PICTURE by Holyhead Town FC
UP NEXT in this series tonight is a man who has spent his whole footballing career – both on and off the field – in the Holyhead area of Anglesey.
As a player Stephen ‘Mark-yo’ Owen played mostly in the Sunday League for the likes of the Foresters Arms, MEM, The Kings Arms, South Stack and the Boston. He also turned out for Trearddur Bay and Holyhead Hotspur Reserves in Saturday football.
As a coach, he managed youth teams at Holyhead Hotspur for many years before he decided to move into coaching mens football and helped out with Hotspur Reserves and Valley.
Now with Holyhead Town, he was a player-manager with the Reserves side (who became the first team after they fielded) in the Anglesey League last season. On the pitch, he was an experienced head in a otherwise youthful but promising side which also included his son Luke in goal. In early 2020, he stepped up as official first team manager – just before the pandemic struck and is now coaching alongside David Jones.
Here, Stephen picks his ultimate team of local players he has played alongside down the years alongside some others.
He says: “My 1-11 players are the ones I’ve played with but on my bench I am naming some young players who I’ve known through my years of coaching at youth levels and are ones to keep an eye on.”
GOALKEEPER – Paul Pritchard
Stephen says: “A great shot stopper, his distribution is excellent and a very good talker on the pitch.”
RIGHT BACK – Andrew Cooke
Stephen says: “I had some bruising encounters with Cooke. Tough tackling defender you would rather be with than against.”
LEFT BACK – Mike Edwards
Stephen says: “A player who is so technically gifted and makes the game look easy, scorer of some brilliant goals could even of put him left wing.”
CENTRE BACK – Andrew O’Malley
Stephen says: “A man mountain. O’Malley read the game well, solid at the heart of defence very quick for them last ditch tackles and popped up with some vital goals.”
CENTRE BACK – John Chessell
Stephen says: “A very underrated player in my eyes. Mr nice guy who never used bad language on the field of play, picked up a number of yellows though.”
RIGHT MID – Jay Gibbs
Stephen says: “I’m sure he won’t mind playing out wide here but i had to get him in the team, this guy has everything, exceptional passing range, scores goals, plenty of passion and aggression.”
LEFT MID – Nigel Moore
Stephen says: “Oh my God, give the ball to Nige and he will run and score. Amazing left foot, scorer of worldies. Probably one of the fittest players ive ever played with.”
CENTRE MID – Rich ‘Bach’ Jones
Stephen says: “One of the reasons why Jay plays wide here. Everybody knows Rich could of gone onto great things everybody who shared a pitch with him would defo have him in their XI.
“He still knocks the ball around with ease in the charity football events we have in Holyhead.”
CENTRE MID – Kev Hughes
Stephen says: “The ex Boded manager was someone I watched closely when I first stepped up to senior football. I wanted to learn and he gave me advice a few times. Another gifted footballer.”
STRIKER – Asa Thomas
Stephen says: “A prolific marksman who just loves scoring goals – simples as that!”
STRIKER – Ian “Golly” Hughes
Stephen says: “For a big guy surprisingly very quick over ground. Give him a chance and the ball was in the net, didnt do much running but scored many a goal.”
Aaron Heald (Defender now with Bangor 1876)
Stephen says: “I watched him learn and progress for 10 years, tough tackling defender will have a bright future in the game.”
Deian Parry (Attacker now with Holyhead Hotspur and Hotspur Reserves)
Stephen says: “I was lucky to be his coach/manager through his youth days, technically good, quick feet, doing really well at Hotspur first team.”
Casey Gregg (Midfielder/Attacker now with Trearddur Bay Bulls)
Stephen says: “Casey is another one I was lucky to have with me for 10 years, very energetic player who provides assists and scores goals.”
Dylan Summers Jones (Attacker now with Llangefni Town)
Stephen says: “Broke my heart many times during our youth years. Had a very successful season at Bangor 1876 last season before moving to Llangefni.”
Chris Corrie (Midfielder for Hotspur Reserves)
Stephen says: “I have been very impressed with his development and I’m sure he will be stepping up to Hotspur firsts soon.”
Manager – Ali Thomas
Stephen says: “My manager is Ali Thomas who gave me my chance at The Foresters.”