PICTURE by Wynne Evans shows Richard Owen.
IN A BRAND NEW series launching on AFEFootballNews, I’ve been asking managers and players from the North Wales football scene to name me their ultimate local dream XI.
First up is former Bryngwran/Trearddur Bay Bulls manager Richard Owen.
Before stepping down as manager of the club in 2020, he had guided them from being the best sides in Sunday League football to being one of the best at lower tier level in Saturday football.
Rich once took the club on an incredible three year unbeaten home run in the Sunday League between 2012 and 2015. But his biggest achievement arguably was finally securing the Anglesey League title and earning promotion to the Gwynedd League at the end of the 2018/19 season – a year in which they also won the Elias Cup.
Having overseen seen many a success at the Bulls during his decade or so with the club, he’ll have no doubt managed a number of great players along the way too.
Here, he picks what he considers to be the best of the best of that bunch …
RICHARD OWEN’S DREAM XI
GOALKEEPER – KONNER DRUCE
Rich says: “Konner a keeper who always shines – even as a 16 year old that I had in Sunday league days.”
He was part of the Bryngwran Bulls squad which won the Anglesey League in 2018/19 and was a huge asset to the renamed Trearddur Bay Bulls as they went up to the Gwynedd League last season too – helping them secure a top four finish.
He recently moved to Bodedern Athletic.
CENTRE BACKS (3) – TOM TAYLOR, RICH DAVID WILLIAMS AND HARI JONES
Rich says: “These three defenders need no explaining. All three were unreal players that won me and themselves a good few trophies at Sunday League Bryngwran Bulls.”
Taylor is an attacker-turned-defender who once notched 58 goals in a season for Pentraeth. He later moved to being a CB and has gone on to play for the Ynys Môn squad which won gold at the Island Games football tournament in 2019 and now plays for English club Bromgsrove Sporting.
Rich David (pictured above in his Bulls days) was a fantastic centre back for the club and is regarded by many on the island as one of the best defenders around. For the last four years, he’s been playing for Bodedern Athletic, where he is now club captain.
Hari Jones (left above) was a big part of the Bulls’ Saturday football days also, having won a cup double with them in 2017/18. He also played for the club in the Gwynedd League last season but has recently moved back to former club Llanerchymedd alongside a number of other familiar faces.
WIDE MIDFIELDERS – MATTY ROBERTS AND JORDIE MURPHY
Rich says: “Matty upped his game massively joined us in our first season in Anglesey League and quickly became a firm favourite and could play anywhere.
“Jordie joined us in a Sunday league season and absolutely ruined teams by himself at times fantastic player and a great lad in the dressing room as well.”
Since joining the Bulls in 2017, winger Roberts (above in red) was in brilliant form, notching up around 40 goals for the club, including one or two in cup finals before moving to Holyhead Town last summer. He’s a quick and direct attacking threat from out wide, both as a creator and a goalscorer.
Murphy (above) is one of the most naturally gifted attackers on the island. One of five footballing brothers, he’s won the Anglesey League, Gwynedd League and Welsh Alliance One titles, as well as the NWCFA Junior Cup and the Bet Fred Trophy twice on his way to becoming a tier two player with Llangefni Town last season. Jordie just recently move to fellow tier two club Holyhead Hotspur.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS – IOLO JONES AND MATTY REYNOLDS
Rich says: “Iolo joined me at the Bulls when he was 15 and gave me a 10 year service. I could have killed him at times but there’s no doubting his quality and he became captain at a young age too.
“Matty Reynolds was outstanding for us in our Anglesey League double-winning season (2018/19). He was a monster that was all over players in midfield and a great lad aswell.”
Jones’ (above) dedication to the Bulls has been nothing short of incredible – loyalty is hard to find in football at all levels these days but he’s got it in abundance and is now in his twelfth year there. He became super skipper for the club a few seasons ago and has been with them every step of the way on their rise to tier four football. He’s got plenty of heart, a great passing range and is never shy of a tackle – a proper leader!
Reynolds was sensational for the Bulls in the year they won the Anglesey League. He’s another one who controls the tempo very well in the midfield and is a serious talent. He’s now back with his former club Aberffraw, where he is again held in high regard.
ATTACKERS – ASA THOMAS, MATTHEW JONES AND CRAIG MOORE
Rich says: “Asa played for us in the same season as Jordie and scored goals left, right and centre. He’s an unreal striker, the best finisher I have seen to date.
“Few might not know Matthew but what a player he was. We had him in our Sunday days, he was powerful and direct and had a hell of a strike on him. It’s just a shame a bad neck injury stopped him carrying on playing.
“Midge (Craig Moore) – another lad who played Sunday league for me and came back and joined us in Saturday league and scored goals for fun.”
Most local football fans will know all about Asa of course as he is one of the island’s great goalscorers of all time. In 2019/20, he passed the 500-goal mark whilst playing for Holyhead Town Reserves. His greatest ever season saw him score a ridiculous 112 goals in just 47 appearances for a quadruple-winning Trearddur Bay United in 2010/11. Now 30 years old, he’s still banging in the goals – coincidentally for Trearddur Bay Bulls in recently friendlies under current manager Derek Thomas.
As Rich said, Matthew Jones (above with the gaffer) is not a player many would know of. Nevertheless, he as a forward who was a key player for the Bulls in the Sunday League days and a great goalscorer who is sadly no longer playing football.
Finally, you have Moore who is another top, top finisher on Anglesey. During the Bulls title-winning campaign of 2018/19, the speedy forward hit 61 goals for the club. Over the years, he’s been a great goal-getter for the likes of Trearddur Bay United and Holyhead Hotspur (first team and Reserves too). He recently moved to Gwalchmai who will play tier four football when a season can begin in future.
SUBS – ARWYN WILLIAMS, JAMES RYAN, DAVE JONES, ANDREW BAILEY AND HENRY CALDECOTT
Rich says: “Subs are, to be honest, mostly my local lads. Arwyn was another 10 year servant to the Bulls (and is still there now). Strong as an ox, loved a tackle which was a bit strange as he started 10 years ago as a winger but broke his leg in a friendly and returned a year later as a right back.
“Dave Bach was our first major signing in Sunday league. He was pure class and could play anywhere and loved a moan.
“Bailey was my first big signing in the Anglesey League that got other heads to join the club. Unreal work rate and could play in many positions.
“Henry was a fantastic player who could play anywhere at the back and won a couple of trophies while he was with us.
“James Ryan (above in Bulls colours). Narrowly missed out on the 11 but a crazy left foot – if he caught a ball it was in. He scored numerous goals for me as a manager and he’s a great lad aswell who always thrived for more.”
At the end, Rich adds: “If I forgot someone, which is more than likely because 3/4 of my Sunday league days I was fairly drunk that time of the morning, I do apologise!”
A fantastic team to start this series off!