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My All-Time North Wales Football XI: Alex Philp (Mountain Rangers)

Now there’s a surprise! (not). Paul Pritchard (in goal) is selected for yet another All-Time North Wales XI. Pic: Dai Sinclair

Mountain Rangers manager Alex Philp is the latest to choose his All-Time North Wales XI.

Players can be from any era. Managers can select players they worshiped as a kid, played alongside, played against, managed or managed against.

Alex took over as boss of newly re-formed Rangers this season and before the interruption of coronavirus the Rhosgadfan club were well in contention for the Anglesey League title.

A musician and author as well as a football chief, Alex is also well-known for his work as an historian for Caernarfon Town, where he has fulfilled many an important role over the years.

Alex Philp’s All-Time North Wales XI

GOALKEEPER

Paul Pritchard

Paul Pritchard adds another club success to his collection. Pic: Paul Evans, Caernarfon Town

A fantastic keeper who has served Porthmadog, Holyhead Hotspur, Llanfairpwll, Llangefni Town, Glantraeth, Bangor City, Connah’s Quay Nomads, Rhyl, AFC Blackpool and Warrington Town, as well as Ynys Môn, who he helped win the Inter-Island Games last year with a string of stunning saves in the final, including a penalty.

Made more than 200 appearances for the Canaries and in 2014/15 earned special recognition award for setting a new Cymru Alliance league record of 15 consecutive clean sheets.

Even when a striker was clean through on goal you would expect Paul to pull off the save.

RIGHT-BACK

Andy Gittins

Former Wrexham, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay hard man.

Andy was a no nonsense full back who was solid in the tackle and calm on the ball. Had been an apprentice at Wrexham.

LEFT-BACK

Phil Lunn

The captain of rival Bangor City, Phil was one of the most respected full-backs in North Wales.

Left City for a spell as a pro at Chester before returning to Farrar Road.

A Denis Irwin 8/10 consistent player who served City for over a decade.

CENTRE-BACK

Huw Williams

Huw Williams. Picture: Alex Philp

Huw was my work colleague at the Royal Mail.

He made 260 appearances for Caernarfon Town and was a member of the giant killing FA Cup side of 1987 and captained the team to the Welsh Cup semi final in 88.

Cool head, great in the air and comfortable on the ball.

Huw spent three years as a pro at Wrexham before spells at Pwllheli, Bangor and Rhyl.

CENTRE-BACK

Emrys Williams

I remember “Cherran” as a small boy in the local playing field who always had a ball at his feet.

He became one of the most feared defenders in the League of Wales, fantastic header of the ball and solid as they come.

Holds the record for Canaries WPL appearances (160) and also played for Porthmadog and Bangor City, where he won the Welsh Cup.

MIDFIELD

Nathan Craig

Nathan (left) talks tactics with Caernarfon Town team-mate Darren Thomas. Pic: Paul Evans CTFC

Although he is known for playing as a left-back in recent years, Nathan’s professional career saw him play in midfield.

One of the best passers of a ball to grace North Wales football, his wand of a left foot has seen him score 82 goals in 189 matches for Caernarfon.

Former Welsh under-21 cap and Everton pro who also made just under 50 appearances for Torquay.

MIDFIELD

Alan Morris

The great Alan Morris. Pic: Alex Philp

Former Chester, Caernarfon and Bangor player who is considered by many who played alongside him to have been the best they played with.

Alan had everything – skill, vision and when scoring 23 goals from midfield was instrumental in Caernarfon securing the Lancashire Combination league title in 1981/82.

Later joined rivals City and helped them to reach Wembley and the FA Trophy Cup final in 1984.

Sadly Alan passed away at the age of 44 in 1998.

STRIKER

Meilir Owen

Striking sensation Meilir Owen. Pic: Alex Philp

My old gym teacher, a Welsh amateur international who was one of the most feared strikers in the Northern Premier League.

Began his career with Pwllheli. scored 104 goals in 180 appearances over three spells for Caernarfon Town before joining Bangor City where he enhanced his reputation, represented North Wales Coast and British Universities and later managed Porthmadog in the League of Wales.

Now refereeing in local football and a pundit for S4C and Radio Cymru.

STRIKER

Eifion Williams

Goal machine Eifion Williams. Pic: Alex Philp

A player that needs no introduction.

On a goals per game ratio, 131 goals in 135 games for Caernarfon and Barry makes him the most lethal striker the Welsh Premier has seen.

Later went on to have a successful career with Torquay, Hartlepool and Wrexham and was the Welsh Premier’s all time record transfer when leaving CTFC for Barry for an estimated £25,000 in 1997.

WINGER

Darren Thomas

Mini Messi (second left) with club-mates Ryan Williams, Alishia Donohue (now with Mountain Rangers) and Sophie Craig. Pic: Paul Evans CTFC

“The Cofi Messi” is a natural goal scorer and entertainer who can change a game in the blink of the eye.

Has played for Llangefni and Aberystwyth in the Welsh Premier but his finest moments have come for his hometown club.

In excess of 100 goals in the yellow shirt has given him legend status with the Cofi Army and he is getting better with age.

WINGER

Bruce Urquhart

Began his career at Wrexham as a trainee alongside Huw Williams but was deemed to small for the professional game.

However, Bruce went on to become one of the most skilful players on the coast and was a member of the Bangor City team that reached Wembley in 1984 before playing for Rhyl, Llandudno and Conwy United.

Another player who could change a game in an instant and scored plenty of goals from midfield.

Substitutes

Kevin “Bach” Roberts
Every team needs a Kev Bach, probably my favourite CTFC player of all time, a true team player who gave everything every time he played. His career saw him turn out for Bangor City, Porthmadog and Glantraeth before arriving at The Oval where he gained cult status among the fans. Won seven major honours at the club before his retirement last season.

Marc Lloyd Williams
Welsh Premier League’s all-time record goal scorer with 319 goals in 467 appearances. Also represented Stockport, Halifax and York among some of his clubs. A deadly finisher who finished his career as he started it with hometown club Llanberis. Now coaches the highly successful Welsh Colleges football teams.

Clive Allen Williams
The ultimate utility player, former Leeds United trialist Clive can play anywhere on the pitch and stand out. Won a Welsh Cup winners’ medal as a teenager with Bangor City and spent several years at the club before a spell at Porthmadog. Joined Caernarfon Town and became one of the outstanding signings. Sadly a persistent injury has seen Clive retire from the game but hopefully we will see him back in football soon.

John Hayes
A legend in local circles, John scored goals for Bethesda, Nantlle Vale, Y Felinheli, Caernarfon Borough and Mountain Rangers where he held the record for most Gwynedd League goals with 51 strikes in a season in 1992/93 for 20 years. A clever old school striker who would use any trick to score a goal, I had the pleasure of playing a few seasons with John and saw him score 12 goals in 12 games at the age of 52. You never lose it.

Phil Harrington (GK)
Caernarfon lad who joined Chester City upon leaving school. Released after 76 appearances, he played for Caernarfon and Rhyl before joining Irish side Cork City. where he made 257 starts over 10 years and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Currently a goalkeeping coach at the club and has also worked with the Republic of Ireland keepers.

MANAGER

Sean Eardley

Sean Eardley

Although he is relatively new to management, his achievements speak volumes.

A fantastic character who has players wanting to play for him.

Sometimes people see Eards as the joker but behind the scenes he is meticulous in his preparations.

An infectious character who both players and supporters love – and he can buy me a pint for his inclusion.

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