News from the New Stadium

Holyhead Hotspur New Stadium Warm greetings to all Hotspur enthusiasts and to the players, officials and supporters of Llandudno football club for this evening’s game which sees Holyhead Hotspur venture into the FAW’s Word Cup (Welsh League Cup) for the first time. The Seasiders of course have been regular opponents of our in the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance for numerous campaigns but on this occasion they visit us as members of the Welsh Premier League following promotion at the end of last season as champions of the HGA.

 

Indeed they have started off in their new surroundings on a very positive note and seemingly although early days will more than hold their own in Welsh football’s flagship competition.

Our visitors enjoy excellent facilities at their Maesdy Park Stadium which they have built on over several years which goes hand in hand with the playing side, so we wish them well with the exception of tonight’s game of course!
Last season we shared the spoils at one win apiece in the Huws Gray Alliance as Julian Williams won the game for us here at the New Stadium in the end which was Tudno’s first defeat of 2014/15 spoiling their good early record in dramatic style. 

However, in the return at their venue we were on the back end of a 5-2 score line on the 3G pitch.  Kenleigh Owen and Williams on target for Hotspur while Tom Dix 2, Lee Thomas, Marc Evans and sub Peter Jones scored for the hosts in the January fixture.

Tonight’s Word Cup tie will act as a good bench mark for Campbell and Darren to judge the strength of our side for this season in what is now a very competitive league with every point hard earned as we have already seen so far, not yet a month into the new campaign.

download the match programmeAt the weekend Hotspur were home to Buckley Town who had not had the best of starts but had their first success of the season last week against Mold Alexandra with two goals from Lee Davey in the second half.  After two draws at home we finally took three points and again as against Caersws in the opening fixture here it was Damian who was our lucky omen again via his excellent early strike from a very tight angle after goalkeeper Ben Jones had spilled Jamie Roberts’ initial effort.  Damian Ketley has led the line well since his acquisition her just before the start of the season so hopefully we will see more goals from him.

Dewi Thomas had a fine game against Porthmadog in midweek alongside captain Rhys Roberts but we missed him from his midfield duties, so Manager Campbell Harrison moved quickly to acquire central defender Dan Gwynne who had spent time at Port and did not let the side down making one very important tackle, all this due to the fact Alex Jones will be missing for another few weeks due to his unfortunate arm injury sustained in pre-season and which required an operation.

Following Damian’s 11th minute goal which had come just after Buckley had hit the post it was nip+tuc before the break.  However, the second half belonged to the visitors who hit the framework again and with no doubt some justifications feel they should have got something out of the game.  Having said that our defence and Carl Jones between the sticks again as against Porthmadog stood firm with some vital interventions while there was always the chance we could nick a second which what was wanted in the second period when under pressure.

Hotspur’s first five games (four at home) in the league have seen two wins, two draws and a one goal defeat at Flint – not a bad return from a league which gets better.  After tonight’s Word Cup tie we continue with cup issues this coming Saturday when Guilsfield come here for a HGA League Cup tie when Campbell’s men will have a chance to avenge last season’s Semi-Final exit to the Guils in the same competition, 2.30 pm kick off.

After Wales goalless draw against Israel on Sunday we only need one point from two games to gain qualification to the Finals in France in June, our first finals since 1976 when we reached the final stages of the same European Championships albeit in a different format then straight through to the Quarter Finals against Yugoslavia.  This is often dubbed the forgotten qualification as the Welsh media in particular bizarrely only seem to refer to the 1958 World Cup exploits!!
Don’t forget to check all the latest news and match reports via the web sites(you can even download the match day programme their too) and press about Holyhead Hotspur and also pay a visit to our club shop for a browse as you never know what you might pick up – even a brolly for £3!  Keep the faith going strong.

Gareth M Davies


SECRETARY NOTES

Welcome everyone to the Stadium for tonight’s FAW ‘Word Cup’ round one match and a special welcome to everyone connected with MBi Llandudno FC. I hope we have an enjoyable feast of football. Referee tonight is Lee Evans and fourth official Kevin Parry and two experienced assistants all with WPL experience. This is our first time in the ‘Word Cup’ which is an FAW Cup that includes all WPL clubs and several from the HGA and Welsh League south. By getting 5th position last season in the HGA league we automatically were entered into this very prestigious Cup competition which has decent prize money. For a club like ours every penny helps, so let’s see if we can get a win and move on to the next round. I hope we get a big crowd to support and encourage the lads.

MBi Llandudno FC are doing well in their first season in the WPL, 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 youth and 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. Its hard work but we all value the commitment of the Youth Development committee, the coaches and the parents who work so hard for this club and this community.

We knew that every match against Buckley would be a difficult one and points hard to come by and Saturday was no exception. If I supported them I would be hugely disappointed not to have taken at least a point. I think they were the better footballing side because we again reverted to ‘type’ with long balls down the middle from Carl. When are going to learn that we lose most of those kicks and the ball just comes back putting us under pressure. Is it because we have limited confidence in our mid field? I hope not. Craig Hogg assistant manager of Llandudno was present and I am sure he was not very impressed with us. ‘God help us’ if that’s tonight’s performance.

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 and will be an interesting new venture for us having spent so many years in the Gwynedd League. The team will be composed very much of younger players with some ‘old heads’. They played their first match in the new Welsh Alliance reserve league a week last Thursday and went down 1 -2 to Llanrug United reserves.

They have three matches in September, away at Blaenau Ffestiniog on the 12th, home to Llanberis on the 19th and away at Porthmadog on the 24th.

Gareth Davies and daughter Sarah a teacher at the local High school, organized a competition for the Club’s recent 25th Anniversary. A new Club Anniversary badge has been made and they and many other ‘goodies’ are on sale in the new Club shop. Gareth is there before the match and the Club shop is also open at half time. Why not give it a visit.

Campbell is looking to strengthen the squad as we have lost Mel, Dan and Chris Saxon from the team recently. He has recently brought in Keiran Hilditch (on holiday for another week) and now we welcome a centre back Daniel Gwynne from Porthmadog. Daniel went straight in alongside Rhys in the back four last Saturday and looked comfortable and made some telling blocks and tackles. I am sure there may be another extra face or two within the next few weeks. With so many new players in the squad (Brendun, Jamie, Dewi, Ryan) I think to be fair it will take a little time for there to be a better understanding amongst the players. Points this season are going to be hard earned and every match will be a stern test as we have already found out in the first five matches.

Congratulations to Paul Pritchard the Caernarfon keeper who has recently been appointed as Goalkeeper Coach to the Youth at Sheffield United. Belated congratulations also to our Tony Roberts who has moved from Arsenal (where he was Goalkeeper coach) to Swansea City FC. Good luck to both as they further their careers, and I hope we will see them from time to time. Whilst talking of goalkeeper coaches it’s only right to mention our own Mervyn Williams who spends a great deal of time coaching all our young keepers. He does it from the goodness of his heart. Thanks Mervyn.

Some strange results again last Saturday with Cefn Druids losing 2 – 3 to Porthmadog, that was Cefn’s first loss in five matches. Porthmadog gave us a hard test a week ago (1 -1 draw) and could have snatched all the points. So perhaps it’s not surprising that this well-organized side turned over Cefn Druids. There will not be many clubs getting points at Cefn Druids though. Caernarfon, Prestatyn and Denbigh got good away wins and Holywell beat Guilsfield. At the moment it looks a wide open league but if I was a betting man I would put money on Cefn Druids winning the league even now.

The FAW are concerned about the level of ‘betting’ there is on matches (not on ours - £600,000 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. We have also received the new criteria for membership of level two FAW football (Huws Gray and Welsh League South). We will meet the criteria.

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. I have put an advert board up for Mark as a thank you. Also a board for ‘Linksair’ who have sponsored the first team away kit. If you are interested in an advert board around the ground please contact me Richard Parry 01407 762904, it’s a great way of showing your support for the club and the community we all serve.

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 tonight.

Richard Parry

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