Llysfaen manager Emlyn Robert Jones selects his All-Time North Wales XI today.
Players picked can be from any era. Managers can choose players they worshiped as a kid, played alongside, played against, managed or managed against.
Under Emlyn’s leadership, Llysfaen are having their finest-ever season in Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Division One, having lost just once all campaign, to Bangor 1876 in the NWCFA Junior Cup.
Emlyn said: “My squad is from players that I’ve coached or managed from the last 10 years within senior football/u18s that are NOT in my current squad.
“Some I’d imagine people haven’t heard of but it’s not through lack of quality and these are the players that I’ve picked based on working with them.
“Been fortunate to work with some good players but these are my favourites.”
Came to me back in 2013 as a 16 year old making his first steps into senior football. Amazingly enough I was told he wasn’t very good as he was always a second choice keeper, but it didn’t take long to see that whoever said that knew nothing about football.
Joe was a class act between the sticks, even winning league player of the season at the end of 2014-15. We missed him massively when he went to uni in 2015 and it’s only really been this season that we have managed to find a replacement in Cain Folly that fills the void he left.
The nice man of my football teams. Gwilym was the sort of player that would run through a wall if I asked him to. Was able to play full back either side as well as in midfield if need be. Never let me down and another one I lost to uni, otherwise I’d have no doubt he would be playing at a good level now.
This lad I coached when I started coaching junior football. He was (is) a quiet, shy lad when I started coaching. He had an engine to rival most players, a sweet left foot with stunning technique and a throw that rivaled Rory Delap.
I remember a NWCFA Cup game away in Blaenau at U-12 level. We had a plan to put our bigger lads in the box for an attacking throw. Needless to say the opposition manager thought we were daft, until he saw this missile land on my centre-back’s head on the penalty spot!
He doesn’t play anymore which is such a shame as he’s still only 20-21 and has so much more to give! Fantastic player that could also hit a screamer.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with him the odd season here and there. Makes the game look so effortless, would loved to have seen him at a club, settled and really make an impact as with the right players around him he is absolute quality
Played for the first two teams I managed (both Llandudno based) before making a couple of appearances for Llysfaen many years ago.
Left-footed centre back, big unit that knew how to play out of the back too. Thought of himself as a bit of a free kick taker too, but was a classy type to have at the back.
Another player I coached from 8-9 years of age. He was one of the most attacking defenders you would ever meet. Scored with his head or feet.
One season he finished top scorer, but as soon as I moved him further forward he would stop scoring!
He was the sort of player you could never tell him how well he was playing, you would always have to tell him that he needs to do more, that’s how I would get the best out of him. Was proud of him when he made the step up the levels but a horrible injury stopped him playing for a long time.
A player that I coached a long, long time ago while I was working with the NWCFA rep side.
Although he probably wouldn’t remember me he was memorable because he was quick, skillful, loved beating his man and could finish given the right chances. Played in the Cymru Alliance for Llandudno and Rhyl. I’m sure he is out in Australia playing now, but I remember thinking at the time that he was a very good player even at 16-17.
I’ve been fortunate to have had his brothers Joe and Kian play for me at some point, both players fantastic, but Tom makes this squad for a number of reasons. He can play, he was brilliant at breaking up attacks, was great at getting forward, was versatile. Was a huge loss when he left as I felt he was the sort of player to build a team around.
Went to school with Scott and I never saw him play, so when I got a message off him back in 2013 asking to play I thought ‘ah sod it why not’.
The team back then was not strong, yet he managed to have a decent return, he covered so much ground up top and if he had better players around him at the time he would have scored treble the goals he actually got. I know over the years he’s played out wide but he was more then comfortable in the ‘9’.
Another player I had many, many years ago. I think it was his first season in senior football and although I’ve not seen too much of him over the last few years I’ve always remembered the quality he had.
He could play at the back or up top, but we usually put him up front as he was just so good at finishing, was strong as an ox and was very clever in the box. Is now record goalscorer for Welsh Alliance side Llandudno Albion.
I could have picked James in a number of positions. His versatility was so important to me over the years and was capable of playing up another couple of levels if he really wanted to, but he was quite happy playing with us.
He was always Mr Consistent, never put a foot wrong and was the sort of player that you could go to if you needed something to change.
Ed Haley: A quality player in the lower levels that I wish I had more time to work with.
Steven Chegwin: Before his injury he was a quality striker that could play at the back too.
Dan Sanford: Another that could play at the back or up top, had a good time of it at Llandudno Albion but I had the pleasure of coaching him before he went there.
Lewis Thomas: There’s a pattern emerging…..another player that could play in a number of positions, always gave it everything for me
James Roberts: A stunningly good goalkeeper, I’m still baffled as to how he isn’t playing at a level where he is getting paid. Again one I’ve worked with from the age of 8-9, natural talent, phenomenal.