When AUOB Cymru announced the line-up of speakers for the March for Independence in Merthyr on September 7th, it was the presence of broadcaster and rugby commentator Eddie Butler that arguably caused the biggest buzz on social media.
The 63-year old former Welsh rugby international played his club rugby for Pontypool from 1976–1990 and was capped 16 times for Wales between 1980 and 1984 and scored 2 tries.
Now perhaps better known for his mellifluous voice and on-screen partnerships with Brian Moore and Jonathan Davies, the ex-Wales captain also writes for the Guardian and has presented a number of programmes on TV.
While understandably wanting to keep his powder dry ahead of the march in just over a week he says is ‘fully on board’ with the independence movement and can’t wait for the third March for Independence.
Looking forward to the rally, which is expected to attract several thousand marchers, he said: “I have been waiting for this movement, this awakening, for a long time – and feared that I would not see it in my lifetime.”
“I am fully on board and the Merthyr March has been indelibly inked in the diary for weeks.”
“I should be honoured to say a few words.”
He joins a list of speakers that includes another sporting legend, goalkeeper Neville Southall, who made a club record 578 appearances in the Football League and Premier League for Everton and was capped 92 for Wales between 1982 and 1998.
Southall said: “If Wales is to reach its full potential it needs to be funded properly, unfortunately, we as a nation will never get the money off Westminster it needs, we are like a modern-day Oliver Twist condemned to keep going back with our begging bowls.
“Asking for more and more, more for the NHS, the police, the fire service, the armed services, education and social services to name a few.
“We will never get enough to run it as we want so we need to shape our own futures, we have in my opinion, the most beautiful country in the world full of passionate, clever, innovative people.
“We need to let these people make our country great ,believe in them and give them the resources to make this brilliant country of ours world leaders. It’s time to let this dragon breath fire. Independence can set the dragon free.”
Organised by YesCymru and AUOB Cymru the previous marches have put the issue of Welsh independence on the UK and international news agenda.
The first march in Cardiff raised eyebrows with a turnout of more than three thousand then in June an estimated 10,000 crammed the narrow streets of Caernarfon and the historic Castle square.