PICTURE by Chris Willz Photography and Film.
WHEN you look at the best goalscorers Anglesey has ever produced, it’s very hard to look past Asa Thomas as one of the finest of all time – and he’s recently just past the 500 goal mark to prove that.
The prolific forward hit 19 goals for Holyhead Town in Welsh Alliance Two before the club folded in December 2019, meaning that the goals he scored there were expunged.
As a result, the first of two goals he scored in Holyhead Town Reserves (who then became Holyhead Town as there was no first team), in a thrilling 7-6 win at Bodorgan in the Anglesey League, proved to be his 500th career goal.
Soon after, Thomas made the switch to local rivals Holyhead Hotspur, where he went onto score six goals for The Reserves in the Anglesey League and four for the first team in Welsh Alliance One before the season came to an abrupt end due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, the 29-year-old currently stands on 511 goals amassed during a free-scoring career on the island.
Having first appeared on the footballing scene for Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic in 2007/08, it’s fair to say that his most memorable campaign came in 2010/11. A then 19-year-old Thomas hit an incredible 112 goals (which included 25 hat-tricks) in just 47 appearances for Trearddur Bay United as the club won a quadruple – a goalscoring feat that doesn’t look like being broken any time soon.
His full goals record is as follows (stats courtesy of Grassroots North Wales) :
2007/08: 32 at Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic
2008/09: 37 at Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic
2009/10: 29 at Holyhead Town
2010/11: 112 at Trearddur Bay United
2011/12: 41 at Trearddur Bay United/Holyhead Hotspur
2012/13: 48 at Morawelon
2013/14: 49 at Morawelon
2014/15: 22 at Gaerwen
2015/16: 48 at Trearddur Bay United
2016/17: 26 at Trearddur Bay United/Holyhead Hotspur
2017/18: 45 at Holyhead Town
2018/19: 20 at Holyhead Town
2019/20: 12 at Holyhead Town/Holyhead Hotspur
Total = 511 goals
News of Thomas breaking the 500-goal mark means he joins an elite group of North Wales footballers who have also surpassed that milestone.
Rhyl FC legend Don Spendlove was another free-scoring forward who bagged a record haul of 629 goals for The Lilywhites in the 1940’s and 50’s. Not even an offer of £7,000 from Tottenham Hotspur was enough to make Rhyl let go of their beloved hero – who had twice hit more than 70 goals in a season. Dubbed ‘Great Don’ and widely-regarded as North Wales’ best ever non-league footballer, Spendlove passed away aged 90 in March 2013.
A little closer to home for Thomas though was fellow Holyhead Town stalwart Tommy Welsh (above). Known as the Town and the club’s greatest ever goal-getter, Belfast-born Welsh hit 631 goals during an illustrious career in the 1950’s and 60’s (which also included spells playing for Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bethesda and Colwyn Bay). Just like with Spendlove, Tottenham came in to try and lure Welsh away from the island, as did West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Doncaster Rovers, but the legendary forward stayed loyal to Holyhead until the end. Welsh passed away in April 2019, aged 90.
Make no mistake about it, Thomas’ goal-scoring record has placed him into North Wales football folklore for many, many years to come.
In terms of professional football, he’d be joining the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pele, Gerd Muller and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 500+ goals club. And, in terms of local football, he’s probably been the equivalent to those players over the last twelve years.