Final farewell to Vetch hero
SWANSEA has said goodbye to a "talented footballer, cricket player, good friend and devoted family man" in two moving services.
Geoff Thomas was a talented midfielder who played 357 league games for Swansea City Football Club between 1965 and 1976, scoring 52 goals along the way.
A former captain of Swansea Schoolboys, he became one of the first apprentices at the Vetch in the early 1960s.
He later became a Mumbles Cricket Club stalwart as both a player and groundsman.
Geoff, who was known to many by his nickname Janner, passed away, aged 64, earlier this month following a battle with cancer.
His family held two services, one in All Saints Church in Mumbles and the other in Swansea Crematorium, to reflect the two sporting loves of his life.
Central to his life, however, were his three grown-up sons, Lee, Carl and Jamie.
The Rev Keith Evans said: "He will be remembered for what he did for the community of Mumbles and the wider community of Swansea as a much-respected professional football player and, particularly, his love for his three boys."
Thanking people for their sympathies and huge turnout at both services, Carl Thomas said: "It's been a tough couple of weeks. It's great that you have all turned out to celebrate Geoff's life in this horrendous weather, it's quite overwhelming.
"It's a big comfort to us."
Messages of condolences were sent by the Swansea City's present day players and staff, while former Swan and teammate Vic Gomersall paid tribute to his friend.
He said: "It's a tribute to Geoff that so many of us former players, who are getting on a bit, have made it out in these horrendous conditions."
Mr Gomersall had the crematorium service in howls of laughter when he recalled the squad used to do training runs from the Vetch to Mumbles and back; one day Geoff won praise for being first but he had caught a ride on his friend's milk float.
Praising his talent, he added: "Janner would have loved to have played on the modern pitch, the way he used to spray passes about. In the modern game he would have been a real star."
He also recalled his friend being given a chance at Manchester United but getting homesick.
Signing off, he said: "I just loved him to death, he was a great man, he was one of the boys and he is going to be truly missed."
John Blyth, from Mumbles Cricket Club, said: "He will be sorely missed, he's irreplaceable."