Moses Russell - Merthyr Town Hall of Fame


Moses Russell was born in Tredegar, in Monmouthshire and after leaving school he began work as a coal-miner. In his leisure time he played both association football and rugby as well as being a boxer and competent swimmer, once rescuing a drowning child from a river. His first professional club was Ton Pentre, whom he joined in 1911 before transferring to Merthyr Town later that year. Whilst with Merthyr Town, Moses helped them win the South Wales & Monmouthshire FA Cup.

He made his debut for Wales playing at left half against Scotland on 2 March 1912. The first player to be capped by Wales whilst with Merthyr, there would only be one other in our history.

In the summer of 1912, Moses left South Wales to join Southport but with the club having financial problems, he returned to Merthyr Town on a free transfer in February 1913, rather than take a cut in his wages. Whilst with Merthyr Town, he gained his third "cap", against England on 16 March 1914.

As a result of a bout of rheumatic fever, Moses lost most of his hair; his bald head made him appear some years older than his true age. As a result, several clubs rejected him as a "veteran”

In the summer of 1914, Moses signed for Plymouth Argyle for a club record fee of £400 but soon the opening of hostilities interrupted his career.

During the First World War, Moses served as a private in the mechanised transport section of the Army Service Corps, receiving the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

In the summer of 1930 he was transferred to Thames A.F.C. who had just been elected to the Third Division South, at the expense of his former club, Merthyr Town.

Having made the first three of his international appearances before the First World War whilst with Merthyr Town, Moses became a permanent fixture in the Wales team during the early 1920s, missing only one international match between 1920 and 1925.

Moses’s biggest moment was probably scoring the winning penalty to defeat Ireland 1-0 in Belfast in 1924 to secure the Triple Crown for Wales.

Although Moses made no further full international appearances after 1928, he accompanied a Welsh party that toured Canada in 1929 In a match at Hamilton, Ontario, play was getting a "little rough" when Moses fouled one of the Hamilton players, George Chambers. This precipitated a pitch invasion by the Hamilton supporters who surrounded Moses, who ended up leaving the pitch on a stretcher. Some reports claim that during the altercation, one of the spectators threatened Moses with a pistol.

Russell made a total of 23 appearances for Wales. He played 314 times for Plymouth Argyle and is considered a legend in South Devon. Now we confer the same status on him for his early career at Penydarren Park.

 

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