Think back to the summer. Holyhead, the Inter-Island Games football tournament finals day.
More than 3,000 people packed into Holyhead Hotspur’s New Stadium on June 21 to see Ynys Môn’s men’s and women’s teams go for gold.
The men’s team were crowned champions after defeating Guernsey 2-1 in the showpiece match, while Anglesey’s ladies, who had reached untold new heights just by making the final, lost narrowly 2-1 to the Isle of Man.
It was not just about the results, it was the occasion. That 3,000 plus crowd dwarfed the turnout at national events such as football’s Welsh Cup Final between The New Saints and Connah’s Quay Nomads, which pulled in just 1,256 to The Rock, Cefn Druids, in May.
This is what the town of Holyhead can do – bring masses of people together in the name of sport.
Following the success of the football tournament, Ynys Môn now has a great chance of hosting the 2025 full Island Games.
And so begs the question…..
Why doesn’t Holyhead, a town with such an illustrious sporting history and surely a bright future, have its own 4G all-weather sports facility?
It is criminal this question even needs to be asked. It should be a given when one considers what has been spent on other, let us say, arguably less meritorious projects on the island.
It was recently revealed that the Millbank AstroTurf development in Holyhead failed an assessment on 8 out 11 safety points.
As we write, this facility is currently closed for the foreseeable future due to floodlight failure. Without suitable drainage, the surface is diabolical.
Frustrations have boiled over among the town’s sporting community, with one man, Holyhead Hotspur Reserves manager Tom Scott, starting an on-line petition in a quest to get something done.
The response has been vast, with tonight more than 700 people having already registered their support with the target being at least 1,000 signatures.
Tom Scott said: “Holyhead has a rich sporting history and currently the biggest population on Anglesey, dwarfing everyone else by nearly double. It is not viable for teams to use Llangefni or Bangor facilities on a weekly basis.
“With 5 senior football teams in the town (Holyhead Hotspur and Reserves, Holyhead Town and Reserves plus Caergybi FC) and more in the local area, as well as other sports teams who are unable to train at the moment, they would really benefit from an all-weather 4G pitch.
“More importantly the main beneficiaries would be the youth of Holyhead and surrounding areas who are at the moment being deprived of a top class sporting facility to keep fit and enjoy physical activity during the winter months.
“Not only Holyhead youth teams but also Trearddur Bay, Valley, Bodedern would all benefit. Potentially 1000s of kids would have somewhere properly to train and develop.
“Couple that with the fact that both the primary and secondary school in Holyhead is only a stone’s throw away, it would have a massive positive impact on the school children to have a new facility to use. That would truly make Millbank a top class facility and open it up to 1,200 children of all ages within walking distance.
“The fact that the local sports facilities have been allowed to get to a state of disrepair is a stain following the successful hosting of the Island Games football tournament and is quite frankly embarrassing.
“The whole community would benefit for years to come with a top class 4G pitch that would give the next generation a chance to fulfil their sporting ambitions and promote physical and mental well-being.
“I urge you along with many other members of the community in getting onboard and bringing Holyhead into the modern era. Too long has money gone to Llangefni.
“Holyhead is being neglected.
“Please share and spread the word. Let’s put pressure onto the council to do their job. Voting time is around the corner so now is our chance to take back control and give Holyhead and the wider area something to be proud of.”
Dale Moffat, manager of Caergybi FC, said on social media: “It’s important we sort this quick and get somewhere in Holyhead where football teams both adult and kids can train. Can everyone please share and sign this petition.”
Holyhead Hotspur media officer Barry Roberts added: “Please sign and share the petition to hopefully get some movement from Anglesey County Council to improve the facilities at Millbank. Temporary measures are not enough.”
Anyone wishing to sign the petition can do so here: https://www.change.org/p/anglesey-county-council-holyhead-needs-a-4g-all-weather-pitch