PICTURE by CPD Aberffraw FC
BY NOW, Gary Bolton must be considered a true club legend at Aberffraw Football Club.
The 36-year-old is heading into what will be his 11th season with Berffro when football resumes.
During that time, the attacker has enjoyed many a great highlight and netted 195 goals to date, 11 of those coming in just 19 appearances during a Welsh Alliance Two campaign cut short in 2019/20.
Bolton, originally from Bryn Du but now living in Bodedern, says he now hopes to pass the 200 goal mark when football resumes in the not-so-distant future.
He said: “I want to reach the 200 goal mark as soon as I can and hopefully win a trophy – which I think we have as good a chance as ever with the squad we have right now.”
When asked which of those 195 goals he’s scored so far for Berffro stand out the most for him, he added: “There’s three that stand out for me. A last minute free kick in the Dargie Cup semi-final at Llanerchymedd to take us to our first final, the goal in the final itself which was the last Dargie Final at Farrar Road – which we unfortunately lost on pens to a outstanding Trearddur Bay side and finally, a last minute winner in the Junior Cup semi-final against a very strong Menai Bridge side back in 2014.”
During his time at the club, Bolton has enjoyed promotion to both the Gwynedd League (2014) and Welsh Alliance Two (2017) – but a cup final success has so far eluded him, despite finishing as a runner-up on many occasions.
As well as that, he has no doubt played alongside many a great player at Cae Cynlas during that time. Talking about that side of the game, he said: “It’s very difficult to single anyone out as I’ve played alongside a lot of quality players at the club. The squad right now though is probably the strongest we have had since my time here.
“If I have to choose though, I’ll go with 2 of the longest serving players in Rich Roberts and the captain Steve Jenkins. Rich has scored around 160-170 goals for the club but has played many games as a full back too and Jenks has been a rock at the back for years but was my strike partner in my first season at the club and can also play in midfield.
“The highlights of my time at Aberffraw has to be the cup runs we have been on over the years – we have knocked out a few higher league clubs, and also gaining promotion to the Welsh Alliance in 2017. On the other hand, the low points have definitely been the cup final defeats.”
Before his days at Aberffraw, who he joined back in 2010, Bolton had started out in the Sunday League for Trearddur Bay in 2003. He then signed for Bodedern in the following season, winning the Welsh Alliance there and spending four years with the first team and the Reserves.
A brief spell with Holyhead Hotspur then followed for the attacker before a season each at Cemaes Bay and Gaerwen. As well as the 195 he’s netted whilst with Aberffraw, Bolton also scored 164 goals for his other clubs – giving him a total of 360 for a career during which he has mostly played up top and out wide for his respective teams.
Having been involved in the local game at senior level for around 19 years now, he says the biggest change he’s seen in North Wales football during that time has been to their home grounds.
Bolton said: “I think the facilities in a lot of clubs has greatly improved with clubs having to meet a certain criteria and that’s definitely true with Berffro. The improvement from Anglesey League days is massive and everyone involved with the club deserves huge credit for it but especially the gaffer Gerallt (Roberts) and everyone on the committee.”
With tiers four and five throughout Wales being re-structured, the Welsh Alliance no longer exists and, as such, Aberffraw will play in the newly-formed North Wales Coast West Premier (Tier Four) when football does return in the months (we hope) to come.
Asked about how he and he has been dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic break from football, Bolton said: “It’s been tough as I know personally that I’ve not got many years of playing left. But, I’ve missed everything really, the banter in the changing room, the feeling of winning a game and scoring a goal, even training. It’s made me realise I’m definitely not ready to hang my boots up just yet.
“Having said that, I have taken more of an interest in the last few years around tactics, formations, game planning and training – in case I decide to take up coaching after I finish playing.”
Five goals to go for this Berffro great to join the elite two-hundred club then and my guess is that, once his side return to the pitch, it won’t take him long to pass that milestone.