News from the New Stadium

holyhead hotspur gresford athletic programme 29/08/2015The Memorial Road side whose headquarters are close by to Wrexham football club’s impressive colliers park training complex have done really well to return to Welsh football’s second tier in the pyramid and always give Hotspur a run for our money in the fixtures between us has always been friendly.

Gresford won the Welsh National League Premier Division by five points from Chirk AAA in 2014/15 and have been tipped under Manager Eddie Maurice Jones to make a good impression this term, however Campbell Harrison and Assistant Darren Garmey will be well aware of any problems the Wrexham area team might pose! (Hopefully). On the first weekend of the new season our visitors were unlucky to go down by the odd goal in three at home to Cefn Druids.

Last Saturday at Guilsfield always strong opponents Gresford again went down by the same scoreline, scoring through Rhys Lloyd and had a player sent off.

We got off to a very good start ourselves with a 1-0 win over always competitive opponents Caersws thanks to a very well taken goal by new signing Damian Ketley just before the hour.  With the tight affair the game turned out to be it needed a ‘special’ to break the deadlock.  The defence was outstanding with Rhys and Alex dominant at centre back while Carl between the sticks used his ‘strong hand’ well to defuse crosses and set pieces.  The whole team stuck to their task which augers well for the season prompting the headline ‘Omens good as Damian strikes’.

The three points put us in good heart for last Saturday’s trip to Flint Town United which is always a tough ask with not too much joy in recent years, and it turned out much the same again this time around losing by the only goal although the hosts could have been at least a couple of goals ahead at the break, only for Carl Jones making a number of great saves including a penalty early in the second half.  We did have a few half chances but not enough clear cut opportunities to make a difference while Campbell gave a debut to another new signing Kieran Hilditch, so a warm welcome Kieran.

With new managers at the helm for the Reserves inaugural season in the North Wales Reserve League after saying goodbye to many years in the Gwynedd League we welcome Andy Batsford and Assistant John Batson and wish them the very best of luck for 2015/16.  It will be most beneficial to the players with stronger opposition and good pitches to enable a ‘continuity’ for young talent to progress hopefully into the first team squad.  Their opening fixture in the competition at home to Blaenau Ffestiniog last Saturday did not go ahead due to player availability problems from the visitors but Llanrug United were due to visit us a couple of days ago (Thursday night).

Beginning with this afternoon Hotspur have a good chance of getting on the right track so to speak with five home League and Cup fixtures in quick succession and Porthmadog here on Tuesday evening in the Huws Gray Alliance 7.30 pm kick off, followed by Buckley at home next  Saturday 2.30 pm kick off.  These will then set us involved in two cup competitions at home to newly promoted Llandudno in the Word Cup (Tuesday 8th September 7.30 pm kick off) and Guilsfield in the HGA League Cup on Saturday 12th September which will give Campbell and Darren’s men a chance for revenge after getting knocked out of last season’s competition in the Semi-Finals by the Guils.

Hopefully we will have enjoyed some good results before the next away trip at long distance Rhayader Town on 19th September. 

See you in a few days’ time against Porthmadog, onwards and upwards.

Gareth M Davies


Welcome everyone to the Stadium for this afternoon’s Huws Gray Alliance league fixture, and a special welcome to everyone connected with Gresford Athletic. It is good to see them back in Level 2 football after an absence of several seasons.

A good win a fortnight ago against a resolute Caersws was followed last Saturday by a 1 – 0 defeat at Flint Town United. With so many new players in the squad I think to be fair it will take a little time for there to be a better understanding amongst the players. You can learn only so much in pre-seasons and training, match days is so different. Well we will wait and see how things work out in this very competitive league. Points this season are going to be hard earned and every match will be a tussle.

This is a stronger league than last season as two Welsh Premier clubs were relegated to us, Prestatyn Town and Cefn Druids, and we have the addition too of Welsh Alliance league winners Holywell Town who are always tough opposition and have rightly earned their place in the league. They held Caernarfon Town to a 0 – 0 draw a fortnight ago and Llanfair United who won the Spar league last season surprised everyone with a big win at Buckley on the opening day of the season and Gresford Athletic too will be tough opposition for us today.

We wish Llandudno FC well as champions and their first season in the Welsh Premier. They have a great set up there, with their 3g pitch and a hugely ambitious management and committee and a highly regarded Academy structure. Welsh Premier clubs get many thousands of pounds from UEFA to support their Academies, so they have a great advantage over clubs like us at the lower level. We do well to be honest to support the eleven junior/youth teams we have, starting at aged 6. It’s hard work but we all value the commitment of the Youth Development committee, the coaches and the parents who do so much to support what we are trying to achieve as a club in this community.

We have a decent squad of players that I am sure will do well again this season, whether we can retain 5th, time alone will tell, a good mid table finish would I think be a success with the strength of the sixteen clubs now of this league, but I know from the camaraderie in the ‘camp’ that Campbell, Daz and Merv and the squad are at one in giving of their very best for us. It’s up to us now to get totally behind the lads, it may be that we will struggle from time to time, we never know, football is such a funny game, but that’s the time we need to stick together.

What can I say more about the fantastic 25th Anniversary celebration of the club on Saturday 18th July. A crowd of well over 200 were entertained to a football treat, when two teams of Holyhead over 35’s played each other and what an event it turned out to be. On a glorious sunny day we saw the ‘skills of old’ as players made the game look so easy with pass and move.  Chic chat, memories, renewed friendships it all happened on that day, and the comments on ‘Facebook’ tell their own story. Thanks especially to Carl Taylor for organizing the teams and to the committee of Hotspur for working so well together to make the day so memorable for so many. Finally a word of thanks to Gareth Davies and daughter Sarah of the High school for organizing the competition for a 25th Anniversary Club badge.

Welcome to a few new faces Brendun Hogan, Dewi Thomas, Ryan Booth, Jamie Roberts, Kieran Hilditch and Damien Ketley. Jamie was part of the Connahs Quay FC scholarship programme. He will be with us this season, thereafter who knows. Chris Saxon who is carrying an injury has decided to go to Llangefni reserves for a little while and see how things develop. We wish Chris well as many of us were looking forward to seeing him play for us again. You never know he may be back with us before the season ends.

We have a new management team for the reserves. Manager is Andy Batsford and his assistant John Batson. The team is in the new Welsh Alliance Reserve League. The Reserve league is split between Gwynedd and Clwyd with eight clubs in each. After they have played each other twice, two new leagues will be formed with the top four of Gwynedd and Clwyd forming a new league and likewise the bottom four of each. This is an interesting new format and a challenge for us.
Thanks to DU Construction for getting us the new building which will house the Club Shop/Match Day office and the Club Store/Fitness Room. Some hard work by Mike Taylor and others has transformed it to what you now see, thanks to them for their hard work.

The FAW are concerned about the level of ‘betting’ there is on matches (not on ours - £600.00 per week on WPL) They have instructed all Level 1 and 2 clubs to attend a session at Bangor FC on Tuesday 29th September. This is compulsory for all first team players, managers and club officials.

Well let’s hope we continue to get the season off to a reasonable start, and the lads will need all the encouragement you can give them. It’s going to be one hell of a season with some difficult matches ahead, not least today.

Richard Parry