‘My Dream XI’ – Mountain Rangers manager Alex Philp picks his team!

PICTURE by Mountain Rangers FC.

NEXT UP in the series is a man who is one of the most knowledgable around when it comes to football in the Caernarfon area.

Before he became Mountain Rangers manager last season, guiding them to a second-placed finish in the Anglesey League as the season ended abruptly, Alex Philp had been a player and manager for other clubs in the surrounding area and has played alongside and coached many a big name during those years.

As well as being manager of the Rhosgadfan-based Rangers, who only reformed in the summer of 2019, Alex is also known for being an author and a historian for his beloved Caernarfon Town FC.

Here, he’s picked a fantastic XI (with subs) who he says he’s been “very fortunate” to play with or manage.

Alex added: “I have left a lot of excellent players out, especially the young lads I coached at Caernarfon Town Academy who are all playing regularly in local circles now. These are likes of Dion Owen, Leon Owen, Iwan Bohana, Tomos Jones, Tom Philp, Ellis Thomas, Cai Tudur and Cai Penny to name a few. But, I am sure they will be included in a few select XI’s in years to come.

FORMATION: 4-3-3

GOALKEEPER – Neil “Ducks” Elias

Alex says: “This was a tough one with former Caernarfon Town keepers David Stulhfelder and Mark Owen both great keepers as is Jason Hughes at Rangers. However, I probably played more games with Ducks than any other keeper, a lovely fella off the pitch but a lunatic on the pitch, an incredibly good keeper, organised well and as brave as they come. Once took me clean out, and I was on the post for a corner. They say all keepers are mad…. And they are right.

RIGHT BACK – Martin “Biscan” Owen

Alex says: “What a heart, lighting quick and never shirked at tackle, his enthusiasm would rub off on others and exactly the type of player you wanted with you in a battle. Always first to the match and 100% commitment to the team, usually last home on the nights out.”

LEFT BACK – David “Wig” Bohana

Alex says: “I only played junior football with Dave, but he stood out then as being very skilful. He went on to join Caernarfon Town, Athletic then Borough and was in my opinion one of the best full backs the Town produced. One of many players on the list who probably should have played regularly at a higher level. Funnily enough I coached his son Iwan in the academy, and he had inherited his father’s skill on the ball.”

CENTRE BACK – Dylan “Jim” Rowlands.

Rowlands (third from left). Also pictured here is Dave Cavanagh (last but one on back row) who features later in this article.

Alex says: “For me, the best I played with, I learnt so much from Jim, a great talker and organiser, “I can still hear him screaming don’t dive in”. An Alan Hansen type of player who never ran, being such a great reader of the game, he didn’t need to. Always first on the dance floor on a Saturday night.”

CENTRE BACK – Steven Bee

Alex says: “Although Steve was coming to the end of his playing day’s he was still the best player on the pitch, incredible first touch and passing range. Steve was captain of the Welsh Under 18’s with players like Ian Rush and Glyn Hodges, as a youth at Manchester United, he played in midfield with Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside…….enough said.”

MIDFIELDER – Steven Bohana

Alex says: “Made the game look so easy, he sat in the middle of the park and controlled the game, fantastic passer of the ball who rarely gave it away. Played for Caernarfon Town and probably should have been there for years but Steve enjoyed the crack playing with his mates. Great player to have around the changing room.

MIDFIELDER – Waynne Phillips

Alex says: “Another player from junior days at Caernarfon United who you just can’t leave out. Was a winger as a young kid but moved to the engine room when joining Wrexham on a Y.T.S. scheme. Went on to make over 300 appearances for Wrexham and Stockport and was capped by Wales at B level.

MIDFIELDER – Michael “Chips” Williams

Williams on the ball with Philp’s featured Goalkeeper “Ducks” behind him watching on on the right.

Alex says: “Fantastic up front or midfield, to be honest you could play him anywhere and he would be class. A Caernarfon Borough legend who was a very clever player with a terrific finish on him. Old school 100% total commitment style of player.”

FORWARD – John Hayes

Hayes set a club record of 56 goals in a season for Mountain Rangers in 1993/94 – a record which still stands.

Alex says: “A local legend is no exaggeration when talking about this player, he was one of the most feared strikers on the North Wales Coast and was playing and scoring into his 50’s. Fantastic storyteller who would try any trick to score a goal, given the chance would put a shirt on now……and probably score or knock the keeper out.

FORWARD – Ian “Chops” Pleming

Pleming played for Mountain Rangers in the Anglesey League last season.

Alex says: “A natural goal scorer who should have gone further, you always felt that he would grab you a goal, and normally did. Although he grabbed a few headlines off the pitch at times he was another clever striker, great finisher, and a lovely lad off the pitch.”

FORWARD – Ian “Coppar” Clarke

Alex says: “What a player, had played for Caernarfon Town in the Northern Premier league and was in his 30’s by the time I played with him, but I have never seen anyone cross a ball like him, he could drill the ball from anywhere and land it on a 10 pence. Fiercely competitive and a true leader, Ian sadly passed away a few years back but will never be forgotten.”

SUBSTITUTES

Andrew “Ange” Craig (Midfield)

‘Ange’ is the uncle of Caernarfon Town’s Nathan Craig.

Alex says: “A proper midfield general, not the talest but would rarely be beaten in the air, loved a battle in the centre of the park and would normally win, had the knack of popping up with important goals. However, you wouldn’t want him in your quiz team, name a famous cowboy Ange, ……Tonto, enough said.”

Darren Ellis (Midfielder)

Alex says: “Felinheli lad who had bags of talent, always calm and composed on the ball, he could go past players like they weren’t there. Scored a load of goals from midfield and served Felin for many years. Loved his hair products if I remember correctly.”

Simon “Josie” Kay (Midfielder)

Kay hit double figures for Rangers in the Anglesey League in 2019/20.

Alex says: “My skipper at Rangers, all the lads have been great for me at the club, but Josie is the standout, a consistent performer, when you take him out of the side you realise just how important he is to the team. A fantastic reader of the game who has found his scoring boots last season, always says he is doing one last season so I will have him for another year, if he was as quick on the pitch as he is with the players fines, he would be playing for Barcelona.”

Steven Barry Hughes (Forward)

Alex Philp pictured with Hughes.

Alex says: “A very classy player who was top scorer for Caernarfon Borough and Bangor City reserves, his quality on the ball an unselfishness in front of goal made him invaluable to any team. Sadly, stopped playing far too soon and as with a few players on this list should really have played at a higher level. Loves his Karaoke but can’t get him off the mic … #thesingingtrucker.”

Dave Cavanagh (Forward)

Alex says: “Can’t leave the big man himself out, Cav took me under his wing and taught me so much about the game, and I still ask him for advice today. As a striker he was the big centre forward with a good touch and brilliant in the air. He played for both Caernarfon Town and Bangor City and is a must for any squad on banter alone. Quick as they come, you can’t get one over him in the verbal’s, and believe me people have tried. Our judge in the Sunday afternoon Kangaroo court trials,” whatever you got up to Saturday night” everyone was found guilty.”

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