One club looking to emerge from the pack and make an impact in the 2020-21 season is ambitious CPD Bontnewydd.
Simon Jones manages this village club from the Caernarfon area which has produced a fair few North Wales football stars over the years.
Grassroots North Wales caught up with Simon and asked him how preparations are going for the new campaign.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement with CPD Bontnewydd
My name is Simon Jones.
I was a late starter in playing competitive football having spent my weekends following Man Utd home and away.
I started off with Bontnewydd in 2011 and played for 7 seasons, winning the Safeflue Shield twice, before having to give up football due to work commitments.
I became chairman in 2018 and last year was asked to become first team manager, which I accepted.
I’m now in my second season as manager and have the C licence qualification.
How would you assess last season for Bontnewydd?
We started the season very well and initially had aspirations of being in the Gwynedd League top four.
Unfortunately, we lost key experienced players such as Daniel Evans to Nantlle Vale and Steven Tindall to Llanrug, which meant that we had a very young side – some players were only 16 years old.
We are lucky to have very good young players that will only get better season by season. Overall we were still pleased as it was a great learning curve for the young players who developed and got better as the season went on.
The issue of not being able to sign players due to being a ‘professional league’ because of the Bangor 1876 situation also affected us big time.
How are preparations going ahead of the 2020-21 season?
The risk assessments are now in place and preparations are going well.
Same as last year we will have a predominantly young squad with a few experienced players to help them along.
Do you have any new signings to disclose?
I’m currently in talks with a number of experienced players who we hope will help bring on our young squad when times get hard during the long season ahead.
Watch this space – you’ll be the first to know!
How do you feel about your placing in tier 5 of the new-look Welsh pyramid?
We would obviously have preferred to have been placed in Tier 4, but seeing that there were so many teams in the north west region in the Welsh Alliance 1 and 2 it was probably inevitable that we would be placed in Tier 5.
Still, I am sure that the games in Tier 5 will be as competitive with quite a few local derbies.
We believe you have plans to develop a reserve team this season. Why is this? Is there sufficient player demand to run two teams?
The main reason for looking into starting a reserve side is that the NWCFA have decided that there will be no U-18 league this coming season and in order for us to bring players through to the first team we feel we may need game time for those who are not quite ready for the first team yet.
Probably the most famous Bontnewydd player ever is Caernarfon Town great Darren Thomas. Does he still show an interest in the club?
That’s true, Darren is probably the most famous Bontnewydd player,
Ian ‘Chops’ Pleming also started with us before moving on to Caernarfon Town, Llangefni Town / Glantraeth.
Darren was part of the team that won the NWCFA Youth Cup twice and was the star player when we won the Caernarfon and District League in our first season before moving on to Llangefni Town.
Darren takes great interest in what’s happening at the club and sponsors a match ball every season for us.
Myself and a group of the Bontnewydd fans also sponsor Darren at Caernarfon Town.
What might be the chances of Darren ending his career at Bont?
Darren being fit as he is has probably has a few years left at the top level, but we hope in years to come that he will return to the club.
What are your hopes for the coming season?
We are aiming high and hope to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
What are the ambitions of the club in the long-term?
We are very ambitious and long-term plans are already in place, we are lucky that we have a ground which has the potential to be on par with those in Tier 3.
We hope that in 5 years time or even before then we will be competing in Tier 3.