AS IT’S Valentine’s Day today I thought I’d come up with this one-off article just for fun in tribute to eleven (and a manager) of the most well-loved footballers on the island.
These are just a few active Anglesey players who have been shown a lot of love, support and words or encouragement during my time covering Anglesey football. Put simply, you just can’t hate these guys!
Goalkeeper – Paul Pritchard (Llangefni Town)
Vastly-experienced keeper who made a return on loan to Llangefni Town just last week.
With his parent club Porthmadog’s season in tier three called off for 20/21, Pritchard has opted to sign temporarily for Town who play in the tier two JD Cymru North league.
During a glittering career to date, the 35-year-old shot-stopper has made more than 100 appearances in the Welsh Premier League for the likes of Caernarfon Town, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Rhyl.
Pritchard has also played for tier two clubs such as Holyhead Hotspur, Glantraeth, Llanfairpwll and Porthmadog, who were relegated from tier two last season.
A confident and assured presence at the back, Pritchard captained the Ynys Môn side who won gold medals at the Inter Island Games Football Tournament on home soil in the summer of 2019.
He’s a much-loved and very well-respected figure on the Anglesey football scene.
Right back – Tony Meyer (Holyhead Town)
A player who has been a very underrated figure in the Anglesey League over the years. Meyer is a versatile player who has played in a number of positions in the past, but is mainly deployed as a winger/full-back.
When I first started covering the league in 2017/18, the pacy Meyer was with Bryngwran Bulls and was a part of a very successful side under Richard Owen. During his four seasons there, the club won several trophies and promotion to the Gwynedd League (2018/19).
Meyer moved to former club Fali when last season began and instantly became a part of their starting eleven. He then switched to a Holyhead Town side who were really beginning to turn a corner just as the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
He was a huge part of that progress at the club and I’m sure he’ll continue to prove his class for the Harbourmen when a season gets underway in future.
Top player who a lot of people only have great things to say about.
Centre back – Alex Jones (Holyhead Hotspur)
Super skipper who led Holyhead Hotspur to the Welsh Alliance One title in 2019/20.
Centre back Jones, another who was part of the Ynys Môn men’s side who won gold at the Island Games on home soil in 2019, was superb throughout the most recent campaign.
A real rock in defence, Jones also contributed ten goals in all competitions for the club as well as a goal for the club’s Reserves side in the Anglesey League.
In what was his 13th year with the club, the centre back once again proved why he’s one of, if not the best CB, currently playing on the island.
He’s a real gem within Darren Garmey’s side and a player who a lot of younger players look up to.
Centre back – Sion Emlyn Davies (Llangefni Town Reserves)
A defender who can play anywhere across the back line that first impressed on the local football scene with Llanfairpwll when he was just 16 and the club were playing in the Welsh Alliance.
Davies, now 20 years old, really began to showcase what he could do for the club – even more so when they eventually dropped down to the Anglesey League.
An energetic and hard-working defender, he quickly became a key part of Llanfair’s side that season and so it was no surprise to see title-chasers Bryngwran (now Trearddur Bay) Bulls swoop into sign him.
But, after game time being limited there, Davies would return to Llanfair where his brother Owain broke through into the first team last season at just 16 years old.
Having spent half of last season with Llanfair, 20-year-old Davies made the switch to Llangefni Town Reserves. He’s since gone on to surely become one of the first names on the team sheet for Gafyn Buckland’s side and was also appointed club captain recently.
A great footballer, great lad and great young entrepreneur too – as he’s one half of the popular ‘Arfordir’ clothing brand based on Anglesey.
Left back – Phil Jones (Hotspur Reserves)
Very few 16-year-old’s could’ve made the impact this young man did in their first season in senior football.
Jones was a superb component within Tom Scott’s young and exciting Holyhead Hotspur Reserves side, playing as a full-back.
A breakthrough star in the Anglesey League, he was instrumental as the club finished third in the table on Points Per Game and reached the prestigious Dargie Cup final v Cemaes Bay (although that was never played due to the Coronavirus pandemic).
Jones also picked up six goals in all competitions and his performances did not go unnoticed higher up at the club either as he even made an appearance for the Holyhead Hotspur first team.
He’s a player who has a very bright future ahead of him in my opinion and is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, much to the admiration of many involved with Hotspur and beyond.
Central midfielder – Mike Edwards (Hotspur Reserves)
One of my favourite players to watch in the 2019/20 season, ‘Eddie’ was the older and more experienced head in the otherwise youthful Hotspur Reserves side.
The team, led by player-coach Tom Scott who was in his first season managing the side, were on of the most well-organised and thrilling sides to watch.
Edwards, a former Holyhead Town midfielder, ran the show in the middle of the park on a number of occasions for the Reserves. The 30-year-old’s composure, movement and passing placed him a level above a lot of the other middle men in the division.
A former Tranmere Rovers youth player, Edwards also popped up with eight goals during a memorable season for both the club and the player.
Anyone who has played alongside him or watched him play will testify that he’s one of the best around on his day.
Central midfielder – Keenan Downey (Cemaes Bay)
Club captain at the Bay who, after coming through the youth ranks of the club, knows what it means to play in that all red kit (although he’s shown in all white above!).
After some time away from Cemaes with Welsh Alliance side Bodedern Athletic, the 23-year-old returned to School Lane in the summer of 2019 – alongside a host of other former players who were reunited with returning manager Darren Thomas and his assistant Alan Gray who had also made their way back to the Anglesey League club.
And in the season that followed, Downey was to be one of the stars at the club and, indeed, in the league as a whole.
A strong of impressive performances saw the player score 15 goals and assist 19 for his team-mates in just 22 appearances during a season in which he also suffered an injury which kept him out for weeks.
A player admired by many too for his raw footballing talent.
Central midfielder – Deion Evans (Llanerchymedd)
A very popular player who recently featured in my North Wales Footballing Families series alongside his father Medwyn and late brother Chris.
25-year-old midfielder/attacker Deion will be a familiar face to many as a hard-working and reliable player for the likes of Llanerchymedd, Bodedern Athletic and Gwalchmai over the years.
The former Wales youth player (below) has recently re-signed for Medd who he will play for in the new-look North Wales Coast West Division One when football resumes.
A former Tranmere Rovers and Shrewsbury Town player, he’s a player who is one of the most talented midfielders around on his day and one who many have sung positive praises for in the past.
Attacker – Corrig McGonigle (Conwy Borough)
He may not be playing on the island anymore but for so many, Corrig is the best of the best to have been produced on Anglesey in recent times and he continued to prove his class in the second tier of football with Borough last season.
The prolific forward, who is from Llansadwrn, scored 24 goals to finish as the Cymru North top scorer with the Tangerines.
Despite only being 24 years old, McGonigle has already amassed more than 300 goals during his seven or so years as a senior footballer. His most prolific one came whilst at Pentraeth in 2015/16, where he hit 64 goals and secured the Bob Brodie Trophy (prize given to Anglesey’s top scorer annually by Dave Jones of Grassroots North Wales).
He then secured that trophy again in the following season by hitting 57 in the Welsh Alliance with Glantraeth as the club secured promotion and a cup and title double.
The gifted forward’s knack for scoring goals is incredible and it’s been my opinion for a number of years now that he’s destined to play Cymru Premier football someday soon.
A player held in high regard by so many on the island and b
Attacker – Dave Baston (Menai Tigers)
Many a Menai Tigers supporter and those involved with the club regard this man as their favourite for his efforts with the club over the years.
Baston may not have featured as often as he has done over previous years for Tigers last season, but he still contributed six goals in just eight appearances during a campaign in which they finished third in the Gwynedd League table.
And the 2019/20 campaign was a significant one for the much-loved forward as it was his tenth season with the Tigers.
Baston, who is from Llandegfan, is currently the longest serving member of the squad and is one of the most decorated too – with the most recent success for the Tigers coming in 2018/19 when the club won the Gwynedd League and cup double.
The 30-year-old was the club’s top scorer in 2017/18 and last season saw him score a crucial goal against Talysarn Celts in the quarter finals of the NWCFA Junior Cup – a match which would turn out to be the Tigers’ last official match to date.
A hard-working player and a great finisher, Baston is a huge part of the Tigers squad and is something of a club legend by now. He’s irreplaceable in the eyes of many at Menai Tigers!
Attacker – Dylan Summers-Jones (Llangefni Town)
Spent last season playing for the Gwynedd League champions Bangor 1876, but the superb footballing talent that is DSJ was made on Anglesey having represented Gaerwen, Llanfairpwll and Llangefni Town at youth level and he is now back with the latter’s senior side as of last month.
The season itself couldn’t have gone any better for 1876, as they won all 16 of their Gwynedd League matches to storm their way to the title. They also scored a ridiculous 115 league goals in that many matches in the division and conceded just nine.
For Summers-Jones, 17 when the season started, it was the campaign he would go on to make a real name for himself alongside some more experienced players such as former Welsh Premier winners Les Davies and Michael Johnston who were also with 1876.
And yet it was this young attacker who finished as the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 41 goals and scooped the Supporters Player of the Season prize to cap off a truly wonderful season.
He’s certainly one which many football fans from Anglesey and the whole of North Wales are keeping a close eye on right now.
Manager – Sean Brett (Glantraeth)
A coach who has inspired so many players down the years and deserves recognition for his efforts within the grassroots game on Anglesey.
In truth, I could’ve picked any number of people for this spot – from the brilliant Ricky Williams at Bodedern Athletic to the dedicated Chris Roberts at Llangefni Town and the much-loved duo of Spud Thomas and Vinny Walker to Lee Potter, who had been a brilliant servant to Bro Goronwy before moving to Cemaes Bay last summer.
However, I’ve gone with Brett as he’s one whose name has a come up a lot and yet I haven’t given much credit to as of yet.
A manager who’s helped shape the careers of several local players over the years, including Caernarfon Town attacker Sam Jones (who played under him for Menai Tigers), Brett has enjoyed many a success down the years.
His most recent silverware success came in 2018/19, when he led the Tigers to the Gwynedd League and cup double.
Last season, he joined Glantraeth where he had began to really turn their season around before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
A top manager and a top bloke too, as many who know him will tell you, and he’s a man who still has so much to give in seasons to come.