CPD Y Felinheli achieved one of the finest feats in their history when they were crowned Welsh Alliance League Division Two champions this week.
Manager Euron Davies spoke to Grassroots North Wales about the tremendous achievement.
Congratulations Euron. Y Felinheli, Welsh Alliance Division Two champions 2019-20. How does it feel?
Superb!! No better feeling than winning the league. It’s what we strove for back in August and we delivered.
Does the fact the season had to be completed early take any gloss off things for you?
Not at all, if you just look at some of the comments from the other teams in our league calling us out as deserved champions. The league finished in March but was won earlier on in the season.
It was a strange start – losing 6-0 to Gaerwen on the opening day and then undefeated for the rest of the season. Did you think after that 6-0 loss that the season might be an uphill struggle? Or were there mitigating circumstances for your defeat that day?
The first day of the season is probably the best day to play against us. It coincides with the last Saturday of the National Eisteddfod. Half the squad were still in Llanrwst and the half that came back should have stayed there!! But to be fair, Gaerwen were all over us on that day and deserved the win, you often learn more when you lose and we definitely did that day.
Obviously a great team effort all round, but Iwan Owen stands out with 24 league goals. How important has Iwan been to you?
Goals wins games and Iw’s been on top form this season, he’s an honest lad and he’d probably tell you himself that there should be at least another 20 on top of the 24.
His pace and trickery causes havoc for any defence, the quality of service he gets from his team-mates deserves a mention as well.
In terms of the history of the club, where does your 2019-20 title win rank among Y Felinheli’s achievements?
It’s got to be up there as one of the finest achievements for the club.
In 1987/88 the club won their highest honour, the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup, therefore that’s probably number one.
The team of 1991/92 finished in our highest league position of 2nd in the Welsh Alliance League (Tier 3) for the club.
As a player for Felinheli, winning the Barrit Cup in 2001 at Farrar Road against our arch rivals at the time, Bodedern, was a huge occasion and a great day.
In my nine seasons with the club as a coach, this is the eighth piece of silverware we’ve won and every single one has been an achievement for different reasons.
The one game that really stands out for me is the Junior Cup Final back in 2013 against Menai Bridge Tigers.
Two of the best teams I reckon that have played at that level to go head to head in the final at Nantporth on a lovely Friday evening, Felinheli coming out on top.
What are the main factors behind your title success?
It starts off the pitch with the hard working committee we have at the club, the effort they put in all year to prepare for match days is unbelievable.
Every successful club needs a good secretary and the work that Dyl (Bonc) Owen does is priceless.
Personally as a coach it’s about keeping it simple and making sure the basics are covered.
On the pitch it’s got to be pace, more pace and wondrous wingers / full backs.
Preparation for the Saturday starts on a Monday, training twice a week therefore our fitness levels are high.
Apart from Gaerwen away, were you pleased with your performances in the big games? Beating Penmaenmawr home and away for instance? Winning at Llannefydd?
As I mentioned earlier, I learnt a lot from the Gaerwen game and worked on the learnings in preparation for the other games. Probably the three big results that stand out were all away, Penmaenmawr, Gwalchmai and Llannefydd.
Cae Seilo has always been a fortress for us, to win the league you need to pick up points on the road and to get nine points from them three games is what edged it for us.
What are your hopes for the club now? Are you looking to progress further up the ladder?
We’ve a good mix of young and experienced players in the team at the moment, there’s more to come from this squad.
Criteria in the higher levels of Welsh football is getting stricter. This has hurt some clubs badly. How are Y Felinheli dealing with the challenges?
The committee have stepped up to the challenge fair play and have worked hard to get the ground up to the standard and all the other requirements required to play at a higher level.
The club plays a big role in the community, bringing people together in a real family environment.
To see the youngsters coming through to the first team over the last few years is credit to the junior structure at the club.
Bethel Ladies have also made the village their home now for the last two years bringing football to Cae Seilo on a Sunday, which has been great in inspiring the young girls of the village to pick up the game.
The feeling around the club on and off the pitch is that we have everything in place to make the step up.
Finally, do you hope to stay on as manager next season and what do you hope to achieve with this great team you’ve assembled?
According to the Chairman Alwyn Thomas I’ve signed a 25 year contract on a back of a beer mat one fine evening in the Victoria after a game a few years ago!!
The challenge for us now is to go one better than the team of 91/92!!
CPD Y FELINHELI – HISTORY
There is a record of a team called Port Dinorwic – the English name for Felinheli – winning the Caernarfon and District League Alves Cup back in 1945/46.
The team at that time played home games on a field at the Faenol Estate.
Before the current club emerged, in the 1960s a team from the village competed in the Caernarfon and District League for two seasons.
The present club was formed on July 3, 1977 as Portdinorwic FC, joining the Caernarfon and District league. One year later, the name was changed to CPD Y Felinheli.
Felin’s first major successes came in 1981/82 and 82/83 when they won back-to-back Caernarfon and District titles.
In 1983/84 they became the first winners of the newly formed Gwynedd League and elevated to the new Welsh Alliance League, finishing third in their debut season.
Felin were runners-up to mighty Llangefni Town in the 1991/92 Welsh Alliance title race, but were relegated at the end of 1994/95 after finishing bottom.
They returned to the Gwynedd League and won that title again in 2000/01, earning promotion to the Welsh Alliance where they stayed for four seasons.
After ending up bottom of the Gwynedd in 2005/06, Felinheli returned to the Caernarfon and District for a spell.
The club’s resurgence began in 2012/13 and 2013/14 as they won back-to-back NWCFA Junior Cups, then they returned to the Gwynedd League in 2014/15, finishing champions for a third time the following season.
Since 2016/17, Felin have been in Welsh Alliance Division Two, finishing 10th, 6th and 8th before this season’s championship-winning heroics. They also won the Take Stock Van Hire Challenge Cup in 2018-19.