Roy Paul was born in South Wales, and like Billy Meredith before him he worked as a coal miner before making his mark in football. Incredibly as a boy he wasn't considered good enough for his school team, which he had three trial for. In his autobiography he writes: "I had three trials in the playground at the little school of Bronllwyn in my native village of Gelli Pentre. Each time I failed. Nothing I have ever suffered since - not even that Cup final defeat in 1955 - was ever quite as bad as the bitter disappointment I had at school."
He first made his mark playing League Football with Swansea and in 1950 was a star player in the Welsh club's forth round cup-tie against Arsenal. Paul played terrific and while Swansea forsook defence for attack, they nearly created a major cup upset. After that Gunners Manager Tom Whittaker made an offer for the tough wing half, but the offer was turned down flat by Swansea.
Paul eventually left Swansea for Manchester City in 1950, and captained the City side that took on Newcastle in the FA Cup final in 1955. The game was probably lost within the first minute when a stunning 45 sec. goal by Newcastle rocked the Blues. Paul tried to motivate the players, but when Jimmy Meadows got injured, and City was down to 10 men, loss was inevetable. Defeat was unacceptable to Paul and he vowed to return to Wembley with City the following year. He kept his promise and lead City to a convincing Cup triumph against Birmingham City in 1956. Some stories say that the City captain actually threatened the rest of the team to play well or else they'd have to answer to him! Wisely the players gave everything and lifted the trophy.
In June 1957, at the age of 37, Paul's time at Maine Road came to an end and he was allowed a free transfer to Worcester. He became their player manager, and later joined Brecon Corinthians and Garw Athletic. He also worked as a lorry driver back in South Wales for a time.
Overall Paul's time at Maine Road was highly successful, not only for the trophies he won, but for the enjoyment he brought to so many fans. His tough, determined, fearless approach provided City with the fighting spirit they needed and helped restore much pride to the club and its supporters. Roy Paul is one of the most important City players ever. He was also a great international gaining 24 of his 33 Welsh appearances while with the Blues. Every City side needs a Roy Paul, and every aspiring young player should understand how sheer determination to succeed can often prove the teachers wrong.
Provided by: "Manchester the Greatest City" by Gary James