News from the New Stadium

hotspur v rhydymwynA big welcome back to the New Stadium is extended to all Holyhead Hotspur supporters following a month on the road, while warm greetings also to the Players, Officials and followers of Rhydymwyn who are our visitors this afternoon.

Our opponents will be the first to say their season has not been good by any stretch of the imagination as they languish at the foot of the table, but these games still have to be won and such is the competitive nature of the Huws Gray Alliance that nothing should be taken for granted. 

Campbell and Daz will ensure the players are in the right frame of mind against our Vicarage Road opponents.

Our last home first team game here on 10th January saw a very welcome one goal victory against resolute Mid-Wales visitors Rhyadar Town via predator Julian Williams.  Williams’ was sharp as a knife taking advantage of a poor back pass to give us an early lead which we kept as we reached the closing stages.  However, with trying to add a killer second came the moment the gloss was taken off the eventual three points!  A free kick taken by Kenleigh Owen was fumbled by keeper Luke Evans and our Martin McClymont naturally went for the rebound, but the big keeper inadventaly fell on McClymont already on the ground who felt the whole impact.  Martin suffered a double fracture and taken to Bangor hospital for an operation.  These things sadly happen in football but are still shocking and all of us at Holyhead football club wish him a speedy recovery back to full health and strength.

There was also a touch of irony in the fact Martin had come on as a sub for Dan McGinness who had suffered a knee injury earlier and was on crutches himself as the late incident occurred!  Talk about adding insult to injury in a true sense!  Good luck also to Dan who hopefully is on the way back with us by now, and thankfully was back in the squad last Saturday at Llandrindod Wells.

The following Saturday we began a series of three away fixtures at League Leaders Llandudno and although a 5-2 defeat sounds emphatic enough it hardly tells the whole story!  After Llandudno made the early running they took the lead via Tom Dix only for Kenleigh Owen to put us level shortly after with a smart finish from the left at a tight angle.  Lee Thomas restored the seasiders lead before the break but Hotspur were well in it ten minutes after the resumption only for Dean Garmey to be rather harshly given a red card for a strong tackle.  Marc Logs Evans put the home side further ahead but we were back in it when Julian Williams shot home from 20 yards via a post to put Campbell’s team back in it.  Despite being a man down the manager went three at the back in a brave attempt to salvage a result which of course always leaves gaps at the back and two late strikes gave Llandudno a flattering score line.  Scant consolation but the Maesdy Park side knew they had to work really hard to gain full points.

On the subject of Llandudno we were all impressed with their facilities and look ready to make their move up to the Welsh Premier League as things stand at present, and good luck to them while Hotspur adjusted well eventually to the pace of the 3G pitch with the jury out among many if it is the way forward.

Another tough trip two weeks ago at old rivals Caernarfon Town and what a superb performance from the lads to bring home a point.  The whole team put in a shift and a half with Carl Jones outstanding between the sticks especially near the end (with an added seven minutes!) when it was like the Alamo, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie would have been proud of Hotspur’s defence.  Although Carl rightly took the headlines the defending was also heroic closing down the Canaries.

On top of that we were always capable of even winning at the other end and Gareth Jones-Evans was inches away in the first half in a fixture the Cofies were desperate for all three points to keep in touch with Llandudno who increased their lead at the top with a slender 1-0 win over Porthmadog.

On the same day it was revealed that Jay Gibbs has returned to Holyhead Hotspur after his spell with Caernarfon.  So the ‘prodigal son’ returns again to his home town team which will strengthen the squad as Hotspur look to finish strongly with at least a top six position while the Huws Gray Cymru League Cup is still in our sights when we travel to Guilsfield for the Semi-Final on February 28th.

Last Saturday we made the 280 mile round trip to Llandrindod Wells which close to four hours all told it hardly does those writing about the game much good on a freezing cold afternoon never min the players!!  However, another three points were ground out against competitive opponents who showed why they struggle to get on the score sheet too often, although having said that it was again a good collective performance by the lads which seemed to please Manager Campbell Harrison who rightly along with his players was in ‘good spirits’ on the way home.  Hotspur had come close to opening the scoring in the first half with Jay Gibbs rattling the bar and Rhys Roberts just over via a header.  However, the second half saw Hotspur’s superior class tell Kenleigh Owen putting Hotspur ahead with a good ‘kneejerk’ reaction and Jay Gibbs announcing his return to base with a well drilled shot in style.

We could have added more towards the end but it was a well-earned three points and in good heart for this afternoon.

Two weeks ago the Gwynedd League side were beaten here 2-3 Marc Wilson and Dewi Thomas on target for Hotspur, but last Saturday’s game with Llanystumdwy was called off.  The reason being the high winds could have been dangerous etc., what with the renovations going on at present on the stand roof with all the scaffolding about the place etc.  The dressing rooms also are having to be refurbished and Holyhead Hotspur would like to apologise for any inconvenience until the work is completed.  I am sure Secretary Richard Parry will fill you in more in his notes.

Next Saturday Hotspur visit Mold Alex for a 2pm kick off and next first team home game is v Porthmadog here on the 21st February 2.30 pm kick off.

The Reserves are due in Llanystumdwy in the Safeflu Shield this afternoon and are home to Menai Bridge for a Gwynedd League fixture on Saturday 14th February 2pm kick off.  Enjoy this afternoon’s game, onwards and upwards.

Gareth M Davies

Secretary Report

Welcome to everyone connected with Rhydymwn FC for today’s Huws Gray alliance league match. When Rhydymwn came to us in September 2013 at the start of the 2013/4 season they took the three points with a 3 – 1 win. I hope that is not on the cards today as another three points will help us climb the table and achieve our ambition of a top six position at the end of the season.

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.

After two clean sheets - a draw 0 – 0 against a very strong and competitive Caernarfon Town at their place a couple of weeks ago, and a good 2 – 0 win at Llandrindod Wells last Saturday the lads are in ‘good heart’ but football is a strange game and we need to treat every team with the respect they deserve. Rhydymwn are bottom of the league but every team in this league is capable of taking points from each other, so we need to remain focused on the job in hand. I am sure Campbell will be impressing his lads with that message.

Our local boy Trefor Lloyd Hughes who is president of the FAW has been nominated by the FAW for the soon to be vacant FIFA vice presidency and also for UEFA’s executive committee. We wish Trefor well and know that he will do a good job for football with his years of experience at all levels. I started referring in 1959 after National Service, and have known Trefor for many years and appreciated the dedicated service he brought to the various roles in football he undertook especially as secretary of his beloved  NWCFA. Good luck Trefor from all connected with Hotspur.

Jonathan Taylor the Programme editor was able to put in past editions of the programme 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.  We recently had 4 ground hoppers from Nottingham 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.

The FAW are obviously keen to improve the standards of clubs so they are introducing a Level 2 (Huws Gray and Welsh League South) set of criteria. The criteria will not be as stringent as the existing Domestic Licence but will make sure that club’s infrastructure is of a high standard and that the clubs concerned show good administration, legal and financial viability. 

There is talk that the Welsh Premier league will be increased to sixteen clubs in season 2016/7. That’s an interesting challenge to clubs at our level!!

Three of the mid Wales clubs and two Wrexham area clubs are struggling in the league at the moment and it looks certain that several will be relegated at the end of the season to be replaced by Llanfair United (Spar League) 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. Talk ‘on the street’ is that two clubs will come down from the Welsh Premier and they look very much like North Wales clubs so there will be quite a shake up at the bottom of our league at the end of this season.

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by the refurbishment of the stadium. The work has to be completed by 31st March so that the grant the Council got can be spent in due time. I know it will be a disappointment to many that they cannot go into the main stand but hopefully we will be back there for the Porthmadog home match on the 21st February, but things are not in our hands so ‘here’s hoping’. The changing block is also being refurbished and that too will present us with problems with players having to use the Leisure centre across the road, and maybe no Café for match days for a little while.
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 but he has not come back to me yet. 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.                                                                            
I am sure the forthcoming league fixtures are somewhere in the programme (or on the Web site but a reminder that the first team is away next Saturday at Mold with a 2pm kick off and then home to Porthmadog and away on the 28th to Guilsfield in the semi final of the League challenge cup. That will be a tough one but the lads will be ‘up for it’.

The reserves match last Saturday had to be postponed so sorry if anyone turned up and found no match on. We made sure that Facebook and the Web site told supporters that the match was off. The high winds made it a health and safety risk to allow the game to be played with the corrugated sheets only partly taken off the main stand roof. The reserves are away today at Llanystumdwy in the Safeflu Shield then home to Menai Bridge 2pm kick off Saturday 14th February and away on the 21st and 28th to Nefyn United and Harlech Town.

Mark Blackwell has been able to get us a second hand mobile building which will be on site in April sited where the old portacabin was. It will be used as a store room and a club shop.

I wish to again 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