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Holyhead Hotspur Football Club celebrate their 30th birthday

This year sees Holyhead Hotspur Football Club celebrate 30 years of existence.

And fittingly, the Holy Islanders are back in the tier-two Cymru North, where they will compete with Llangefni Town in 2020-21 to be ranked Ynys Môn’s No 1 club.

Hotspur were crowned Welsh Alliance League champions for a third time in 2019-20, following on from previous successes in 1997-98 and 2011-12.

The club was formed in 1990 at a time when there were four other clubs in Holyhead operating in different leagues of the North Wales Coast Football Association.

Sean Chambers and Carl Taylor came up with the idea of forming a new club in the town and when Chris ‘ Wally’ Williams, Martin Taylor, Steven Patfield and Karl Thomas came on board they decided to press on.

The six became founder members of Holyhead Hotspur and started looking for players.

The town’s Angel pub was a meeting place for the group and they initially played in friendly seven-a-side games which were won at a canter and on the back of this decided to form an ‘official’ club.

Under manager Gary ‘Scouse’ Williams, Hotspur entered the Anglesey League in 1990/91 and the rest is history.

Sean Chambers said: “Great respect has to go to Gary ‘Scouse’ Williams our first manager and Ken Chambers (my father), Geoff Owen and Richard ‘Todds’ Thomas our first committee members for helping us out, getting sponsors from Stena, Gwynedd Shipping, and setting up our Lotto which is still running.

“I suppose it was different back then. No player got paid, every penny went back into the club.

“It was tough. We had four Holyhead teams back then, but we stuck at it, results went well and we eventually became the number one club in Holyhead.”

Success did not arrive overnight, but when it came, it came in abundance.

Holyhead Hotspur’s first-ever line-up in 1990. Back row: Ken Chambers (President), Gary Williams (Manager), Carl Taylor (Captain), Ian Connolly, Les Williams, Sean Chambers, Chris Jenkins, Martin Taylor, Richard Thomas (Secretary), Geoff Owen (Chairman). Front row: Andy Shaw, Karl Thomas, David Patrick Williams, Andy Devlin, Carl Nichols, Christopher Williams, Emlyn Manley.

Hotspur began life in the island league with a 6-1 win against Llangoed, Karl Thomas netting the team’s first-ever goal, Sean Chambers adding a second.

The club’s first trophy success came in 1993/94 when they lifted the Dargie Cup.

In 1994/95, the club were crowned Anglesey League champions, scoring 117 goals in the process, and reached the final of the NWCFA Junior Cup.

The following season saw the Spurs win the Anglesey League title again, this time even more emphatically by nine points and notching an awesome 155 goals in 26 matches.

In a quadruple-winning campaign, the Holyhead side added the Dargie, Megan and Elias Cups to their roll of honour.

Great players of the early years included striker Chris Jenkins, who netted 222 goals in his first 221 games and went on to score well in excess of 300.

Andrew Devlin was an outstanding keeper who ensured concessions were kept to a minimum at the other end, while the brilliant Carl Taylor, a player who would no doubt have excelled at a higher level, Thomas and Chambers used their midfield experience to help hold things together.

After six seasons of development in the Anglesey League, Hotspur were on the move as they gained promotion to the Gwynedd League in 1996/97 and finished champions in their first campaign.

Even better was to follow as in 1997/98 Hotspur scooped the Welsh Alliance crown at the first attempt by a massive 16 points, scoring 102 goals in 26 matches.

That made it three successive league titles in their rise up the pyramid and next stop was the tier-two Cymru Alliance where Hotspur stayed for 12 seasons in a row, which included finishing narrow runners-up to Bala Town in 2008/09.

The 2009/10 campaign saw Hotspur finish eighth in the Cymru Alliance, yet due to a major revamp of the leagues, they were relegated to the Welsh Alliance through no failure of their own.

Holyhead Hotspur celebrate winning the 2011/12 Welsh Alliance League title. Skipper Tom Nathan Edwards lifts the trophy

In 2011/12, Holyhead bounced back in the most emphatic fashion, winning the Welsh Alliance title, Cookson Cup and Barritt Cup treble – and they were also beaten finalists in the FAW Trophy.

Mel McGinness scored 49 first team goals that season – and 50 in total for the club – to be crowned the first winner of the Bob Brodie Trophy for the top goal-getter on the island.

Hotspur all-time great Mel McGinness

Promoted Hotspur remained in the Cymru Alliance for another seven seasons, achieving a highest finish of fifth, before being relegated at the end of 2018-19.

Last season saw them bounce back sensationally again, securing a third Welsh Alliance title and a return to the newly-named Cymru North at the first attempt.

In the 30 seasons since they formed, Hotspur have competed in the second tier for 19 of them, four in the Welsh Alliance, six in the Anglesey League and one in the Gwynedd.

The club’s official 30th birthday is August 12, 2020, but I’m sure Grassroots North Wales can be forgiven for celebrating a little early.

Honours

League titles
Welsh Alliance 3; Anglesey League 2; Gwynedd League 1
Cups
Cookson Cup 1; Dargie Cup 2; Megan Cup 2 (1 first team, 1 reserves); Elias Cup 1; Alves Cup 1; Aluminium Môn Cup 2; Barritt Cup 1; Bob Owen Memorial Shield 1 (reserves); Gwynedd Cup 1 (reserves) Welsh Alliance Reserves Division Cup 1.

HOLYHEAD HOTSPUR ALL-TIME LEAGUE RECORD

(Key: Season, League, Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goals For, Goals Against, Points, Position/No of clubs)

1990-91 ANG LGE 24 9 8 7 60 46 26 5/13
1991-92 ANG LGE 26 12 5 9 51 44 29 6/14
1992-93 ANG LGE 34 24 4 6 109 52 73 * 4/18
1993-94 ANG LGE 32 16 2 14 103 71 50 8/17
1994-95 ANG LGE 30 25 3 2 117 28 78 1/16
1995-96 ANG LGE 26 23 3 0 155 27 72 1/14
1996-97 GWY LGE 24 17 2 5 82 34 53 1/13
1997-98 WEL ALL 26 23 1 2 102 32 70 1/14
1998-99 CYM ALL 30 11 6 13 49 62 39 11/16
1999-00 CYM ALL 32 9 6 17 52 67 33 12/17
2000-01 CYM ALL 31 10 6 15 59 76 36 13/17
2001-02 CYM ALL 34 15 4 15 72 78 49 9/18
2002-03 CYM ALL 32 11 8 13 60 62 41 10/17
2003-04 CYM ALL 32 10 8 14 51 67 38 11/17
2004-05 CYM ALL 34 12 6 16 46 63 42 12/18
2005-06 CYM ALL 34 8 9 17 44 67 33 16/18
2006-07 CYM ALL 34 16 5 13 63 51 53 7/18
2007-08 CYM ALL 32 15 9 8 76 53 54 5/17
2008-09 CYM ALL 32 23 3 6 71 36 72 2/17
2009-10 CYM ALL 32 13 4 15 53 52 40 * 8/17
2010-11 WEL ALL-1 30 20 6 4 82 36 66 2/16
2011-12 WEL ALL-1 30 25 1 4 87 28 73 1/16
2012-13 CYM ALL 30 13 4 13 51 55 43 7/16
2013-14 CYM ALL 30 9 10 11 53 57 37 9/16
2014-15 CYM ALL 30 15 6 9 49 38 51 5/16
2015-16 CYM ALL 30 13 7 10 44 40 46 7/16
2016-17 CYM ALL 30 12 6 12 57 52 42 9/16
2017-18 CYM ALL 28 9 3 16 40 57 30 12/15
2018-19 CYM ALL 30 5 4 21 29 71 19 16/16
2019-20 W ALL-1 18 15 1 2 55 23 46 1/16 (season cut short due to coronavirus pandemic)

Total League Record

Played 897
Won 438
Drawn 150
Lost 309
Goals For 2022
Goals Against 1525

Just a selection of Hotspur’s finest (1990-2020)

One of the club’s finest servants – Mike Kelly

Michael Innes, Dave Patrick Williams, Les Davies, Kenleigh Owen, Brian Smith, Martin Taylor, Ian Connolly, Carl Nichols, Stephen Pettigrew, Chris Jenkins, Carl Taylor, Stephen Brown, Sean Chambers, Noel Jones, Allan Doutch, Richard Jones (Rich Bach), Martin Bohana, Carl Evans, Adie Owen, Carl Hagan, Colin Tatlock, Andy Cooke, Steve Patfield, Kevin J Wallis, Dave (Ago) Williams, Casey Jones, Jonathon Parry, Andrew Devlin, Dean Garmey, Darren Garmey, Tom Nathan Edwards, Steve Owen, Michael Edwards, Mel McGinness, Dan McGinness, Alex Jones, Jay Gibbs, Paul Pritchard, Mike Kelly, Simon Davies, Gareth Owen, Ben Heald, Dale Fleming, Curt Williams, Ian Williams, Nigel Moore, Andy O’Malley, Alan Doutch, James Parry, Asa Thomas, Chris Jones.

Huge thanks to Sean Chambers for his assistance with this feature

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