Meet the Manager: Riki Wyn Rowlands (CPD Llanuwchllyn)

Riki Wyn Rowlands is the proud manager of CPD Llanuwchllyn

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your football background

I’m 34 years of age and I live in the Bala area. I work as a behavioural officer in Ysgol Bro Idris, Dolgellau and I’m also a retained fireman in Bala.
I started my football career with Bala at the age of 16 and had 10 great years there. As a team we won most things we entered; I played for the reserve team most of my time at Bala. I made the odd first team appearance off the bench too, but a reserve player I was.
We won the old Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division Two title and cup back in 2005/6 season, then the following year we won Division One.
Then the new format was introduced in 2007/08 and we were the first team to win the Reserve league and cup – that was a very enjoyable season.
After 10 great years with Bala a number of the reserve players wanted to play first team football so we decided to sign for Llanuwchllyn.
We have had a number of successful seasons at the club and in 2016 we won the WNL Division One League Cup – Llan’s first cup in some years!
I stopped playing a few years ago due to a weak knee and recently snapped my ligaments playing in a friendly. I’m 15 weeks post op now and slowly on the mend. I’m still quietly confident once fully recovered and two stone lighter I’ll be able to put the Llan shirt on again!  

How do you feel this season is going for Llanuwchllyn?

So far I’m really pleased with how our season has gone. We have improved massively since last year. There are a lot of positives so far this season; we have beaten a few really strong teams and performances at times have been outstanding. What’s frustrating is that we haven’t been consistent enough and losing games to teams below us in the league, but saying that any team can beat anyone in our division – it’s really competitive.

What has been your best and worst performance this season to date?

Llanuwchllyn line up with Riki Wyn Rowlands (back row – furthest left) next to kit sponsor Tim Williams of Spirit of ’58

Our worst performance this season has to be Saltney at home just before Christmas where we lost 4-0. We didn’t turn up at all and got outplayed in every department.
There have also been a few games where we have been the better team but just not been clinical enough in front of goal.
There have been a number of good performances this season but the two that stick out for me are Llay Welfare away and both Brymbo games. Llay are very similar to us and it’s always a tough place to go and we went there with a few key players missing and put on a really good performance. Over the years we have always had a beating off Brymbo, losing 7-1 and 7-2 last season, so to do the double over them this year was really pleasing , but to be fair this season over the two games we were by far the better team.

How do you feel your new signings have settled in this season?

New signing Oli Crimp has settled in brilliantly at Llanuwchllyn

Really well. The signings I have made have fitted in perfectly with the lads we already had at the club. A few left and came back at the start of the season, A few hadn’t played at this level before and I strongly agree on giving lads a chance to prove themselves at the highest possible level they can.
A prime example of this is my first signing at the start of pre-season Oli Crimp. He came to us pre-season having played 3-4 years with Corwen reserves and has improved massively as the season has gone on.
Dave P Jones is another player who has made the step up from playing lower league football and is a solid centre-half who’s scored a few goals too. So overall I’m really pleased with the whole squad.

WNL Premier Division has a few strong sides. Do you feel you have what it takes to get up among the top four or five?

I have to be honest and say yes I really do think we can compete and be among the top teams. We have shown that with results against the top teams this season. We have let ourselves down at times and not picked up points where we should have – that’s down to not being consistent enough – but like I’ve said if you don’t turn up and give 100% every game you’ll get punished in this league. But a top 6 finish is definitely our target this season.

How do Llanuwchllyn stand as a club at present? Do you have future plans to expand and develop?

We are a very small club with limited resources but with a very hard working team of players and committee who are ready to help develop us. With the new structure coming into place next season and the new criteria that every club has to meet to be able to participate at the tier 3 level we have a project/plan in place which is taking place in the next few months.
Our pitch is getting levelled and all the required improvements are set to be put into place. It’s really exciting and will be beneficial for generations to come. We are always looking for sponsors and any sort of contributions to help improve the club so hopefully this bit of coverage will help.

Does the club get good support from the community of Llanuwchllyn?

Tim Williams from Spirit of ’58, specialists in Welsh football merchandise, sponsors Llanuwchllyn’s home kit this season. Mr Williams (left) is pictured with Riki Wyn Rowlands

The club is at the heart of the village and we always get good support from the locals and that means a lot to the players. It’s a great little club which wants to improve and progress and without the support of the locals that wouldn’t be possible. It’s a big year for the club and I’m really excited to be a part of it! And I’m sure everyone will pull together to get the best possible outcome for the club. But In Llanuwchllyn that’s true with everything – it’s such a close hard working community and everyone wants the best for the village.

What has been your personal highlight as a football manager to date?

It’s my second year in charge and it’s much more rewarding this season. After Sion Tudor left the club not only did we lose him but we also lost a load of players who decided to try and play at a higher level.
I decided to put my name forward to take on the job and was really pleased to be able to manage Llan and I’ve loved every minute really, but my biggest highlight to date has to be staying up and avoiding relegation last year.
We were a very young team and to stay up was a real high. I know only one club went down but to stay in the league was a real highlight. By doing that we have managed to attract a few new faces and bring a few old faces back and I can only praise everyone’s efforts so far this season.

Do you have any managerial role models? What is your managerial style – shouter or silent but strong?

Colin Caton has performed marvels at Bala Town

Um I’ve never really thought about any managerial role models but I’m a United fan so I’d have to say Sir Alex, but locally Sion Tudor Jones has a great way of managing and always sets his standards very high and he is very honest.
I’ve tried to keep things as close to how Sion managed the club as possible and with a few of my own ideas I think I’m doing okay. Another manager who has to be up there locally is Colin Caton. What he has done in Bala is brilliant so locally id have to say Colin and Sion.

What would make this season a good one for Llanuwchllyn?

Finishing as high as possible is the main target and if we can finish in the top six I’d be very happy and consider it a good season, I also hope that we can keep everyone next season add a few to the squad and look forward to the exciting times ahead. 

Copyright Dave Jones © All rights reserved. CoverNews by AF themes.
%d bloggers like this: