Swansea born left half Ronnie Burgess had worked as a miner and had been on the books at Cardiff City without playing for their first team, before joining Second Division Tottenham Hotspur from his local team Cwm Villa in May 1936. He was sent on loan to Tottenham’s nursery club Northfleet initially in 1937 and returned to Spurs, making his Football League debut at Norwich City in February 1939. However after scoring twice in 20 first team appearances his career was soon interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.
After the War he went on to captain Spurs to the Second Division Championship to get them back into the top flight after a 15 year absence, and then their League Championship winning team of the 1951 season. In total he scored 17 goals in 328 Tottenham appearances and was described as “one of the greatest Welshmen ever to grace English football. A grand tackler and a fine purveyor of the right type of pass… has proved himself as one of the finest players in his position in Britain.”
Burgess captained the Wales national football team and won 32 caps, scoring once for his country between his debut in a 3-1 win over Scotland at Wrexham in October 1946 and his final cap against Austria in May 1954. He also played for the Great Britain team against the Rest of Europe in 1947.
Burgess joined Swansea Town in August 1954 as a player and played until 1956, scoring once in 51 games for his hometown club, taking over as manager of Swansea Town from July 1955 to August 1958. He was then made manager of Watford in February 1959, where he steered the club to its first ever promotion in his first full season in charge, and nearly managed a second successive promotion the following year. However, Watford’s league form and Burgess’s popularity with the fans plummeted after he sold star player Cliff Holton, and he was sacked when the club were nearly relegated in May 1963. He subsequently managed Hendon, leading them to win the Isthmian League and FA Amateur Cup double in 1964-65, after which he became a coach at Fulham.
Burgess also acted as caretaker manager of the Wales national team for one match in 1965 due to the unavailability of team manager Dave Bowen. He managed Bedford Town from early 1966 until shortly after Easter the following year. He later became manager of Harrow Borough, before becoming a scout at Luton Town.