The new life of former Wales star and Sgorio presenter Malcolm Allen
Welsh footballing legend Malcolm Allen has talked of his new calling in life ahead of commentating on the Wales v England game tonight.
During his footballing career Deiniolen-born Allen played for Watford, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Millwall, Newcastle United and Stevenage and was capped 14 times by Wales.
Since the end of his playing career, he has regularly appeared on S4C’s football review programme, Sgorio.
More recently the ex-footballer has worked as a senior support worker with Antur Waunfawr, going on to lead teams of staff and individuals.
Antur Waunfawr is one of Wales’ leading social enterprises that provides employment and training opportunities to people with learning disabilities. It was the brainchild of R. Gwynn Davies, a pioneering disability rights campaigner, and by now it employs more than 100 staff and supports more than 65 adults with learning difficulties.
Prior to leaving for Qatar on Saturday, Allen spoke of the latest chapter in his career.
“It was about four years ago that I bumped into Haydn (Haydn Wyn Jones, Senior Manager at Antur Waunfawr) and offered my services as a volunteer,” he said.
“I knew Haydn as he was active with Caernarfon Town Academy, and soon after, I started working on the plastics line.
“The plastics line is a partnership between Antur Waunfawr and Cyngor Gwynedd where we sort the recycled plastics collected by the council lorries. I worked there during the pandemic, before moving to Warws Werdd, our second-hand furniture and clothing project.
“Now I lead a team here in Warws Werdd.
“There is an immense sense of job satisfaction here at Antur Waunfawr. You are working with friends.
“And I’ll say this now. Working for Antur Waunfawr has been as important to me as playing for Wales. That period was a privilege, a great source of pride, and the emotions are hard to describe.
“But the satisfaction I experience here at Antur Waunfawr is on par as what I felt playing for Wales.”
In anticipation of tonight’s game, Allen has contemplated Wales’ feat.
“When I arrived in Qatar on Saturday night, I got myself prepared for the Wales v England game,” he said. “I’ve lived my dream playing for Wales in the red shirt, but now I’m living another dream, talking about football, and getting paid for it.
“Of course, I don’t remember when Wales was last in the World Cup in 1958.
“It’s an incredible feeling
“And our small nation of just over three million people are seeing our national team on an international stage.
“It doesn’t surprise me considering how we’ve been playing recently.
“I know first-hand as an ex-player how the players will be feeling. It will be a new feeling. The world’s largest footballing stage, potentially the world’s largest sporting event after the Olympics.
“And Wales will be there, on the world map.
“But for me, more than anything, it means a lot that the Welsh language will receive such a prominent platform. The world will know that Wales has its own language.”
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