Rhydymwyn’s dreams of becoming a major force in North Wales football again received a big boost this week when they were accepted into the Welsh National League Premier Division for the 2019-20 season.
Despite finishing third in Division One last term, the Flintshire villagers have joined Plas Madoc and Castell Alun Colts in going up after being deemed suitable to fill a Premier vacancy created by the recent resignation of FC Nomads.
Rhyd were last in the WNL Premier in 2011/12 and they no doubt hope, like on that occasion, it will lead to promotion to the tier-two JD Cymru North.
The club, which plays at Vicarage Road, now-named the Mornflake Mighty Oats Ground, have a fantastic past to reflect on.
FAW Trophy winners in 1994/95 and 1995/96, Rhyd then landed the Cymru Alliance title in 1997/98, with only ground criteria denying them promotion to the League of Wales.
Now the club is back on the up.
Grassroots North Wales spoke to Rhydymwyn manager Anthony Weaver to get his thoughts on the promotion news.
GNW: You finished third in Division One last season, but were some points behind the league champions. Do you feel Rhydymwyn have what it takes to compete well in the Premier?
AW: Very true, we did finish a fair few points behind Plas Madoc, but last season we had a brand new squad as we had to rebuild from the previous season. We brought in a lot of younger players and it took time to gel and gain experience of the league. We finished the season strongly and reached the league cup final. Although it’s going to be tough I firmly believe we will compete and hold our own in the Premier Division.
GNW: Were you expecting the promotion? And had you planned for it? i.e strengthened the squad this summer?
AW: There was always an outside chance of promotion, we just had to wait for things to develop. As we don’t have a budget to offer money to players and we know teams in this league have a financial advantage, competing for players is tougher, but we have young, hungry committed lads and we have tried to strengthen. We have brought in some good players and retained all of last season’s players. Like everyone we are always looking to improve in areas but they have to be the right fit for the club and follow our values and also buy into what we are building.
GNW: Rhydymwyn are on the up – not just the first team but the club as a whole. Tell us a little about all the teams you have representing you now?
AW: We now have a first team, reserve team and under-19’s in the senior set up and also have a Rhydymwyn junior team for the first time ever. We are looking to build good club foundations and ensure the the club is sustainable and can continue to develop.
GNW: What are your realistic ambitions for the season ahead in the Premier?
AW: I think it will be a tough competitive league, but we look forward to the challenge.
I look back to the last game of last season when we needed a 10-0 win to finish third and I had to make an appearance from the bench. Like Roy of the Rovers stuff, I scored the 10th goal in the 90th minute, but that was just the icing on the cake as what the team achieved in the 5 games previous to that was what helped us achieve third place, which is now part of Rhydymwyn’s history.
It is a very impressive history which has seen the club win many leagues and cups and compete in tier 2. We are lucky to still have members on the committee who were part of the club’s original history.
Mike Chesters – Rhydymwyn FC chairman
Prior to arriving at Rhydymwyn, I had successful spells as chairman of Connah’s Quay Nomads for five years, and Shotton Steel.
I took a total break from football for five years, where in that period I had many offers to come out of retirement but declined them all.
Then out of the blue I had contact from someone at Rhydymwyn to come up and have a look around.
I went up there, was impressed with everything and decided to give it a go. We had no team at the time.
The rest now is history, with 4 teams on board and also shortly announcing more mini football sessions this season.
Did I expect promotion before our final game of last season? Needing to win 10-nil to achieve third place to give us a slim chance of going up? I would say no.
That day goes down as one of the best wins under me as chairman. It was fitting that our manager Anthony Weaver came off the bench to score the 10th goal – unbelievable.
Anthony played for me as a very young child – a great guy.
We had been planning in case the promotion would happen this season, and now it has.
My ambition is to get Rhydymwyn to the highest level we can compete in.
Rhydymwyn FC – A potted history
Rhydymwyn FC was formed in 1911 and played in the old Halkyn and Clwyd leagues before joining the Welsh Alliance in 1990.
The 90s were to prove a golden decade in the history of a club based in the village of Rhydymwyn, near Mold.
They were crowned Welsh Alliance champions in 1994/95 and won the FAW Trophy in the same season, repeating the feat the following campaign, beating Taffs Well and Penrhyncoch in the respective finals of the national knockout.
In 1997/98, Rhydymwyn lifted the Cymru Alliance title, but did not meet promotion criteria for the League of Wales.
When Ken Knowles, who had guided the club to many glories, stepped down as manager after 11 seasons in charge, Rhyd decided to appoint a player-boss from within their ranks, but the plan backfired and they had to resign from the CAL at the end of 1999/2000 due mainly to a lack of players.
The club dropped two levels to the Clwyd League and finished up Premier Division champions in their first season.
This brought promotion to the Welsh Alliance, where they landed the Alves Cup in 2003/04 and Barritt Cup in 2007/08, and eventually scooped the league championship in 2009/10.
Life back in the Cymru Alliance proved difficult, resulting in instant relegation in 2010/11.
However, Rhyd bounced straight back up from the Welsh National Premier, where they finished runners-up, and gained elevation to the league then known as the Huws Gray Alliance for 2012/13.
The next three seasons in the tier-two league were a serious struggle and led to temporary disbanding in 2014/15.
They returned in 2016/17 in Welsh National League Division One, where they spent three seasons before being promoted to the Premier Division for 2019-20.