While Steve Gerrard was preparing for his final home game at Anfield, another long-term career was coming to a fitting end in Cardiff a few hundred miles away.
Only two people in the history of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame have received the honour bestowed on Dave. All three have the distinction of being regarded as honourary Welshman. In Dave’s case, his Cornsish ancestry stands him in good stead.
Rhodri Morgan read out Dave’s citation:
Every now and then we come across a compelling case of someone who has provided outstanding service to Welsh Sport that might not merit inclusion on our exclusive Roll of Honour, but we feel certainly needs to be recognised.
Tonight we are delighted to announce that we have uncovered a servant for the greater good of Welsh sport as a whole whose name we shall be adding to those of Lord Jack Brookes and Ceri O’Donnell who we have honoured in this way in the past.
Where to start is the thing. Maybe as far back as the seventies I suppose because that is when our special recipient first began lecturing here in Cardiff. Since then tens of thousands of students have come under his influence in his various guises at what is now Cardiff Metropolitan University.
For the past 37 years he has lectured, inspired and fought for better facilities for his students. Countless champions from a whole array of sports have benefitted from his tireless work.
Last week he received a standing ovation from the Cardiff Met School of Sport students representing sports from cheerleading to trampolining, swimming to lacrosse, football to triathlon. It was the 37th annual sports award evening – he organised the first and has attended every one.
It was a moving occasion for everyone involved. His commitment to sport at the University and beyond is incredible and the partnerships he has struck with local authorities and governing bodies have been innovative, ground breaking and of great benefit.
Dave received his award from Lynn Davies and Richard Tong.
I had the good fortune to work with Dave from 1991 to 2002. This amounts to less than a third of his time at an institution that has changed names many times in Dave’s tenure. He links the Cardiff College of the 1970s with the Cardiff Met of the second decade of the 21st century.
It is remarkable that someone can give service for thirty-seven years and do so with increasing energy. Dave has facilitated and overseen incredible infrastructure and governance changes that most would find difficult to comprehend. All this seemed natural to him.
Whilst I am in awe of Dave’s achievements as an administrator, I would like to pay particular tribute to him as a teacher and coach. I do hope he will not be offended by me calling him one of the expert pedagogues of his generation.
Dave’s understanding of people and his ability to put them at ease are very special qualities. He has been the custos of an educational tradition at Cyncoed that has been made possible by his, and other colleagues’, commitment to a one institution career.
Some people have questioned whether there will ever be another 700+ game, single club player in professional football. I think the same question arises in Dave’s case with regard to his service.
In his professional lifetime, he has exemplified a polymath ability that will become rarer in higher education. We will all be the poorer for the absence of a Dave Cobner in our lives.
Gans gorhemynadow a’n gwella, Dave.