PICTURE BY Richard Gregson shows Bodedern Athletic’s Asa Thomas (green) facing Steve Smith of Glantraeth.
WHEN Asa Thomas scored the latest of his career hat-tricks to date on Saturday afternoon, I’m sure nobody was surprised he had done so.
His treble in Bodedern Athletic’s 4-1 North Wales Coast West Premier win over Menai Tigers was just another example of just how great a goalscorer he has become over the years.
Today the prolific forward turns 31 years old.
Since making his debut in senior football back in 2007, Thomas has scored over 550 goals making him the most prolific goalscorer on Anglesey in recent times.
For Thomas, senior football began at Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic in 2007/08, where he hit 32 goals before following that up with 37 goals for the same club the season after.
But, it’s fair to say that the goal-scoring machine’s most incredible season came in 2010/11 as he broke all sorts of records. A then 19-year-old Thomas hit an incredible 112 goals (which included 25 hat-tricks) in just 47 appearances for Trearddur Bay United as the club won a quadruple – a goal-scoring feat that doesn’t look like being beaten any time soon.
The 2019/20 season, cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, was also one to remember for Thomas as he surpassed the magical 500-goal mark.
Thomas hit 19 goals for Holyhead Town in Welsh Alliance Two before the club folded in December 2019, meaning that the goals he scored there became expunged. As a result, the first of two goals he scored in Holyhead Town Reserves (who then became Holyhead Town as there was no first team), in a thrilling 7-6 win at Bodorgan in the Anglesey League, proved to be his 500th career goal.
Soon after, Thomas made the switch from the Harbourmen to local rivals Holyhead Hotspur, where he went on to score six goals for The Reserves in the Anglesey League and four for the first team in Welsh Alliance One before the season came to an abrupt end due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, he currently stands on 511 goals amassed during a free-scoring career on the island.
The forward then briefly signed for Trearddur Bay Bulls (who folded last year) in friendlies where he linked up with good friend and fellow prolific goalscorer Gary Jo Owen. Down the years, the pair have formed a formidable partnership with Morawelon, Gaerwen and Holyhead Town.
For the highly-successful Holyhead-based Morawelon side, who won three trophies including the prestigious NWCFA Junior Cup in just four seasons before folding in 2014, Thomas (97 goals) and Owen (84 goals) scored a combined 181 goals for the club. At the time, they were managed by Derek Thomas, who was in charge at the Bulls before they folded.
News of Thomas breaking the 500-goal mark last season meant he joined an elite group of North Wales footballers who have also surpassed that milestone.
Rhyl FC legend Don Spendlove was another free-scoring forward who bagged a record haul of 629 goals for The Lilywhites in the 1940’s and 50’s. Not even an offer of £7,000 from Tottenham Hotspur was enough to make Rhyl let go of their beloved hero – who had twice hit more than 70 goals in a season. Dubbed ‘Great Don’ and widely-regarded as North Wales’ best ever non-league footballer, Spendlove passed away aged 90 in March 2013
A little closer to home for Thomas though was fellow Holyhead Town stalwart Tommy Welsh (above). Known as the town and the club’s greatest ever goal-getter, Belfast-born Welsh hit 631 goals during an illustrious career in the 1950’s and 60’s (which also included spells playing for Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bethesda and Colwyn Bay). Just like with Spendlove, Tottenham came in to try and lure Welsh away from the island, as did West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Doncaster Rovers, but the legendary forward stayed loyal to Holyhead until the end. Welsh passed away in April 2019, aged 90.
In terms of professional football, Thomas would be joining the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pele, Gerd Muller and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 500+ goals club. And, in terms of local football, he’s probably been the equivalent to those players over the last twelve years.
Fast forward to this season and his phenomenal goalscoring prowess is again being displayed as Boded go in search of the inaugural tier 4 title.
He has so far netted 46 goals in just 28 appearances for the club, 29 of those goals coming in the league alone.
His hat-trick v Tigers on Saturday was the 5th time he has managed to score 3 or more goals in a match for Bodedern so far.
Happy birthday Asa, have a great day!