Connah’s Quay Nomads captain George Horan is almost a nailed-on certainty to enter the top 10 all-time appearance-makers in the Cymru Premier League during 2020-21.
Horan, 38, who signed a new one-year deal with the league champions today, is currently 11th in the list with 419 top-flight games to his credit, plus four substitute outings.
He is level on starts with former Rhyl team-mate Tim Edwards, but a single outing in the coming season will put Horan 10th outright in the chart.
And if he plays close-on a full campaign for Andy Morrison’s side, the Quay skipper could rise up to sixth.
Neville Powell first signed Horan for Nomads as an 18 year-old centre-back on loan from Wrexham late in 2000.
The strapping youngster had played just once for the Dragons and had only two Welsh Premier League games for Bangor City under his belt before arriving at Deeside Stadium.
He made his Quay debut against Aberystwyth Town on Boxing Day 2000, quickly settling and becoming a lynchpin of the team’s defence for the next four seasons.
Horan signed for high-flyers Rhyl in 2005, the Lilywhites having won the WPL title in 2003-04 and finished runners-up the following season.
In his first season at Belle Vue he played in all 34 league games, the team’s sole ever-present – and he won the Welsh Cup with the Lilies, who defeated Bangor 2-0 in the final at the Racecourse, Wrexham.
George went on to make 146 WPL appearances over five campaigns at Rhyl, the highlight being the club’s second Welsh Premier championship success in 2008-09.
By 2010, newly-formed Chester FC, looking to rise from the ashes of Chester City, signed Horan for their first season in Northern Premier League Division One (North).
Under George’s captaincy, Neil Young’s side went on to win three successive league titles, the NPL Division One North, NPL Premier Division and Conference North.
During the 2014-15 close season, having played 159 matches for Chester and scored 20 goals, Horan decided to return to Nomads.
His steadying influence in defence and robust attacking from set pieces began to impact upon the team’s results and in 2015/2016 he led them to a WPL Europa League play-off victory and a first-ever crack at European competition.
Success in the Europa League followed with commendable victories over Stabæk and HJK Helsinki before Horan experienced Welsh Cup final glory for the second time in his career, proudly holding the trophy aloft after a 4-1 win against Aberystwyth Town in 2017-18.
Last season came George’s finest hour yet in a Nomads shirt as Morrison’s men broke the eight-season stranglehold of The New Saints on the Cymru Premier League title by being crowned national champions for the first time.
Over two spells at Deeside Stadium, Horan is heading towards 400 club appearances in all competitions.
On his new deal, Horan said: “Having been back at the club for the last six years I’ve seen an amazing progression year-on-year and I’m looking forward to see what next year brings for us.”
Manager Morrison added; “At the Virtual Awards evening that we did, I spoke about how some player standards are so consistent season after season that they often don’t get mentioned – George definitely falls into that category.
“No current player in the Cymru Premier has been in the League Team of the Season for five seasons on the bounce apart from George and in my eyes he has got to be a contender for the Cymru Premier Player of the Season.”
George Horan – career stats
Born: Chester, 18/2/1982
Bangor City (1999-2000)
Connah’s Quay Nomads (2000-05)
Rhyl FC (2005-10)
WPL appearances: 146
Welsh Cup winner 2005/06
Welsh Premier League winner 2008/09
Chester FC (2010-14)
Appearances: 159; Goals: 20
Northern Premier League Division One North 2010-11 champions
Northern Premier League Premier Division 2011-12 champions
Conference North 2012-13 champions
Connah’s Quay Nomads (2014-15 – present)
Appearances (two spells combined): 384 (4) Goals: 38
2017-18: Welsh Cup winner
2018-19: Scottish Challenge Cup finalist
2019-20: Cymru Premier League champions; Nathaniel MG (League) Cup winner
ALL-TIME TOP 12 CYMRU PREMIER LEAGUE APPEARANCE MAKERS
1 Colin Reynolds 516 (substitute – 12)
2 Andrew Thomas 484 (38)
3 Andy Mulliner 481 (1)
4 Wyn Thomas 481 (55)
5 Gary Lloyd 481 (35)
6 Aneurin Thomas 447 (49)
7 Chris Venables 446 (6)
8 Hugh Clarke 445 (23)
9 Lee Surman 441 (8)
10 Tim Edwards 419 (7)
11 George Horan 419 (4)
12 Marc Lloyd Williams 419 (49)