News from the New Stadium

hotspur v rhayader town programmeWarm greetings Holyhead Hotspur enthusiasts to our first Huws Gray Alliance League fixture of the New Year 2015, and similar sentiments to Mid Wales team Rhayader Town their players, officials and supporters who are our long distance visitors this afternoon.

Rhayader are a former League of Wales side who were members of the Spar Mid Wales league for a spell before winning promotion back to the HGA a few seasons ago.  Back in early September at ‘Y Weirglodd’ Rhayader’s home ground Hotspur went down by the odd goal in five after taking an early lead through Ryan Jones in the 6th minute via a superb individual goal.  However, Rydian Davies brought the home side level with a header on 26 minutes and Davies made it 2-1 to Rhayader at the break.

Mel McGinness got us level with another outstanding strike but Tom Rowlands had the final say for the hosts just before the hour, and they held out despite great efforts to get back to parity again by Campbell Harrison’s men.

Last season Jay Gibbs was on target in a 1-1 September in the away game while the return last April saw another point each this time sharing six goals – Dale Murphy, Rhys Roberts and a Gibbs penalty notching our treble while Rhys Thomas, Gethin Jones and Nefyn Savage scored for our visitors.

Thus we are due a win against a side who are just below Holyhead in the league but are always very comfortable opponents and we will need to be at our most resolute to earn a victory!

Last Saturday the home HGA League Cup Quarter-Final tie against Lee Dixon’s Caernarfon Town was the first of three fixtures against the Canaries, the two league games still to come, and what an afternoon of high drama it turned out to be with young substitute Myles Jones notching a seven minute hat-trick in the second half of extra-time.  No doubt Myles will have a good career in the game but will find it hard to beat this however long it is.  Myles will rightly take the headlines but I am sure Campbell and Daz will want me to emphasise the whole team deserve the plaudits in the 4-2 After Extra-Time.  Success which put us into the semi-finals of the HGA Cymru Alliance League Cup.  After Kenleigh Owen was alert enough to put us one up early on it was a superb performance from our overworked defence which stood out while we were always dangerous on the break, Kenleigh Owen again nearly putting us two ahead while ten minutes from the end a Ryan Jones (good to see him back from injury) one on one situation forced Canaries keeper Paul Pritchard to rush out and foul Ryan and saw red in a last man situation.  We held out until the last minute of added on time which saw extra-time and when Darren Thomas put our old rivals ahead we feared the worst even against ten men!  However, then came the Myles Jones show to win us the tie.  Full marks too for Campbell Harrison and the management team for an inspired substitution in bringing Jones on at the end of 90 minutes.

It was good to see a bumper crowd of over 400 present giving the cup tie a special atmosphere, and let’s hope some of those present who are not regulars will be here today again as it no doubt about it really helps the players.  We now look forward to the draw for the last four, which may have taken place since this!  Another Quarter-final between Caersws and Llandudno was called off last Saturday and will bow be played today.

Next Saturday we travel to Llandudno 2.30 pm kick off hoping to do the double over Tudno after Julian Williams’ winner here earlier in the season, and is the first of three successive weekends on the road as Hotspur on tour continues at Caernarfon Town on the 24th January and our longest trip to deep Mid-Wales in Llandrindod Wells on the 31st of January.  We return to base on 7th of February here against Rhydymwyn 2.30 pm kick off but any away support would be really appreciated.

The Gwynedd League fixture at Llanberis was called off last Saturday but this afternoon the Reserves are at Llaystumdwy, while next Saturday 17th January Mark Queen’s team are home to Aberffraw in the Gwynedd League Cup of which we are holders, the kick off 1.30 pm.

We have to end this epistle with Myles Jones again as if it was going to be his day.  Whatever happened he won a bottle of whiskey after the match!  At this rate his army career will see him rise to the top Myles high above everyone.  ‘All right that’s enough’ Onwards and upwards.

Gareth M Davies


Well here we are at the start of 2015 and may I on behalf of the football club wish you all a very happy NewYear, and it was a good start for us with a convincing win against a very strong and resolute Caernarfon Town last Saturday in the Huws Gray league cup. It was pretty even in the first half but it has to be said that Caernarfon Town edged the second half and it was a ‘sickener’ when they scored with the last kick of normal time to level the scores at 1 -1. Having their keeper sent off for a professional foul did not help their cause and somewhat against the run of play they got a second in the first period of extra time but Hotspur never gave up and three goals in seven minutes from Myles Jones in the second period of extra time sealed a great win for us. Campbell used the pace of Ryan Jones and Myles in the extra time period and Caernarfon Town’s defence just could not cope with them. I am sure the 413 crowd enjoyed the match and it would be great if we could get that sort of attendance at all our homes games. The BBC were in attendance asking for the thoughts of spectators to the Ched Evans affair and while they were filming they caught KC Owen’s opening goal for us.

You might be wondering why Julian Williams was not playing last Saturday and it was caused by the absurd FAW ruling that loans (Julian is a Rhyl player on loan to us until 31st May) could only start on Saturday 3rd January. How can you get a player signed up for that Saturday when the loan period doesn’t start until that date. Why not start the loan period on the 1st January? Anyway the paperwork has now been completed so Julian is with us today.

Jonathan Taylor the programme editor was able to put into last Saturday’s  edition the photographs received from Bob Munden Jones of the NWCFA of old kits we donated to him for the kids in Gambia. It is a pleasure to be able to help those less fortunate than ourselves. You can see all the details on the web site unless JT has repeated the article in today’s programme. We had 4 ground hoppers from Nottingham at last Saturday’s match and the leader of the group was saying that his local club is also in the process of sending kits to Gambia. He had a long conversation with Mike Taylor who organized things for us.

Today we play host to Rhayader Town who have had to make a 260 mile round trip to get here and we welcome everyone connected with the club but especially any supporters who have made such a long journey to see the match. Two of the mid Wales clubs are struggling in the league at the moment and it looks like two of them may well be relegated at the end of the season to be replaced by Llanfair United who we hosted a few seasons ago in the Welsh Cup and Holywell Town who look favourite to be promoted from the Welsh Alliance league. If there is a third relegation then maybe a club from the NEW Wrexham league might join us if they meet the league’s criteria.

There is a pre season competition called the ‘Word Cup’ which features the Welsh Premier teams and the top six from our HGA and the south Wales Welsh league. It would be good to be in the 2015 competition. We missed out last year because of our finishing position and couldn’t get in as one of  the  three ‘wild cards’ that they take into the competition. There is so much to play for and the hope is we do much better this second half of the season.

This Saturday the reserves play Llanystumdwy after their match last week was called off like many other matches due to the Llanberis ground being waterlogged. On the 20th December in their last match the reserves recorded a 16 – 0 win in their Gwynedd League on Bangor FC’s all weather pitch which is used by Beaumaris Town. This is only the second time this score has been achieved so I am told by Andy Devlin. He says that the reserves scored that many against Gaerwen in the Anglesey League in the mid 1990’s.

Our good friend Gwyn Pierce Owen President of Bangor City I am sure just cannot believe what is happening this season to his club, especially with another reversal against Bala Town last week. Their only hope is that when the league divides into its two sections of six clubs (later in the season) that Bangor City will then be strong enough to get themselves the points they need for survival. Time alone will tell.

The Huws Gray league and Holyhead Hotspur FC are 25 years old next year. I have written to our vice President Chris Evans of Derby County hoping he can bring someone down here next June to commemorate our 25th. The league is holding a ‘swish’ affair at the Imperial hotel Llanduno on Saturday 13th June. The Annual General Meeting of the league will be held in the same hotel on the afternoon of the 13th June.     

This league is getting stronger each season and very much more competitive. Some clubs are paying big wages which we just cannot match and have no intention of trying to do so. All too often in various leagues you see clubs ‘going down the drain’ by not watching their finances closely. The survival of Hotspur is our first priority and everyone connected with it loves the club for what it is ‘a community club’ that values a six year old in our juniors, as much as the most senior and highly paid player in the first team.

I am sure the forthcoming league fixtures are somewhere in the programme (or on the Web site but just a reminder that the first team is away at Llandudno 17th , Caernarfon Town 24th  and the horrendous 280 mile round trip to Llandrindod Wells on the 31st. Caernarfon Town I am sure cannot wait to get us there to see if they can get league points against us.

The FAW inspected us on the 10th December regarding our Domestic Licence application and things went very well. There is much we still need to do but the chances of getting the licence seem much better than before the visit. You will remember me saying that until we get that licence we will not be able to put in for an FAW grant for a 3G pitch. That is a year or two down the road but it shows the commitment of the club to improve our facilities for the benefit of the club and the whole community.

You will know that Mark Blackwell has formed an impressive under 18’s team this year and that they play their matches on a Sunday. With the pool of young players in the reserves and the under 18’s we now have the foundation for a young reserve team next season supported by some of the present senior players. A good mix of young and senior talent is a great recipe for the future. Thanks to Mark and Nick and Mark Blackwell for the work they are doing in fostering this talent and my hope is that they will work together next season to form a competitive and talented reserve team that can take the Gwynedd League by storm. The future looks good for us as a Club.

Mark Blackwell has been able to get us a second hand mobile building which will be on site in January sited where the old portacabin was. It will be used as a store room and a club shop. The present club shop in the club house will be used as a first aid centre and a drug testing room to meet FAW Domestic Licence requirements.

The Council leisure department assisted by the property department have worked wonders in getting funding to do major work to the main stand (remove and replace the metal cladding, the perspex sides and new steel work) and a new roof and renovations and improvements to the changing block. Finally the fencing around the ground will be replaced and a new gate will be put in the fence behind the dug outs so that we can retrieve the footballs that go over the fence into the undergrowth. On behalf of the football club I wish to thank those Council officers who have worked so hard on behalf of the club to get the funding and to schedule the work which has to be completed by 31st March.

Richard Parry