Caerwys Football Club have appointed what is believed to be the youngest-ever manager in the history of British football.
Jordan Hadaway, who turned 18 in July, had started the season as joint-boss of the tier-five North East Wales League club alongside Ethan Jones.
Last month saw Jones step up to sole manager status while Hadaway became assistant.
However, last weekend Jones fell ill and he is now taking an enforced break from football, meaning teenager Hadaway is the new first-team manager.
Back in 2012, Dave Webber, a 19-year-old second year human geography student at Aberystwyth University, was unveiled as manager of Mid-Wales League side Dolgellau Athletic. This made him the youngest manager of a senior team in the history of British football.
At a year younger, Jordan Hadaway now breaks the record.
The youngest-ever top-flight manager in Europe is Niall McGuinness, who became boss of Welsh Premier League club Rhyl in 2016 at the age of 24. McGuinness is now in charge at Cymru North high-flyers Flint Town United.
Jordan Hadaway was interviewed by Grassroots North Wales today about his unique footballing achievement.
Grassroots North Wales: At just 18 years of age you are believed to be the youngest ever manager of a senior football team in the UK – how does that feel?
Jordan Hadaway: It feels great if I’m honest but I have worked hard to get to this point so here is my chance. Also with the title of youngest-ever that makes me feel honoured and it will make me more determined to get us back up the table.
GNW: How much will it help that you have already had experience of joint-management at Caerwys alongside Ethan Jones?
JH: It will help a lot as I know all the lads there and we all know how it generally runs even though there will be slight changes. It will help obviously as I now have been in men’s football for nearly 2 seasons so I believe I have enough experience to have a go and make it work.
GNW: This season has not gone as well as hoped so far at Caerwys it seems?
JH: No, so far this season hasn’t gone great but we still have time to change this. We are in a rut at the moment but I am sure with the lads we have we can easily turn it around. I am still confident we can move up the table.
GNW: How will you address that issue?
JH: By getting the players fitter and believing in themselves and making sure we work hard as a team in every moment of every game with the club as a whole working in the same direction.
GNW: Do you believe you have a squad capable of rising up the table, or are new players needed?
JH: I believe that every single player we have within the squad is there for a reason. I believe it’s a squad full of energy, willingness and quality. I will be trying to add depth to the squad and get some lads in where needed but overall we’re okay across the field.
GNW: Is it easy to get the respect of the players at such a young age yourself?
JH: It was hard at the start but I think my name is out there now, all the lads at Caerwys respect me as I respect them. You gain your respect in football through knowledge and I know I have the knowledge for the lads to give respect to me.
GNW: Now you are in sole charge, what will you be doing differently to what went on before?
JH: I won’t change much to be honest, I think as a team we need to be that little bit fitter so we will focus on that. My main aim is to get the squad vibe back and hopefully get points on the board.
GNW: At such a young age, where does your confidence come from to manage a men’s team? have you always had the character of a natural leader?
JH: To be honest I am not a confident person outside of football, but when I get into the changing rooms or on the training ground I am confident and give it 100%. I think throughout my playing days I was always a leader on the pitch, guided and organising the team. My main strength in my opinion is motivating people and keeping them going right until the end and as I progress and learn more I can only become more confident.
GNW: Will you be getting an assistant? If so, who will be helping you?
JH: My assistant-manager for the time I am in charge will be long-serving Caerwys player Dai Booth. Dai has been at Caerwys for around 9 years, he is a natural leader and someone all the lads look up to and respect and I think we will work well with one another.
GNW: What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
JH: Well for the time I am in charge my aim is to get the post points out of every game to compete and give 100%. I want to get us back up the table so that we’re competing for the league again.
Personally I would like to wish Ethan a speedy recovery and hopefully see him back soon. We will be staying in touch and he will be coming to watch wherever he can.