in ITV Wales documentary

Credit: ITV News

Welsh footballing legend Terry Yorath talks openly about the personal tragedies and triumphs that have shaped his life in Terry Yorath: Life on the Edge on ITV Cymru Wales on Monday, 23 October (8pm).

It is a sporting success story threaded with pain and loss.

The programme also features contributions from Terry’s daughter, sports broadcaster Gabby Logan, and other family members. The programme is narrated by actor Rhys Ifans.

Football glory

Featuring clips from his footballing career, the programme chronicles the 50 years since Terry signed with Leeds United for whom he made more than 100 appearances.

The early 1970s were a golden age for Leeds and for Terry’s career. He was a key member of the championship winning side of 1973-74 and became the first Welsh footballer to play in a European Cup final.

Terry made 59 appearances for Wales, 42 as captain. The team reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship in 1976 - their first major competition in almost 20 years.

He later managed the national team. Under him, Wales attained what was then their highest ever FIFA ranking of 27th in August 1993 and came close to qualifying for the 1994 World Cup tournament.

These days Terry works for Leeds United as a host - sharing his football memories and expertise with fans. Yet Terry’s roots are in Cardiff and for the programme he revisits his old family home in for the first time in 50 years.

Personal tragedy

Terry also talks frankly about the dark times in his life: the death, at age 15, of his son Daniel as a result of an undetected heart condition; the Bradford City Stadium fire tragedy in 1985 from which he and members of his family, including Gabby, were lucky to escape; his arrest in 2004 after a drink-drive car accident; and his battle with alcohol.

As Gabby tells the programme: 'A lot of tears have flowed in his life.'

Reaching for a glass of whiskey at the end of the day to try and numb the pain, it’s self medicating isn’t it?

And you can understand when somebody’s lost a child, how that happens.

He’s had an extraordinary life but he’s faced so many different tragedies.

But it’s been very inspiring growing up with my dad because you have somebody who’s put themselves on the line, to forge a career and battle against the odds.

– Gabby Logan
Credit: ITV News

The death of her elder brother, who collapsed in the back garden of the family home while playing football with Terry, is something her father has never fully come to terms with.

“No-one can tell you how to grieve,” explains Terry in the programme.

There was a time shortly after Dan died when I just couldn’t stand it.

His death was a nightmare.

And time’s not a healer.

It’s something you never get over.

– Terry Yorath
Tottenham Hotspur's Terry Yorath in action against Manchester United. Credit: PA

For the programme, producers Alan Golding and Carwyn Jones took Terry back to the landmarks in Leeds and Cardiff that have shaped his life.

Events in Terry’s personal life have cast a long shadow.

In the film he shares those heartbreaking experiences with candour and courage.

But he’s also a wonderful raconteur when it comes to his sporting career.

His re-telling of that fateful match in 1976, when he missed a penalty in Wales’ quarter-final defeat against Yugoslavia, reveals his humour and humility.

– Carwyn Jones, Producer

Terry Yorath - Life on the Edge, Monday, 23 October, 8pm ITV Wales