2011-12: Looking back at Holyhead Hotspur’s greatest season

Holyhead Hotspur celebrate winning the 2011/12 Welsh Alliance Cookson Cup – the first leg of a treble. Picture: Adrienne Edwards

What a season!

The 2011-12 campaign was, in terms of silverware won, the most successful in the history of Holyhead Hotspur Football Club, who celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.

Not only did Hotspur capture the domestic treble of Welsh Alliance League title, Cookson Cup and Barritt Cup, they also came within 90 minutes of an unprecedented quadruple by reaching the FAW Trophy Final.

They lost to Sully Sports 2-1 in the showpiece, but had they won the national Trophy too it would have set a record never to be beaten.

Nonetheless, to clean up all the available trophies in your league in the same season is quite a feat.

During 2011/12, Hotspur compiled a record in all competitions of: played 49 won 42 drawn 1 and lost 6 with 159 goals scored and 48 conceded.

Leading the way in the scoring stakes was Mel McGinness, who banged in 49 for the first team and added another one for the reserves to make it 50 club goals in total.

Midfield ace Jay Gibbs was at his most dynamic, bagging 26 goals, while Asa Thomas, who had returned to Trearddur Bay United before Christmas, still netted a vital 17 times in those early weeks.

Kenleigh Owen (16) and Mike Edwards (12) also hit double figures, but it was not just about the goalscorers.

How about the goalkeeping skills of Ben Heald, one of Anglesey’s finest, the rock-like defending of Gareth Owen, midfield dynamism of Mike Kelly and Chris Saxon, plus versatile performers worth their weight in gold like Dan McGinness, Jonathan Peris-Jones, Curt Williams and inspirational skipper Tom Nathan Edwards.

Dion Donohue, later to star in the Football League, was a crucial squad member, while a very young Alex Jones was showing maturity beyond his years at the back.

Rory Courlander, Richard Owen and Luke Roberts were other key faces in the mix.

Managed by Emlyn Manley Williams, Hotspur began the season on fire, going unbeaten in their opening 15 games, 14 of which they won.

It took a strong Buckley Town side which finished third in the Cymru Alliance that campaign to finally hand Hotspur their first defeat – a 5-2 reverse in the Welsh Cup.

The wins kept flowing for Hotspur, the occasional odd-goal league loss failing to derail their surge for the title.

Mel McGinness hit a real purple patch between December and March where he grabbed 22 goals in an 11-game spell.

On March 21, 2012, the first trophy arrived as a Chris Saxon double saw off Gwalchmai 2-0 in the Cookson Cup Final.

Next came that FAW Trophy Final against South Wales Senior League champions Sully at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth.

The Vale of Glamorgan side were from tier 5 of the pyramid, so it was quite a shock that they managed to edge past Hotspur 2-1. Despite a wonder goal from Jay Gibbs, it was not Holyhead’s day.

Despite this, the Holy Islanders did not let their heads drop, even after their league title quest was dealt a blow by a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

Holyhead Hotspur rejoice at winning the 2011-12 Welsh Alliance championship. Tom Nathan Edwards lifts the trophy aloft

They won a massive clash against nearest challengers Holywell Town 3-1 and clinched the second Welsh Alliance crown in their history with a 5-0 win against Llanrwst United.

And there was still a treble to be won. Hotspur met Holywell again in the Barritt Cup Final and goals from Kenleigh Owen and Mike Edwards sealed a 2-1 triumph and a third piece of silverware in an unforgettable season.

Current Welsh Alliance Division One leaders Hotspur are this season in line to chalk up an identical treble, with them having reached the Cookson Cup Final and remaining in the Mawddach-Barritt Cup.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this season ever does get completed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, let’s all toast the heroes of 2011/12….

THE STATS

HOLYHEAD HOTSPUR RESULTS AND GOALSCORERS 2011/12 SEASON

May 12, 2012 – Holywell Town (BCF) 2-1 (Kenleigh Owen, Mike Edwards)
May 05, 2012 – Llanrwst United (h-lge) 5-0 (Mike Edwards 2, Jay Gibbs 2, Gareth Owen)
Apr 28, 2012 – Holywell Town (h-lge) 3-1 (Mike Edwards, Mel McGinness 2)
Apr 24, 2012 – Glan Conwy (a-lge) 1-0 (Rory Courlander)
Apr 18, 2012 – Bodedern Athletic (a-lge) 4-2 (Kenleigh Owen 2, Mel McGinness 2)
Apr 14, 2012 – Sully Sports (FAW FINAL) 1-2 (Jay Gibbs)
Apr 07, 2012 – Llanrwst United (a-lge) 3-0 (Kenleigh Owen, Jay Gibbs, Tom Nathan Edwards)
Mar 31, 2012 – Llanrug United (a-lge) 4-2 (Kenleigh Owen, Jay Gibbs 2, Mel McGinness)
Mar 28, 2012 – Gwalchmai (h-BCSF) 3-1 (Mel McGinness 2, Jay Gibbs)
Mar 24, 2012 – Bethesda Athletic (h-lge) 1-0 (Mel McGinness)
Mar 21, 2012 – Gwalchmai (CCF) 2-0 (Chris Saxon 2)
Mar 17, 2012 – Denbigh Town (a-lge) 1-2 (Mike Edwards)
Mar 14, 2012 – Pwllheli (h-lge) 2-0 (Mike Edwards, Ogilvy og)
Mar 10, 2012 – Llanfairpwll (a-lge) 2-1 (Jay Gibbs 2, 1 pen)
Mar 07, 2012 – Glan Conwy (h-lge) 1-2 (Dion Donohue)
Mar 04, 2012 – Llanrwst United (FAW SF) 3-1 (Mel McGinness 3)
Feb 25, 2012 – Pwllheli (a-lge) 3-0 (Mel McGinness 3, 1 pen)
Feb 22, 2012 – Caernarfon Wanderers (h-lge) 5-1 (Gareth Owen, Kenleigh Owen, Jay Gibbs, Mel McGinness 2)
Feb 18, 2012 – Llanrug United (h-BC) 2-1 (Kenleigh Owen, Mel McGinness)
Feb 11, 2012 – Denbigh Town (a-FAW) 5-0 (Gareth Owen, Mel McGinness, Mike Edwards, Mike Kelly, Curt Williams)
Feb 04, 2012 – Llandudno Junction (h-lge) 3-1 (Mel McGinness 2, Mike Edwards)
Jan 28, 2012 – Nefyn United (a-lge) 1-2 (Mel McGinness)
Jan 18, 2012 – Llanllyfni (h-BC) 3-0 (Mel McGinness 2, Dion Donohue)
Jan 14, 2012 – Llanrug United (a-FAW) 3-2 (Mel McGinness 2, Mike Edwards)
Jan 07, 2012 – Llanrug United (a-CC) 3-1 (Gibbs 2, A Jones)
Jan 02, 2012 – Gwalchmai (h-lge) 4-0 (Mel McGinness 2, Gibbs, Donohue)
Dec 27, 2011 – Gwalchmai (a-lge) 2-1 (Gibbs, Mel McGinness)
Dec 17, 2011 – Barmouth and Dyffryn (a-lge) 9-3 (K Owen 2, Mel McGinness 2, Dan McGinness, Gibbs 3, Donohue)
Dec 10, 2011 – Caernarfon Town (h-lge) 1-0 (Gibbs)
Dec 3, 2011 – Holywell Town (a-lge) 0-2
Nov 26, 2011 – Bethesda Athletic (a-CC) 6-1 (J P Jones, Newell og, Mel McGinness 2, 1 pen, K Owen, Gibbs)
Nov 19, 2011 – Gwalchmai (h-FAW) 3-2 (G Owen, Mel McGinness, J P Jones)
Nov 09, 2011 – Beaumaris Town (h-Barritt Cup) 5-0 (Thomas, 1 own goal, Mel McGinness 2, Curt Williams)
Nov 05, 2011 – Buckley Town (a-WC) 2-5 (Saxon, K Owen)
Oct 29, 2011 – Llanfairpwll (h-lge) 4-1 (K Owen, Thomas 3)
Oct 22, 2011 – Llandudno Junction (a-lge) 4-2 (A Jones 2, M Edwards, Mel McGinness)
Oct 15, 2011 – Llandudno Junction (a-FAW) 2-0 (Gibbs, G Owen)
Oct 8, 2011 – Caernarfon Wanderers (a-lge) 3-0 (Saxon, Mel McGinness, L Roberts)
Oct 1, 2011 – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (a-WC) 6-1 (K Owen 2, Saxon, Thomas, J P Jones, 1 own goal)
Sep 24, 2011 – Denbigh Town (h-Cookson Cup) 6-0 (A Jones, Gibbs, M Edwards, Mel McGinness, Thomas, J P Jones)
Sep 21, 2011 – Llanrug United (h-lge) 2-1 (M Edwards, Thomas)
Sep 17, 2011 – Gaerwen (h-FAW Trophy) 11-0 (Thomas 3, Gibbs 3, Mel McGinness 2, A Jones, T N Edwards, Saxon)
Sep 14, 2011 – Nefyn United (h-lge) 1-0 (Thomas)
Sep 03, 2011 – Llanfair United (h-Welsh Cup) 4-3 (Mel McGinness 2, K Owen 2)
Aug 29, 2011 – Denbigh Town (h-lge) 5-0 (Mel McGinness 3, Thomas 2)
Aug 27, 2011 – Barmouth and Dyffryn United (h-lge) 6-1 (Thomas 2, Mel McGinness, Gibbs, R Owen, Ryan og)
Aug 24, 2011 – Caernarfon Town (a-lge) 3-2 (Thomas, Saxon, Gibbs)
Aug 20, 2011 – Bethesda Athletic (a-lge) 4-0 (Thomas, Mel McGinness 3)
Aug 17, 2011 – Bodedern Athletic (h-lge) 0-0

GOALS (159)
Mel McGinness 49, Jay Gibbs 26, Asa Thomas 17, Kenleigh Owen 16, Mike Edwards 12, Chris Saxon 7, Alex Jones 5, Own Goals 5, Gareth Owen , Jon Peris Jones 4, Dion Donohue 4, Curt Williams 2, Tom Nathan Edwards 2, Richard Owen 1, Luke Roberts 1, Mike Kelly 1 Dan McGinness 1, Rory Courlander 1.

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