A former Blaenau Ffestiniog man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Welsh football died following a fall at home, writes Gareth Hughes.

Melfyn ap Iorwerth Thomas - known as Mel - was a leading authority on the history of football, in particular the League of Wales and Welsh Premier League.

For many years he was the league’s statistician, producing a newsletter until two years ago. In 1995 he gave evidence for the FAW at the High Court over the refusal to allow three Welsh clubs that played in English leagues to play home games in Wales.

For 37-years he worked for Rehau Plastics in Blaenau.

A keen local historian, he was a driving force behind Cofio Cwmorthin Remembered, a voluntary group dedicated to preserving the heritage of the former quarrying community.

An inquest in Ruthin heard from Mel’s wife Mary who said she was woken on the morning of 20 November, 2023, by their dog. Mel was lying at the foot of the stairs at their home in Llandudno, having injured his head.

He was taken to hospital, where a scan revealed a skull fracture and brain bleed. Mel died the following day.

Mrs Thomas said Mel, 71, had several previous falls. Specialists said they were due to Type 2 diabetes and cerebral vascular disease affecting his balance.

He had appointments with the balance disorder service and saw a physiotherapist, but had been unable to carry out the exercises.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner John Gittins gave the cause of death as a fall resulting in a traumatic bleed on the brain, with the diabetes and cerebral vascular disease as contributory factors.

Friend and fellow statistician Ian Garland described Mel as “a true gent and a genuine giant of Welsh football”.

“He took on the League of Wales/ Welsh Premier League weekly newsletter from 1992 and co-ordinated the results, kept the media informed and massively increased the League profile,” he said.

“He issued his newsletter until he retired in 2022.”