Firstly, tell us a bit about yourselves and your football backgrounds
Ethan: I first got involved in coaching with Ruthin Town Youth seven years ago. I had a good apprenticeship as Wynne Davies’ assistant for 3 seasons before stepping up to be manager of one of the youth teams for 2 seasons. During those 2 seasons I also managed at Bala Town Academy. Last season I stepped up to the senior set-up at Ruthin Town as Development Squad manager before I was offered the opportunity at Caerwys. I was pleased to have successfully completed the UEFA B Licence earlier in the year. Seeing as I’m managing at 28, it’s safe to say my playing career never went anywhere – as a shorter than average goalkeeper opportunities were limited both in winter league and summer league.
Jordan: Firstly I started coaching with Holywell In the Community with Steve Thomas and from here it has just spiralled massively. I am 18 and started coaching when I was 15, I then went onto managing my own youth side which i still do now! These are a great bunch of kids and parents – this really was an eye opener to me. I am now Director of Youth at Holywell Town FC. This involves organising the football side of things for all of our sides from U6 to U13. It’s a tough task but one I love doing, watching them develop as well as knowing all of our 138 children well is amazing and very rewarding. All of our managers at the Youth section are doing a great job as always and I learn a lot off them every day. When I was 17 I had done my courses up to the C Licence and enrolled on the B Licence, which is huge for me. Last season I was fortunate to be involved in the Reserve side at Holywell, where we won the Welsh National League Reserves and Colts Division title, before being offered the Caerwys FC job. I am a young manager and here to prove a point to the doubters!
How did you become involved at Caerwys FC?
Jordan: I suggested to Ethan Jones that we go in there and make a difference as joint managers of Caerwys FC. Being local to Caerwys, I knew that it was a great club with many hardworking people involved that want to progress which was what I wanted so seemed a perfect match.
Ethan: Jordan Hadaway suggested we applied for the vacant manager’s position as joint-managers. After meeting with some of the committee I felt that Caerwys was the correct move for me. The committee want the club to progress, as do I, so it was a good match.
Are you satisfied with your start to the season? What has been your best performance to date?
Ethan: Yes and no. I’m delighted with the perfect start we’ve made in the league and progressing in the NEWFA Cup. However I’m hugely disappointed with our exits from the FAW Trophy and Welsh Cup, we really let ourselves down in both. Performance of the season for me was at Cefn Druids last week, I’ve never been happier losing 3-0; our discipline and defensive performance against a team full of Cymru Premier players, some with Football League experience, was great – especially for a 5th tier side.
Jordan: I am delighted with the start we have made in the league with 2 wins out of 2, but I am disappointed in our exits from the FAW Trophy and Welsh Cup as the results weren’t what we wanted; we didn’t do ourselves justice in both games and didn’t play our best which was disappointing. However, we beat Bala Town (Reserves) in the NEWFA Cup, progressing onto playing Cefn Druids in the next round, who fielded a strong side full of Cymru Premier players where we lost 3-0, which like Ethan says it’s a good result for us as they are 4 tiers above us.
What do you see as the main positives at Caerwys this season?
Jordan: We need to make sure we bring back the vibe off the pitch as it’s been flat the last few years. This will be easy for us as the committee are always working hard to make things easier and better for the lads. We’re a new side with only 5 players that played at Caerwys last year so it is really important to bond which we have done as you can tell by results.
Ethan: Positivity. We’ve got a fantastic committee who work tirelessly for the club and for them to be happy with what we’re doing on the pitch is great. Essentially we’re a brand new team, so I’m really pleased with how we’ve gelled over a short period of time and positive about what this team can do.
What is Caerwys like as a community? Do you get good support from the locals?
Ethan: Caerwys is a really good community and we receive a lot of support from local businesses with sponsorship and after match hospitality etc. We’re really grateful for all the support we have from the local community. I’m told attendances are noticeably up on the last few years and we’ve had very good travelling support in the NEWFA Cup and at Sychdyn in the league.
Jordan: Caerwys people have been starting to back us lately with most travelling to Sychdyn and Bala to watch us and me and Eth are both thankful for the support. There is still room to improve attendance at home games which will come I hope. As well as watching is the support given by the businesses is strong too with sponsorship, without sponsors we would struggle.
What are your thoughts on the standard of the North East Wales League? Who will be your main rivals for the top spots this season?
Jordan: The standard is good and definitely better than the reserve league I was in last year as a coach. I think there are a few that will be up there with us this season, personally I think Sychdyn, Chirk Town and Brymbo Victoria will all be up there.
Ethan: Having managed in the WNL Reserves & Colts last season, the North East Wales League is certainly a step up in standard. I think Sychdyn and Chirk Town will be up there at the end of the season. However, Brymbo Victoria have made an exceptional start too.
Do you preach a particular style of football?
Ethan: Very much so. However, I believe you have to be pragmatic and adaptable too. I’ve always found that teams who are heavily philosophy focused are their own worst enemies when they come up against someone who has sussed them out, as they’re too inflexible in their principles and inevitably become predictable.
Jordan: Yes, I like my teams to play attractive football where possible but I do believe sometimes you need to adapt and change the way you play depending on the conditions or who you’re up against.
What are your main targets for this season?
Jordan: The main target this season is to win the league, and challenge for all 4 league cups. I think this is really achievable this season for us. The NEWFA Cup, FAW Trophy and Welsh Cup were learning curves and great to be a part of as we learnt many things we wouldn’t have if we didn’t participate in them.
Ethan: Winning the league to ensure we’re in tier 4 next season. We’re hoping to do well in the league cups too. We’ve enjoyed participating in the NEWFA Cup and Welsh Cup and the lessons we’ve learned will prove invaluable, which is why we entered. The FAW Trophy, though, was a missed opportunity.
How far do you think you can take the club?
Ethan: The aim this season is promotion, I think we’d be capable of competing well in tier 4. But until that looks like a mathematical certainty, it’s one game at a time.
Jordan: This season we believe it’s promotion for us. After that I think the aim is to take the club as far as we physically can. I think if we went up then next season we could comfortably compete in tier 4, but we will deal with that when it happens.
Do you have any managerial/coaching role models?
Jordan: Steve Thomas and Andy Lewis. Both of these guys have been great with me and watching them has made me want to succeed even more. Steve Thomas is a huge role model for me as he got the ball rolling for me in terms of coaching, he is always on the end of the phone if I need advice or need a favour and I have learnt and am still learning a lot from him. Andy Lewis was first team coach at Holywell. He was there for 5 years I think and his professionalism was unbelievable on and off the pitch and the way he did simple things was incredible. He pays a lot of attention to detail which I have taken from him, I am sure he won’t be out of the game for too long as he is one of the best in the game.
Ethan: Wynne Davies and Colin Caton are the managers who’ve had the biggest impact on me as a manager/coach. Wynne Davies, Ruthin Town Youth chairman, has taught me a lot in terms of organisation and standards I expect from myself and players. Colin Caton, Bala Town manager, opened up my eyes to how important, and the amount of detail you give to players is. From the professional game Julian Nagelsmann is a great role model and example of a young manager doing well.
What are your future ambitions in football?
Ethan: I don’t look too far ahead. My ambition is to deliver success for Caerwys FC and do all I can to ensure we’re in tier 4 next season.
Jordan: Personally for me, it’s all about the here and now. As long as I can deliver success to Caerwys FC and ensure we will be playing tier 4 football next season I will be happy.