Please tell us a bit about yourself and your football background
I’m a proud husband and dad to 3 amazing lads, who are all keen footballers. I come from a very football oriented family and I aspired to follow in my brothers’ footsteps, but when I became a dad at a very young age I decided that football would have to a back seat for a while. As my boys got old enough to play themselves I naturally fell into coaching. Growing up I saw a lot of potential unfulfilled, so that drove me to want to try and help give young Local players a good standard of coaching.
How do you feel the season has gone for Rhyl FC Youth?
In terms of player development the season has been successful again in my opinion, our results have been very inconsistent but that can happen with such a young squad, I’m very pleased with the progress of the lads, it’s been a pleasure to work with some of them and I’m confident that we’ll see some of them step up to a higher level just as we saw after last season.
What was your best performance of the season?
I think it has to be the Premier Cup semi final v Kinmel Bay at Belle Vue (won 4-3). Kinmel Bay have set the bar really high this season and even though we’d beat them in the league a few months earlier we were clear underdogs going into the game, but the lads were brilliant, and the game had everything, end to end football, a sending off and an injury time winner that made the stadium erupt, it was brilliant to see a great crowd and the atmosphere was electric.
How disappointing was it to lose in the Premier Cup Final? Was it a fair result or could you have done better on the night?
Losing a cup final is always disappointing, but the biggest disappointment was that we never really gave a true account of ourselves, especially considering the talent within the team. After we went a goal behind I though we started to grow into the game and after the equaliser I felt we’d go on to win it, but a minor mistake cost us in the end. Maybe a couple of decisions could have gone our way but I’m still proud of the lads, in the starting line-up we had 7 players aged 18 or under, so on reflection it was great achievement.
What problems have you encountered as a team this season and how have you overcome them?
The biggest problem has been injuries. We’ve been very unfortunate throughout the season with this, I’ve tried bringing in players to help strengthen the squad but we’ve continued to suffer with injuries, contrary to what some might think, we are not able to use any players from the firsts/reserve teams so the lads have had to soldier on through difficult times. But it’s in those moments you get to see what players are really made of, and some of the lads have really stepped up to the plate, that strength of character will serve them well in the future.
Your brother James had a magnificent testimonial recently. How proud are you of his football career? Do you feel he achieved all of his potential and what does he plan to do next?
Extremely proud, you only have to listen to what people involved in the game have to say about him to know how well respected he is, and how highly thought of he is, I honestly believe he could have played at a higher level, but you can only play the hand you’re dealt, and he’s played his brilliantly. The testimonial was a great occasion and I was lucky enough to be involved it with my younger brother, nephew and my oldest son too. As for the future…?, our boys play junior football together so hopefully he’ll be happy staying on as my No 2 for our Rhyl Hearts U14s as we make a good team and what he can pass on to them is invaluable.
Is it difficult getting together a team in the Rhyl area, given the number of teams all trying to attract the local talent?
Not if you’re confident enough to work with, and trust in, young players. I’ve seen a big increase in Local coaches investing time into their own coach education. The FAW have a great coach education system and that has benefited Local football massively, not just in Rhyl but throughout North Wales. If anything, I’ve seen numerous lads stop playing after junior football because there simply is not enough teams to accommodate them. I think we’ll see more of the smaller clubs setting up Reserve and Youth teams over the next few years.
What do you think of the standard of the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division this season?
I think it’s physically very competitive, every game is a battle and you won’t get a result unless you work hard off the ball, there are also some teams playing good football, like I said Kinmel Bay have set the bar high and to be fair I’ve been very impressed with Llanfairfechan Town this season.
Do you intend to carry on as manager next season? What will your aims be?
Rhyl Youth was set up to give our young players some valuable experience playing in men’s football. The last two seasons have taught myself and the lads a lot and has served its purpose brilliantly. With the recent changes with first team management at the club there is an element of uncertainty with what will be happening next season so at the moment my future is in the club’s hands, I’ve served the club well over the last 6 years, working with different age groups so whatever the outcome I will be pleased with my own contribution.
What are your future ambitions in football?
I want to push myself to be the best coach/manager that I can be, I’d like to start working towards my A Licence in the near future and hopefully continue to help improve players and aid in their development. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great young players in the 10 years I’ve been involved in junior/academy football, and if I can make a difference to them, big or small, then I will be more than happy. Senior football has crept into my life over the last 2 seasons and I’m looking forward to seeing where that takes me.
Source : DailyPost