Football legends of the Llŷn – No2: Mike Foster

A vintage photo of Mike Foster from his Porthmadog days. Picture: Dylan Elis

You don’t get to make more than 400 Welsh Premier League appearances without being a highly-accomplished player.

And when it comes to rating footballers from the Llŷn Peninsula, Mike Foster will always fall under the category “true great”.

A local boy who emerged through the youth ranks at Porthmadog, Foster was a trainee at Tranmere Rovers early in his career and also represented Wales Under-21s.

Best known for his skills as a left-back, he possessed a sublime left foot which served all his teams well through top-class crosses, free-kicks and from the penalty spot.

Mike made his League of Wales debut for Porthmadog as a 19-year-old in 1993-94 and soon became a regular in the side.

In his first five seasons at Y Traeth he played in 183 LoW games, scoring seven goals.

He then spent the next two campaigns at fellow LoW club Aberystwyth Town, making 38 starts for the Park Avenue outfit, who he also represented in Europe.

Foster was in the Aber side which lost 4-3 on aggregate to Floriana of Malta in the 1999-2000 Inter-Toto Cup.

A short stint at Bangor City followed before Foster returned to Port midway through 2001/02.

In 2002/03, he was a major force in the Porthmadog side which won the treble of Cymru Alliance title, League Cup and NWCFA Challenge Cup.

Port returned to the Welsh Premier League and Foster was a pivotal figure in the club’s ensuing seven top-flight seasons, starting 190 games and netting nine times.

When Porthmadog were relegated from the WPL at the end of 2009/10, Foster had made a club record 371 national league appearances (plus six as substitute), grabbing 16 goals.

His overall amount of WPL outings total 412 (+ 13 sub) putting him right up there among the league’s top servants.

Mike Foster in action for Porthmadog. Pic: Mike Smith, Citizens Choice website

During the 2009-10 season, he had briefly left Port to join Holyhead Hotspur, but soon returned to Y Traeth to assist in the club’s fight against the drop.

Mike celebrated his testimonial match against former club Tranmere by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Port in August 2006.

With Rovers having started their Football League One campaign that day, it was mainly a young side which the Prentonians sent to Port which included future Bangor City star Michael Johnston, but it was still a great occasion with Foster fittingly grabbing an early winning goal, finishing off a cross from a young Les Davies.

Foster later played for Welsh Alliance League club Penrhyndeudraeth before hanging up his boots in 2015/16. He also had a short spell as manager at Penrhyn.

He will forever be labelled a Porthmadog FC legend, but a huge respect for this classy defender extends throughout Welsh football.

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