How do you write a tribute article to a mate you know played football but whose career you know little about?
Oh, and by the way you are not allowed to ask him any questions as the write-up has to be a surprise?
Well, you do a bit of research and trust to luck that you end up with something decent. I’ve been doing this for 34 years, so no excuse for failure really.
First of all, happy birthday David Cooke, born on April 19, 1978.
This Denbigh lad is best known for his achievements in the sports of football and darts.
As I worked for the local press in Dinbych up until 1998, I can remember David’s early career, playing for Denbigh Town’s youth teams and rising up the ranks to represent mainly the senior third team Albion and the Reserves.
Once I left the area and lost a bit of touch with Vale of Clwyd football, I must admit I followed David’s progress less closely.
However, from conversations since and some general research, I discovered the big defender was part of the most successful Caerwys FC squad in history.
After finishing Clwyd League Premier Division runners-up on goal difference in 1999-2000, the Lon-yr-Ysgol club were promoted to the third-tier Welsh Alliance for the first time.
Although they spent seven seasons in the league, the Flintshire side never managed a top-half finish, but in 2003-04 they reached three major cup semi-finals including the FAW Welsh Trophy and the North Wales Challenge Cup under the guidance of Russ Pierce and Mark Speakman.
David was part of the side alongside local talents such as Jimmy Griffith, Darren Edwards, Neil Edwards and, surely Caerwys’ greatest ever, Richie Roberts.
Caerwys were relegated at the end of 2006-07 and about the same time David’s career was ended at 28 following a knee operation. He also represented Trefnant Village on the local football scene.
Football runs in the family as David’s younger brother Richard Williams-Cooke played in the Welsh Premier League for Newtown, as well as shining at Denbigh Town and Ruthin Town among other teams.
In 2013-14, RWC managed Denbigh to the Welsh Alliance title, the side going through the entire season undefeated.
And David and Richard’s step dad, Bill Dawson, was boss of the first Denbigh Town team to be crowned Welsh Alliance champions back in 1995-96.
After retiring, David started the rebirth of Denbigh Wanderers in 2011, after the town had not had an over-35’s side since 2005.
The team made great strides in a short space of time and in 2013 were crowned Shotton Steel Veterans Cup winners with a 1-0 victory over Saltney Vets. They were also runners-up 12 months later.
David stepped back in 2017 due to other commitments, but since then the side has been revived by Kev James and they currently compete in the North East Wales Veterans League.
Married to Sarah, David has three sons – David Jr, Alfie and Thomas.
David Jr plays football and has impressed locally. He is also a highly promising young sports writer and on that score, David Sr is no slouch either, his excellent darts reports proving very popular in the local press.
He also does the occasional bit of research for my website Grassroots North Wales. A right useful diamond he is.
And what about the sport of darts?
A good friend of former BDO world champion Mark Webster, David formerly played for the Hope & Anchor and Golden Lion, but in more recent years has been part of a Wingmen outfit who scooped three consecutive Summer League titles and multiple nine-a-side cups.
Looking back, I’ve written twice as much on David than I do on many birthday subjects!
So I’ve not done too bad…..just have to hope all the information isn’t wrong now! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Happy birthday David, have a fantastic day. You’re a brilliant dad, husband, son and friend who can always be relied upon for a cheerful chat and encouraging word.