Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Tragedy of 'Tich' Evans

I've always intended doing some stuff on a player that never really gets any exposure - why would he - as it was so very long ago. He was one of these players that burst on to the scene as a bit of a star and one to watch. Think along the lines of Whitlow, Tapscott etc.
'Tich' Evans was not only a bit of a character, but was also an excellent football player. Unfortunately, his Barry career almost entirely spanned the War-time friendlies during the First World War, so details of him are scant. In the first War time friendly - against the Royal Glamorgan Fortress Engineers - he bagged a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.  He then scored 6 in a 9-1 win over County.   He scored against Cardiff, Swansea, and Ton Pentre (in a game that marked Barry Town's first ever visit to Ynys Park on  April 21st, 1916).
By the time the War was over, there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of players between all the major south Wales clubs as their usual players were still being de-mobbed etc. Evans ended up assisting Swansea Town.  The boy, it seemed, had the world at his feet.  Surely Tich Evans must go down as the very first Barry Town 'export'.  Formed just 2 seasons previously, Barry had to import players.  With the first XI posted around the country - or at the Front - there were opportunities for local amateur lads to come through.  Tich Evans was an instsant hit.
After the War, Barry had properly reformed, and were looking forward to starting the club up again for the 1919-20 season. There was a bit of a stink in the press after it was announced he was to be permanently transferred to Swansea Town as he was so highly regarded there. Evans was so popular, even his wedding that summer made the local papers. At the time the Barry board were saying 'Hey, we got £100 for him. We're not getting that from anywhere else." The next thing you knew he had committed suicide after his wife's death. Most of the reports afterwards simply mentioned 'tragic circumstances' but never went into details.
It makes for some pretty gruesome reading.  However, 'Tich', thanks for everything mate.  I hope I've brought your good name back to life in a small way.
Here's the original article, announcing his sad demise just months after his big move to Swansea Town;

Barry Herald

Friday, January 2, 1920

A sensational discovery was made at Swansea on Thursday afternoon the week before last.
‘Tich’ Evans, one of the principal players in the Swansea Town Association team, was found on the Vetch Field with his throat cut, his head being almost severed from his body with a razor tightly grasped in his right hand.
It is stated that he had been depressed owing to the recent death of his wife. He was a native of Cadoxton-Barry and was one of the most popular players in the team. He was son of Mr and Mrs Evans, 21 Fairford-street, Cadoxton-Barry, who are exceedingly well known and respected in that district.
He commenced his football career quite early in life, having played for Hannah-street School and in later years for Cadoxton Old Boys. He then came under the notice of the Barry directors, and for about five seasons played on the left wing for the Seasiders, where he always played a great game.
It was, whilst in Barry, employed as a boilermaker at the Barry Graving Dock. In July last he married a Cadoxton girl named Miss Fannie Hawkins, who died a fortnight ago.
This is the fourth death Mr and Mrs Evans have sustained in the past two years, one being their other son Willie, who was killed while serving in the Navy.
Until this season ‘Tich’ had been on the list of the Barry Club, and although Barry secured £100 for his transfer, Swansea has been offered by Tottenham Hotspur four figures to release him.

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