New signings to watch out for in 21/22: James Ryan (Holyhead Town)

PICTURE by Wynne Evans

THE spotlight ahead of the North Wales Coast West Division One season is well and truly on the likes of Cemaes Bay, Mountain Rangers and Llanerchymedd as potential champions.

But, in my opinion, Holyhead Town will be a strong contender too with a great mix of youth and experience on the books being led by a great pair of coaches in David Jones and Stephen Owen.

The Harbourmen made some fantastic acquisitions in 2020, who should no doubt boost them onto great things next season – the likes of former Trearddur Bay Bulls winger Matty Roberts being a fine example.

The move which really caught the eye though was when the prolific James Ryan signed on at the club.

James Ryan (right) takes on Llangoed Reserves’ Luke Roberts in his Bryngwran Bulls days (2017). PIC: Wynne Evans.

Having previously served in the army, the 34-year-old forward only really began scoring in senior football in 2016/17 when he notched 21 goals for Bryngwran (Now Trearddur Bay) Bulls during that campaign.

It was in the 2017/18 season that he really began to hit top form however as he bagged 56 goals for The Bulls who finished as Anglesey League runners-up. Amazingly, that tally wasn’t enough to earn him the Golden Boot that year though as Caergybi’s Gary Jo Owen scored 58!

One particular highlight for him that season in terms of goalscoring came when he bagged a hat-trick of hat-trick’s (aka nine goals!) in a 17-0 hammering of Llandegfan FC.

The 2018/19 saw Ryan himself make the move over to Dale Moffat’s Caergybi side and it was there that he would go on to break records.

It was a near-perfect season that year for both Ryan and Cybi who secured a cup double, and, despite losing out on the league title, did still clinch promotion to the Gwynedd League. Striker Ryan bagged an incredible 72 goals during a record-breaking season in which he became the highest goalscorer ever in a single season in the Bob Brodie Trophy competition (run by NWSport blogger Dave Jones) – surpassing the previous total of 64 hit by goal machine Corrig McGonigle for Pentraeth in 2015/16 (Now with Conwy Borough in JD Cymru North).

Ryan enjoyed a season to remember with Caergybi for many reason in 2018/19. PIC: Trevor Owen

His record in the first half of the season (up to January 1 2019) saw him hit 42 goals. His incredible form then followed him into the New Year as 30 more goals followed – including one in Caergybi’s 2-1 Dargie Cup final win over former club Bryngwran Bulls.

Ryan’s streak throughout the 18/19 campaign saw him score at least one goal against every team in the division and he went on to hit an impressive tally of nine hat-tricks during the course of the season – including a seven-goal haul in one game against Llandegfan and eight in one game against Llanfairpwll.

Despite a lot of interest from other clubs due to his record-breaking season, Ryan remained with Caergybi for 2019/20 – at least until midway through.

In their first campaign in the GL in 2019/20, he proved to be their main man again early on as he netted 11 for the club before transferring to Sean Brett’s Glantraeth for a new challenge. There, he scored four more goals before the season was cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, Ryan made the switch to tier-five club Holyhead Town and instantly impressed with two goals on his debut. He’s a truly terrific goal-getter who should lead the line effortlessly for Town when competitive football resumes in July (here’s hoping!)

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