Former Jamaica, Cavalier and Santos football legend William “Roy” Welch died at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Saturday night after battling cancer.
He was 73 years old.
Welch, the youngest and third brother to represent Jamaica in football, following in the footsteps of twin Art and Asher, who are four years his senior, has been hailed as a humble and well-loved individual by those who were close to him.
Renown as a hard kicker of the football, Roy was more famous as a central defender who formed an impregnable pairing with David Bernard Snr for Cavalier, then known as “Duncan Destroyers”.
Bernard Snr, who met Welch at a training camp in 1969 when both were invited to Jamaica’s national team training ahead of the CONCACAF Finals in Costa Rica, told the media that Roy was “a kind man always willing to help others” and was “big-hearted and the kind of player you would want to go into battle with, fearless and brave”.
He remembered Roy as a “quiet man, not much of a talkative person, with a reserved personality, who was Godfather to two of my daughters”.
“He was a good team player giving his all even when injured. He will be missed by all who knew him very well.”
Meanwhile, Wayne Shaw, president of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association, and a close friend of Roy Welch declared that Jamaica had lost another outstanding servant of football and a legendary player for his much loved Cavalier Football Club.
Welch coached several teams in KSAFA both at Senior League and Business House competitions, and Shaw says, “He was also a coach of his community team, Maxfield Park Football Club, where they competed in the Major League competition and was also the coach for Scotiabank for over 20 years.”
Welch was the recipient of the Abe Alexander Memorial award in 2006 for his contribution to football in Jamaica and was recently honoured by Masters & Celebrities at Bell/Zaidie Football Game also for his contribution to the sport.
Roy also played cricket for Kensington Cricket club and coached Ardenne High School from 1978-1982 in the Manning Cup competition, where the team made it to the final but lost to Errol Blake-led Camperdown High School in 1979.
He also coached Trench Town in both Manning Cup and Sunlight Cricket competitions.
“A humble and well-loved individual, he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones and we honour his legacy. May his soul rest in eternal peace” ended Shaw.