FOOTBALL is back (once again) and we can finally begin to look forward to the future on the local football scene in North Wales.
The shake-up of the league system has brought along several new-look divisions for the 20/21 campaign – one of those being the North Wales Coast West Division One (tier five).
Here’s a little info about the 17 clubs set to battle it out in that new league …
- Manager – Kevin Jones
- Nickname – The Busmen
- Home ground – Treborth
- Captain – Matty Jones
Since joining Saturday League football back in the 2017/18 season, Arriva have enjoyed great success in the Anglesey League.
Under manager and club founder Kevin Jones, who guided them to a lot of cup successes in the Sunday League days also, they immediately became one of the AL’s top clubs.
A cup double in their first season in the league was followed up by another cup win in 2018/19 – when they beat then Anglesey League champions Bryngwran (now Trearddur Bay) Bulls to the Benllech Car Boot Trophy thanks to a 3-2 victory (After Extra Time).
Now, heading into this new league structure, they will once again be looking to be around the top of the division. Despite having lost some key players over the last year or so they have brought in some great players in place of them.
Exciting young attacker Cai La Trobe-Roberts is one to keep an eye on as is fellow forward Mike Holroyd and defender Alex Griffiths – both new signings who were both part of the Ogwen Tigers team which won the Anglesey League in 2017/18.
- Manager – Mark Hughes
- Home ground – Parc Meurig
A club with such fantastic history in North Wales football that’s now heading into an exciting new chapter with a promising young squad and a great manager to guide them into tier five.
Back in 2017/18, Mark Hughes proved that you actually can win things with kids, despite the infamous saying by Alan Hansen, as his very young but supremely talented Mynydd (later Ogwen) Tigers stormed their way to the Anglesey League title.
Many of those players have now joined Bethesda (and are still barely 20 years old!) alongside Hughes as the club starts from scratch with a new-look squad who should surprise many in this division if their friendly results from last year are anything to go by.
Endless amounts of promising young players are on the books there and I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about them when the 21/22 campaign kicks off.
- Management team – Dave Webster and John Webster
- Home ground – Cae Cynlas (Aberffraw)
- Did you know? Bod previously had a Maldives international in their squad. Then 35-year-old central midfielder Ibrahim Fazeel had earned 72 caps for his country when he played for them in 2016.
A team I admire so much and one that has come a long way in a short space of time to the point that they can now compete with almost anyone – as they proved last season.
Very few teams beat Holyhead Hotspur Reserves in the Anglesey League during 2019/20 – but Bodorgan managed to secure an impressive 5-1 win away against Tom Scott’s talented side.
Over the years, Bod have gone from struggling at the bottom of the Anglesey League to an Elias cup final in 2017/18 – where they eventually lost out to Arriva Bangor on penalties – and claiming the scalps of many a team.
They continue to improve season on season and it’ll be interesting to see how they get on in this new-look league and at a new home ground too – having made the move from Cae Cob to Aberffraw FC’s Cae Cynlas having agreed a pitch share last year.
- Manager – Simon Jones
- Home ground – Cae Stanley
One of the surprise packages in the Gwynedd League last season, Bont put in some impressive performances as they finished up ninth.
Over the years, the club has earned itself a reputation for producing great young talents from the Caernarfon area – including the fantastic Darren Thomas aka ‘The Cofi Messi’ who has now been playing in the top-flight with Caernarfon Town for a number of seasons.
One of the stars of the season for them was breakthrough teenage star Cai Penny-Williams, 17 years old at the start of the campaign, who hit 16 goals before going on to join Llangefni Town Reserves midway through the season.
Bont though have a team full of talented players and were mostly a very young side in the Gwynedd League under Simon Jones, who was appointed manager in 2018, last season.
One of their main men in recent times has been Morgan Roberts. In 2017, he was the scorer as Bont beat Llanystumdwy 1-0 to win the Safeflue Shield. Last season was no different for the player as he scored the only goal of the game when Bont brought the-then Gwynedd League leaders Trearddur Bay Bulls’ seven game winning streak to an end in what was an inspired performance by the club. He also ended that campaign as the club’s top scorer with 10 goals to his name.
Bontnewydd could certainly be a team to watch out for in tier 5 as they have been rumoured to bring more experienced players in at Cae Stanley also.
- Manager – Dale Moffat
- Home ground – Millbank (Holyhead)
- Captain – Ashley Beck
Very few clubs could have enjoyed the level of success that Caergybi have already under Dale Moffat in the space of just four years.
Their debut season in 2017/18 saw them finish third in the Anglesey League and win the Megan Cup. A season later, they were promoted to the Gwynedd League as AL runners-up and won a cup double of the Lucas Oil and Dargie Cups.
They’ve made some fantastic signings in pre-season with the likes of prolific goalscorer Craig Moore joining. Add that to the likes of the hard-working Ashley Beck and you have yourself a recipe for more success yet.
They should undoubtedly be competing for the title in this division – although there will be some very stern competition.
- Management team – Darren Thomas and Lee Potter
- Home Ground – School Lane
- Captain – Keenan Downey
- Did you know? Cemaes played in the JD Cymru Premier (top flight) between 1995 and 1998.
The last ever champions of the Anglesey League and what a team they were last season, an absolute joy to watch for the neutral.
A number of former players returned to School Lane after spells away (some at a higher level) and that paid dividends. But it has to be said too that manager Darren Thomas also gave a chance for young players to shine through with the likes of Daniel Jones starring in the starting eleven.
That mixture of youth and experience offers an exciting future for the Bay and with Lee Potter, who enjoyed such great success with Bro Goronwy over the years, also now joining the management team I’m sure there are more great times ahead.
Having pretty much re-signed their whole squad from last season, and added the likes of powerful forward Gwynfor Owen and gifted midfielder Liam Griffiths to it also, Cemaes are already among the favourites for the league title during the 21/22 season and rightly so.
- Manager – Danny Jones
- Home Ground – Isgraig (Llangefni)
A great club formed in 2018 which has come on leaps and bounds – despite finishing bottom of the Anglesey League on a technicality last season (having had 20 points deducted).
Llangefni-based club Cefni is one full of talented players who can beat anyone on their day – as they proved last season in the cup v Mountain Rangers and v AL champions Bryngwran Bulls the season before.
It’s been my opinion for awhile now that all they’ve been needing is a stable first team manager, with much change in that respect happening since they formed. Now, in former Pentraeth Reserves manager Danny Jones, they will get that – a dedicated and experienced coach who should guide the team very well next season.
A solid team who will no doubt claim a few scalps in North Wales Coast West Division One next season.
CPD Y FALI
- Manager – Dan Jones
- Home Ground – Cae Mwd (Valley)
A team which has undergone much change in recent times in terms of players coming and going – but nevertheless a team which will no doubt be a very competitive one when 21/22 gets underway.
Fali, previously Valley Athletic, won the Anglesey League and cup double back in 2014/15 and ever since then have been in and around the top part of the table.
There was some great news for the club in 2020 as it announced that legendary winger Marc Wilson would be returning to Cae Mwd after a spell away with Ogwen Tigers in the Gwynedd League. He showed his class in friendlies towards the end of the year, scoring twice.
Among other players to keep an eye on at Fali are fellow winger Owain Roberts who offers plenty of pace going forward and defender Ryan Heywood who is a key figure at the back for Dan Jones’ side.
- Management team – David Jones and Stephen Owen
- Nickname – The Harbourmen
- Home Ground – Millbank
After Town’s first team folded last season (and the Reserves who were playing in the Anglesey League became the first team), many would’ve been forgiven for thinking that the future of the club was bleak. However, that is far from the case at Millbank.
Stephen Owen did well to keep the young and talented squad together during 2020 and in came coach David Jones to aid him on the touchline ahead of the new campaign.
The pair have since added the likes of prolific goalscorer James Ryan (who smashed in a record-breaking 72 goals for Caergybi in 2018/19) and talented winger Matty Roberts to their ranks and are building a great squad.
Elsewhere in the squad you have the likes of the promising young brothers Jordan and Jenson Rowlands and proven young goalscorer Robert Thomas – all of which have already proven that giving young players game time can be of huge benefit.
I for one can’t wait to see how the Harbourmen can blend those youthful talents and experienced stars together during the next season.
- Manager – Arron Evans
- Home Ground – Cae Eurfryn
- Captain – Kieran Fritter
A club which ended a two-and-a-half year wait for a victory last season – which was a relief to all involved.
In January 2020, Llandeg won 2-1 at Pentraeth Reserves to earn themselves their first three points since November 2017 – when they won 3-2 at Pentraeth Reserves.
Times have been incredibly tough on the club since it reformed in 2017 but it now has a squad which consists of more experienced players and they showed real signs of improvement before the last lockdown.
Having signed the likes of Liam Jones (Arriva), Chris Owens (Holyhead Town) and Dion Taylor (Llanfairpwll), things are already looking better for them so can they now start to well and truly turn a corner?
- Manager – Meirion Grieves
- Home Ground – Tan Parc
- Club legends include – Former Wrexham FC man Evans, whose son Deion is now back with the club
Probably the favourites to win the tier five title in the 21/22 campaign given the amount of higher league players they brought in to the club in 2020.
Having finished bottom of the Gwynedd League with zero points at the end of 19/20, a number of former Llan players decided to return to Tan Parc to help turn its fortunes around once more.
Among the big names to return along with manager Meirion Grieves and assistant Iwan Williams were Matthew Jones and Dan Thomas – both of whom played tier two football with Llangefni Town in 2019/20.
But there will be talent everywhere you look in this Llan squad in 21/22 – from midfielder Deion Evans to defenders Hari Jones and Tomos Jones.
They, Mountain Rangers and Cemaes Bay will be the ones to beat in this division in my opinion as they have so much experience of higher League football within their ranks.
- Management team – Spud Thomas and Vinny Walker
- Home Ground – Maes Eilian
You know what you’re getting when you have two coaches like Walker and Thomas in charge of a club – as they previously proved with the success they enjoyed at Llangoed, winning cups and earning promotion to the Gwynedd League.
2019/20 was no different as their mostly youthful Llanfair side impressed throughout their Anglesey League campaign and finished the season in fourth place.
A whole host of brilliant young players have come through the ranks at Llanfairpwll over the last few seasons from defenders Ryan Evans (now with Bangor City) and Sion Emlyn Davies (now at Llangefni Town Reserves) to winger Jac Davies and midfielder Adam Thomas (both still with the club), the talent on show has been endless.
The most impressive breakthrough in 2019/20 however was left back Owain Davies. Just 16 when the campaign started, he transitioned into senior football effortlessly, flying forward every chance he got and contributing five goals too.
Further great news came for the club in 2020 when goalkeeper Huw Shaw returned after a spell at tier two level with Conwy Borough. He, as well as the hard-working Gwyndaf Hughes (who arrived from Pentraeth) and proven goalscorer Danny Connolly will be fantastic additions to the club in months to come I’m sure.
You can’t rule Llanfair out as they proved last season they had what it takes to beat the big boys – even beating Anglesey League runners-up Mountain Rangers away.
- Manager – David Thomas
- Home Ground – Tyddyn Paun
Another side who enjoyed a great campaign in the Gwynedd League in 2019/20. When then-manager Mark Thomas, a former Welsh Prem player, took over a few matches into the season he helped fire Llangoed up the table and they ended the campaign in eighth.
Now though, with Thomas having been replaced by another Thomas – David – they can look forward to a new chapter in a new division with a man who knows the club inside out, having been there himself as a player for years.
And it’s fair to say that Llangoed have a number of great players in their ranks. From Caernarfon Town academy starlet Sam Gregson to ever-reliable full back Matty Owen, they are never short of great options. The key player though has to be Wayne Thomas – the attacker passed the 150 goal mark for the club last season by bagging 22 goals and finishing as top scorer once again.
A club steeped in rich history and one that has a great following too – with its number one fan being Owen ‘Sbo’ Williams, who has been involved with the club since the 1950’s and even the clubhouse is named in his honour. His grandson Tom Zalot also represents the club these days – and scored 5 goals for them last season.
- Manager – Dylan Parry
- Home Ground – Dwyfor Park
A team which struggled for the most part in the Gwynedd League last season but, historically speaking, has enjoyed some fantastic moments.
Five years ago today in fact, Llanystumdwy enjoyed a glorious day in their history when they beat Llandudno Albion 3-0 to win the NWCFA Intermediate Cup – legendary forward Sion Parry hitting a hat-trick that day, in a year the club also finished Gwynedd League runners-up.
Down the years, Parry, now with Nantlle Vale and still only 24 years old, smashed in 210 goals in 170 games for the club. Whilst replacing a striker of his prowess would have been near impossible, Llan still to this day have a number of players capable of scoring on a consistent basis for the club.
One of the best to do that for them over recent seasons is Darren Parry. In a fairly difficult season for Llanystumdwy last season, as they finished 13th out of 15 teams in the Gwynedd League, the former Harlech Town forward was the star of the show, netting 16 goals in all competitions and finishing up as top scorer.
Mark Godfrey was another standout in the team. The strong attacking midfielder/forward, who has been with the club a long time now, was once again instrumental in the Gwynedd League last season as he hit ten goals. One of the highlights of his season came when he bagged a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Llanerchymedd in November 2019.
Based on the Llyn Peninsula, and quite awhile away from most clubs in this division, Stumdwy will have to do a fair bit of travelling in 21/22. That may or may not have an impact on their season (although I’m sure they’re used to travelling a bit by now!) – but one thing’s for sure, it will be great to have a club with such great fighting spirit be part of this new North Wales league.
- Manager – Alex Philp
- Home Ground – Cae’r Gors (Rhosgadfan)
- Captain – Simon Kay
- Club legends include – John Hayes who holds the club record for most goals scored in a season (56 in 1993/94).
A club with a long and successful history, who after a few years of being out of existence, returned to the pitch with a bang last season.
In their one and only Anglesey League campaign, Rangers were very unlucky to lose out on the title to Cemaes Bay who beat them to it on Points Per Game (PPG). They will have no doubt felt hard done by as they still had a game to play v the Bay which unfortunately never went ahead due to the pandemic.
Nevertheless though, Alex Philp’s side more than proved they are ready to challenge the best clubs around in the lower realms of North Wales football (and be one of the best themselves in the process!).
Goalkeeper Jason Hughes was one of, if not THE, best in the Anglesey League last season, keeping the most clean sheets and young defender Tom Philp was a rock at the back. Veteran Terry Watkinson provided the confidence and control in midfield and striker Sam Williams was the top scorer in the division with 44 goals to his name.
And having players like former Welsh Prem midfielder Simon Kay in their ranks, along with great summer signings such as Alan Mark Owen and Marvin Pritchard – who will provide further fantastic quality and experience to this side – should see Rangers competing at the very top once more in 21/22.
- Manager – Rhys Jones
- Home Ground – Gloddfa Glai
Could certainly be a team to watch if they have managed to keep their squad of 2019/20 together – team which finished fifth in the Gwynedd League that season.
The Celts also made it to the quarter finals of the prestigious NWCFA Junior Cup – even beating local rivals Mountain Rangers 6-4 along the way – before eventually losing out to fellow GL side Menai Tigers 2-1 in the last eight.
A whole host of players stood out for them last season, from Young Player of the Season Luke Baum, who netted nine goals, to Player of the Season and Supporters Player of the Season Glyn Hughes-Thomas who was also the club’s top scorer with 13 goals to his name.
The Celts have also managed to persuade former Player of the Season, David Aaron Jones to come back ahead of the 21/22 campaign. DAJ spent the last season with Mountain Rangers in the Anglesey League, where he was solid throughout in the heart of the defence.
The Celts are a side who I fully expect to surprise many a team next season – a talented side who nobody should underestimate and should be in or around the top five.
- Manager – Dafydd Parry
- Nickname – The Beganifs
- Home Ground – Cae Coed Helen
- Captain – Jac Evans
Always a team who pose a threat, Waunfawr finished seventh in the Gwynedd League in 2019/20.
Manager Dafydd Parry has put together a side which is more than capable of beating anyone on its day and they enjoyed some fine moments in the GL last year. Highlights for the Beganifs included three wins out of three in February as they beat Bethesda 5-2 and a Llanerchymedd 8-2 in the league and progressed passed Bontnewydd in the Gwynedd Cup with a 3-2 victory.
Among star performers for Waunfawr last season were top scorer Meurig Parry who bagged 11 goals. A particular highlight of his campaign saw him score a brace in a 4-1 win over Llangoed to send his side through to the semi finals of the Bob Owen Memorial Shield.
Midfielder Jac Evans was appointed club captain ahead of that campaign and he too was a standout star, scoring five goals and going on to win Managers Player of the Season, Players Player of the Season and earning Most Man of the Match awards also.
Another top team to add to this division and one which can certainly cause an upset to the league’s front-runners – if not be up there themselves.