Looking for a potential dark horse to make a big impact on the new-look North Wales football scene this season?
How about Menai Bridge Tigers?
Two years ago they were Gwynedd League champions but were denied promotion to the Welsh Alliance by FAW criteria.
Now the Anglesey club have another chance to make their mark in Tier 4 of the new pyramid. Tigers will play in the North Wales Coast West Premier Division.
Manager Aaron Rowlands has landed some great summer signings, the latest being former Bangor City player Craig Roberts.
Here is a look at what the Bridge has to offer.
Former clubs: Maes-y-Bryn juniors, Beaumaris Town, Bangor City, Glantraeth (two spells), Caernarfon Town, Bethesda Athletic (two spells), Porthmadog, Llangefni Town
Just one look at the quality of clubs “Skin” has represented proves what a class midfield-attacker he has been over the years.
After developing his talents at the much-respected Maes-y-Bryn juniors and then Beaumaris Town, Craig joined Welsh Cup holders Bangor City in 2000-01 and made his first team debut as a 17-year-old against Carmarthen Town in January 2001.
In his second appearance he scored for the Citizens in a 3-2 Welsh Cup victory over Newtown.
He went on to appear in another 16 League of Wales matches that season for the all-blues, then managed by Meirion Appleton.
Roberts spent two more seasons at Farrar Road, being kept on by Appleton’s successor Peter Davenport.
The Bangor lad appeared as a sub in the Citizens’ 4-1 Welsh Cup final defeat to Barry Town in May 2002, netting against Cefn Druids in the semi
The 2002-03 season proved to be Roberts’ last at Bangor, but he did make eight more appearances and scored in a 5-2 LoW win over Llanelli.
Craig featured in 25 LoW games in all for City, 14 as a sub, and compiled an overall total of 35 apps (19 as sub), scoring three goals.
Roberts was later a back-to-back Welsh Alliance title winner with Bethesda Athletic, won trophies at Glantraeth and played in the tier-two Cymru North for Porthmadog and Llangefni Town.
New club Menai Bridge describe him as “an attack-minded midfielder with bags of experience in the higher leagues and plenty of medals won over his distinguished football career.”
He was most recently with Llangefni Town, where he won promotion in a Welsh Alliance Division One championship squad two seasons ago, and helped keep them in the Cymru North last term.
Tigers manager Aaron Rowlands said: “Skin is someone I’ve been after for a long time but was never really in a position to persuade him to drop down, so to finally get him to sign for Menai Bridge is a huge coup for the club.
“When I looked at the standard of some of our league opponents this season, it was obvious that we needed more higher league experience in the squad and Skin has that in abundance. He’s an energetic midfield player with a keen eye for goal and I can’t wait to see him in the yellow and black of Menai Bridge.”
Born: May 23, 1984
Previous clubs: Bodedern, Llangefni Town, Glantraeth, Holyhead Hotspur, Gwalchmai
Tricky winger “Paul Bach” is a new recruit who played his football at Gwalchmai last season.
He brings a wealth of experience having played for the likes of Llangefni Town and Holyhead Hotspur and has not been short of winners’ medals in his career either.
Manager Aaron Rowlands said: “I’m really pleased that Paul has joined us as he’s a player I tried to sign last year. When we played Gwalchmai away in our title-winning season, he had a brilliant game and caused us all sorts of problems.
“With his experience and quality on the ball, he’s going to be a huge asset to this competitive squad going forward.”
Dean Redmond (Bodedern Athletic to Menai Bridge Tigers)
Born: August 4, 1988
Previous clubs: Bodedern Athletic, Beaumaris Town, Bethesda Athletic.
Big signing for Menai Bridge Tigers – striker Dean Redmond is back with the Anglesey club.
The 31-year-old returns to the Bridge after a season in the Welsh Alliance with Bodedern Athletic, where he finished the campaign as top scorer with 18 goals.
The season prior to that, Redmond piled up 39 goals as Menai were crowned Gwynedd League champions, but were refused promotion on a ground criteria issue.
Now the player affectionately nicknamed “Curly”, is ready to go for goals in the new tier 4 North West Coast West Premier Division with the Tigers.
Born: March 13, 1993
Previous clubs: Bodedern Athletic, Glantraeth, Llanfairpwll, Conwy Borough, Holywell Town
Hogan left Tigers last summer to test himself at a higher level, and had a solid season with Conwy Borough in the tier 2 Cymru North.
He is one of the most decorated players in Menai’s history; an integral part of their Anglesey League treble-winning side and instrumental in the team that won the Gwynedd League. Sion is a pacy forward with a keen eye for goal.
Manager Aaron Rowlands said: “With the move to Treborth and step up in competition, Sion was one of my main targets to bring back to Tigers this summer.
“Sion is a Menai Bridge lad and one of the best players to have come from the town, and I felt it was important to have the best players from Menai Bridge playing for Tigers.
“Sion’s experience in higher leagues will be invaluable to our squad this season. He’s an energetic forward who causes so many problems for the opposition. Sion has been huge part of our recent on-field success and I can’t wait to have him back involved.”
If you are seeking a solid group of players to form the basis of a good squad, look no further than this crew who have remained on Menai Bridge Tigers books for 2020-21.
Darren Jones (Chicken)
Evergreen midfielder commits for his third season with the club.
Top scorer last season with 16 goals.
Defender was Tigers’ 2nd top-scorer last season with 10 goals. Made right-back position his own.
Was brilliant throughout last season. Goalkeeper Dion, in his third spell at Tigers, is a very reliable shot-stopper but also very comfortable with the ball at his feet.
A former Tigers junior, Dave returned to the club in 2011 and is the longest serving member of the squad. He is the one of Menai’s most decorated players, having won every trophy and played in every final since the club re-formed.
Stays on for his third season with the club. Having been a big part of the squad that won the Gwynedd League, he was one of the players who stayed loyal last season and had a solid campaign. Kelv is a key playmaker in the middle of the park with skillful feet and a keen eye for a pass.
Towering centre-half and vice-captain commits for the new season. Healy has been a mainstay in the heart of Bridge’s defence over the last 3 and a half seasons.
Needs no introduction. Gowans is an experienced attacker who has played in every division in the Welsh pyramid up to the Premier, winning multiple trophies along the way. He has wand of a left foot and great vision on the ball.
An all-out energetic central midfield player with a fantastic range of passing, Callum has turned down numerous offers this summer to stay loyal to Menai Bridge Tigers.