GARETH DAVIES will be a proud man at Wembley.

Every effort has been made to make sure the former Reds captain, who is now in a care home suffering from dementia, will be in the crowd on Sunday with co-owner Ryan Reynolds playing his part in making sure one of the club’s greatest ever players is there to watch another memorable occasion.

Davies did an interview in The Leader four years ago, prior to a 40-year reunion of the 1978 Championship-winning side.

And here it is....If there’s anyone who can tell you just how good the Wrexham team who lifted the Division Three title in 1978 were, then it’s the man who played almost every minute of the never-to-be-forgotten season. The captain, Gareth Davies.

The classy centre half led Wrexham to a treble that season, the league, the Welsh Cup and the Debenhams Cup as well as captaining a side that reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup.

“Shinton, Whittle, McNeil, Mickey Thomas,” recalled Davies speaking four years ago ahead of a Wrexham reunion of that title-winning side.

“They were all brilliant players, except for me! What a team! It was just a pleasure to be part of it, never mind being captain of what was probably the best Wrexham team ever.

“Time’s flown but there were so many good times, not just that year but my whole time with Wrexham Football Club.”

Davies, who has struggled with his health in recent years, fighting prostate cancer and Alzheimers, first moved to Wrexham in 1967 and played 598 times for the Reds during a 16-year stay at the club.

Alvan Williams signed him, John Neal nurtured him and Arfon Griffiths - who Davies describes as the best player he’s seen in a Reds’ shirt - made him the leader of Wrexham Football Club’s greatest ever team.

“Arfon was the best player I’ve played with,” added Davies."He must have been good. He went to Arsenal but obviously missed Wrexham so much that he soon came back.

“He was a tremendous servant to the club and it was right that he went on to manage such a great team.”

Griffiths is Wrexham’s record appearance holder but Davies isn’t far behind and neither is his love of Wrexham, from his early ‘digs’ days in Caergwrle to running pubs like the Cross Foxes in Abbott Street.

Davies was in his element, reliving stories and anecdotes from his wonderful days with this wonderful club.

His short-term memory was troubling him at the time but Davies was so at ease reliving the glory days of the past.

“I was 18 when I came to Wrexham,” added Davies, who just like another Wrexham great, Joey Jones, was born in Bangor but lived in Llandudno.

“I was on £25 a week in season and £12 a week in the summer. Not a bad wage in those days,” said Davies.

“I soon got into the first team and managed to stay there.

“John Neal brought some great youngsters through the ranks, Mickey, Joey, Dave Smallman and we got better and better.

“We deserved to go up the season before the title-winning season but it was such a heart-breaking end, losing at home to Crystal Palace and Mansfield on the last day.”

Wrexham got it right 12 months later, celebrating promotion in style - a 7-1 thrashing of Rotherham in front of 16,000 fans.

“What a way to do it,” added Davies. “We were 5-0 up at half time. It was a great day for the club and the fans. The Kop was bouncing.”

After losing out to a Kenny Dalglish hat-trick as Liverpool beat them 3-1 in the League Cup quarter-final at The Racecourse, Davies thought Wrexham had a real chance of making it all the way to Wembley in the FA Cup.

“I thought we were going to do it and we would have beaten Arsenal had it not been for that South Walian referee. So many decisions went against us that day,” added Davies, who recalls a League Cup tie at Charlton in the August of the season when he sensed Wrexham were destined for glory.

“We were at Charlton for a second round tie and we were absolutely brilliant. I think it was that game when I realised just how good we could really be.”

Davies’ faith was rewarded when lifting the Division Three championship trophy on May 1 1978.

“We should have moved on from that but players moved on and I don’t think that team really reached its full potential,” said Davies, who remained at the club until 1983 and managed to attract one of the world’s greatest footballers ever to play for Wrexham in his testimonial match.

“Alan Jones and Chris Jones from the Village Bakery were on my testimonial committee and at the time, George Best was trying to get back into football,” recalled Davies.

“Alan said we’d try him and George came and played for Wrexham for £500. I still love that picture of me and him in the dressing room before the game.”

Davies has so many more memories from his playing days but probably the best is the fact that he played under the wrong name and wrong birthday for many years.

“I got a call-up to play for Wales in Italy in 1969 but I hadn’t got a passport” said Davies. “I was Davis without an ‘e’ and my birthday was wrong too. But I still went down as Davis in the Wrexham programme for years!”

It was quite ironic that Davies went on to make the most appearances in Europe than any other Wrexham player, including a run to the European Cup quarter-finals against Anderlecht in 1976 and a trip across the Berlin Wall in East Germany.

But it’s Wrexham where Davies feels at home and although he doesn’t watch the current side in their years of struggle in non-league football, he loved seeing Darren Ferguson and Gary Bennett in Brian Flynn’s attack-minded sides of the mid-Nineties or the Reds’ memorable FA Cup win over Arsenal in 1992.

“I was there,” exclaimed Davies. “Steve Watkin and Mickey Thomas. Wrexham were 500/1 to win at half-time but we did it. Another great day for the fans of this football club.”