Tributes to former Swansea City footballer Mark Davies, who has died aged 49

Mark Davies collapsed on the pitch on Sunday. Credit: Media Wales

Tributes have been paid to former Swansea City footballer Mark Davies, who has died aged 49 after collapsing during a match.

The former defender was playing for Llanelli Town AFC's Veterans side in the over-45s cup final against Penybont FC in Cardiff on Sunday when he was taken ill.

Emergency services were called, but he was declared dead at the scene.

The popular player has been described by those who knew and worked alongside him as an "absolute gentleman" and "real football man".

In a statement, Swansea City said it is "deeply saddened".

A club spokesperson said: "Mark made three senior appearances for the Swans during the 1991-92 season, with two of those coming in the European Cup Winners’ Cup ties against Monaco.

"He had been a West Wales Senior Cup winner the year before.

"Those appearances in Europe saw the defender face the not inconsiderable task of marking a certain George Weah against Arsene Wenger’s Monegasques.

"Mark would make his league bow for the Swans against Huddersfield that same season, and would later represent Merthyr Tydfil and Llanelli following his release by the Swans, before an injury enforced retirement.

"The centre-back and full-back later played for the Reds’ veteran side, and was taken ill during their Wales Veterans’ Cup final tie against Penybont last weekend.

"Everyone at Swansea City sends their sincerest condolences to Mark’s friends and family at this sad time."

Llanelli Town AFC said: "It devastates us to announce the untimely death of our Veterans, reserve team player and friend, Mr Mark Davies. Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go to Mark's family at this sad time.

"Sadly, Mark passed away playing the game that he loved and graced for many years in this area.

"Mark also played for many years for Dafen AFC and our thoughts also go to his friends there.

"Mark will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him. Mark was a truly lovely guy, a gentleman on and off the field. RIP Mark".

Llanelli Town AFC Veterans added: "Heartbroken to announce we have lost an absolute gentleman on and off the pitch. A real football man who looked after all around him with passion and love for the game unrivalled. Thoughts are with Mark Davies’ family at this tragic time".

Penybont FC, Llanelli's opponents on Sunday, said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Llanelli Town Veterans player, Mark Davies, who sadly passed away following the Wales Vets Cup Final. Rest in peace Mark."

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said: "We are devastated to hear this - Mark was a football person and a Cymru supporter.

"May he rest in peace - from all at the FAW".

Mr Davies was a member of Swansea's West Wales Senior Cup-winning squad before signing a professional contract in July 1991.

Two months later, he was making his debut against Monaco in the European Cup Winners' Cup, featuring in the 8-0 second-leg loss to Arsene Wenger's team.

Davies made his sole league appearance for the Swans that same season and then joined Merthyr Tydfil in August 1992.

According to Swansea's club website, he then had to "give up football because of a medical condition, briefly resuming with Llanelli".

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: "Shortly after 3.40pm on Sunday, May 15, emergency services responded to a call following a report that a man had collapsed near Lawrenny Avenue in Canton.

"The 49-year-old man was playing football. Police Community Support Officers and paramedics were at scene and commenced CPR. However, despite their efforts, the man was declared deceased. HM Coroner has been informed."

"A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 3.27pm yesterday, Sunday 15 May, to reports of a medical emergency on Leckwith Road in the Canton area of Cardiff. We attended scene with an emergency care doctor and two emergency ambulance crews. No further details are available."

Llanelli's reserves fixtures against Pontardawe Town on Wednesday has been postponed to May 24 out of respect.