‘Teams have a lot of trust in younger players which I really like’ – Bethesda Athletic star Joe Todd on first season in North Wales

PICTURE BY Richard Gregson shows Joe Todd having a shot on goal v Llangoed.

JOE TODD has been one of the stars of the season in North Wales Coast West Division One and that is, partly, down to the fact that he is very much enjoying himself in his first season playing in the region.

That’s what AFE concluded from our recent interview with the talented midfielder who has caught the eye of many with a string of great performances during the 21/22 campaign so far.

Originally from Burton-on-Trent in the midlands, Todd moved up to North Wales with work in August 2020. The former Rocester FC player told AFE that he moved up to Bethesda and quickly found out about the club he now represents in the process.

Talking about that, he said: “I messaged the club on Facebook. I went down to a few training sessions and was really enjoying my football and the way the team wanted to play so wanted to sign.

Joe Todd in Bethesda Athletic colours.

“We didn’t start the season as we would have liked but we’ve definitely kicked on from there and shown what we’re capable of since then. I think now what I’m aiming for as well as the whole club is trying to get promotion and maybe some silver ware before the end of the season.”

Bethesda Athletic are currently top of the tier 5 table on 50pts, having won 16 of their 22 matches so far this season. Their most recent victory came with an 8-3 win over Mountain Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

The free-scoring side, managed by Mark Hughes, have also netted a crazy 103 goals already – by far the most of any team in the division, with Cemaes Bay (3rd) and Llanystumdwy (6th) joint-second in that department way behind on 76 goals.

Todd has been a real driving force behind the goals for Athletic this season, scoring 19 goals in just 18 appearances – making him the club’s top scorer. His latest haul came when he scored 4times – including a stunning free-kick – in a 10-0 demolition of Llangoed.

The team itself features a number of fantastic young players at this moment in time – including manager Mark Hughes’ 3 sons 16-year-old Noa (11 goals in 17 appearances), 18-year-old Dan (8 goals in 8 appearances) and club captain 20-year-old Osian (8 goals in 22 appearances).

Speaking about his time at the club so far, 23-year-old Todd said: “I’ve settled in really well at the club. As most people know we are a young squad but there’s a few experienced heads as well, but all the lads helped me settle in quickly. As for Mark, he’s a top man and a very good manager. He always wants us to get the ball down and play at a high tempo which is ultimately what I always like to do.

Todd on the ball v Mountain Rangers on Saturday. PIC: Alan Wyn Jones.

“There’s a lot of talent throughout the squad to be honest but I’d have to say Osian, who plays in midfield with me, is a great player as well as leader and has had a massive part to play for where we are in the table. There’s a lot of talent going forward as well with Noa Hughes and Kyle Hartleb (15 goals) both playing well this season, which probably explains why we’ve scored so many goals.

“Coming toward the end of my first season in North Wales, I have to say there is definitely a more physical element to the game compared to other leagues I have played in. But with men’s football you always have to expect that. As well as that though, I have found that a lot of teams, Bethesda Athletic being one, have a lot of trust in the younger players which I really like and haven’t really experienced that anywhere else.”

When asked what the favourite goal he scored this season was, he added: “I mean the free-kick against Llangoed last weekend is definitely one of my favourites. The games against Cemaes Bay (5-1 win) and Talysarn Celts (6-2 win) are also, for me, some highlights of the season just because of the performances we put in during those games.”

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