TRIBUTES have been paid to Jimmy Cardno, one of the legendary figures in Rhyl football history, who has died aged 74.

Cardno is best remembered as the 50-goal hero of the 1971/72 Cheshire League championship winning side.

But his footballing exploits took him all over the world as he played for teams in Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore and Holland.

During his latter years he lived with Alzheimer’s before succumbing to coronavirus. His wife of 40 years, Angie, paid tribute to her husband as “the love of my life”.  

The couple have three children – James, Calum and Alex – and five grandchildren – Kaitlin, Chloe, James, Jack and Sienna.

After football Jimmy Cardno had several jobs, including financial adviser and, prior to retirement, he was working for Royal Mail.

Angie Cardno said the final weeks had been difficult. because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“Fortunately his room was on the ground floor of the nursing home so we could communicate through the window,” she said.

Born in Scotland in 1946, Cardno was a pupil at Rhyl Grammar School and it was here his football abilities first caught the eye as he represented Wales Schoolboys.

He also went on to play for Wales Universities at the age of 18 and was by then a regular in Rhyl’s first team and attracting attention from Football League teams.

However, with relatives in Canada, Cardno decided his fortunes lay overseas and he spent three years playing for Toronto Royals in Canada and later for Santa Monica in the North American League.

Back in Rhyl he enjoyed his best ever season in 1971-72 when he scored 50 goals - 35 of them as Rhyl won the Cheshire League. Among his personal highlights was banging in five goals against Llay Welfare in the Welsh Cup and both goals in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Chester. Rhyl eventually went out to Cardiff in the semi-finals.

Cardno resumed this globe-trotting career with spells in Australia and Singapore before returned to Belle Vue.

A spell with Dutch Division One side Harrlem followed with Caernarfon-born Barry Hughes as manager.

After Holland, Cardno played for several teams across North Wales, including Caernarfon.

Because of a dual qualification, Cardno also won a Scottish Amateur Cap in 1972, when he turned out for Scotland against Ireland at Paisley.

When Rhyl Football Club set up their Legends Lounge, Jimmy Cardno was one of the first names on the guest list and he was later inducted into the Rhyl Hall of Fame.

Former Rhyl Football Club committee member Barry Jones recalled watching Jimmy Cardno as a young fan at Belle Vue.

“I can remember the sense of excitement of going to watch him play at Belle Vue. He had such a presence on the field and something always seemed to happen when he had the ball. He was one of the greatest players to have played for Rhyl. We later became great friends. I am sure he will be missed by those who have watched Rhyl through the years.

Cardno’s father - also called Jimmy - also played for Rhyl. In the fifties he was part of a team which swept all before them and included Rhyl greats such as Don Spendlove. He was in the team which won the Welsh Cup for the first time in 1952.

The funeral is on Wednesday, February 3, at St Thomas Church, Rhyl, at  11am followed by cremation at St Asaph.

The family asks that those who wish to pay their respects should line Vale Road, Rhyl at 11.30am as the funeral  cortege passes.