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Legendary North Wales village club bounces back by building for the future

LockStock at Bathesda Athletics; Pictured is Tony Jones of Lockstock with members of the Athletic football club (from left) Ifan Wyn, Noah Wyn Jones, Deio Wyn and Steve Jones club chairman, and coaches Meilyr Wyn and Martin Rosser. Picture Mandy Jones

Lock Stock at Bethesda Athletic. Pictured is Tony Jones of Lock Stock with members of the Athletic football club (from left) Ifan Wyn, Noah Wyn Jones, Deio Wyn and Steve Jones club chairman, and coaches Meilyr Wyn and Martin Rosser. Picture Mandy Jones

A village football club with a proud history is rebuilding for the future by attracting up to 100 youngsters, some as young as five, to its regular junior training sessions.

Bethesda Athletic was formed in 1946 but the club’s roots go back much deeper into the slate quarries that surrounded the village on the A5 and it can boast Welsh international Malcolm Allen as a former player.

Wrexham and Leeds United centre forward Don Weston, legendary manager Don Revie’s first signing for the Elland Road club, also played for the club as did former Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts, Wrexham defender Ally McGowan and Chester winger Elfed Morris.

Others who also turned out for the club included Tommy G Jones, Everton’s prince of centre-halves, Mel Charles, brother of John, and player-manager Johnny Jones while well-travelled non-league goalkeeper/manager Phil Staley even wrote a book, Get Those Sheep Off The Pitch, about his days in North Wales football managing Bethesda.

Bethesda were twice Welsh Alliance champions a dozen years ago before falling on hard times but the club is bouncing back and a buoyant youth and junior section is part of the process.

Their regular training sessions attract age groups from Under-6s to U-14s with two containers bought from UK container-based storage giant Lock Stock Self Storage now housing equipment for their weekly training sessions.

Tony Jones of Lock Stock with (from left) Ifan Wyn, Steve Jones club chairman, Noah Wyn Jones and Deio Wyn. Picture Mandy Jones

Junior section chairman Stephen Jones, a former Bethesda midfielder, Football Association of Wales referee and local undertaker, said: “The village has a rich football history going back 100 years and was originally Penrhyn Quarries and we’re rebuilding the club from the youth team up.

“We were Welsh Alliance champions two years running from 2007 to 2009 and we hosted Welsh Under-19 and Under-17s internationals against Norway and Scotland back in those days.

“We had some good youth sides as well and Malcolm Allen, who went on to play for Wales and starred for Watford and Norwich and to commentate for S4C, played here.

“It’s been a struggle since then and at the moment we’re waiting to find out which level the first team will be playing at when football resumes because the club did fall on hard times but we’re fighting back.

“There’s a resurgence taking place with lots of junior players and some good young lads in the first team so that all bodes well.

“We’ve got very good facilities and the two containers have helped with the storage of equipment and mowers so we’re getting on a sound footing again.”

Tony Jones, Lock Stock site manager for Bangor, Caernarfon, Llandudno Junction and Holyhead, said: “Bethesda has always had a really strong community spirit and the football club was well-known and respected.

“It’s great to see them getting back on their feet and with the kind of leadership and enthusiasm that Stephen brings I’m sure that when football resumes properly they will be well on their way to being a force again.”

Lock Stock, founded in Denbigh in 1999, now has over 3,000 storage units at 22 storage parks across North Wales and the border counties, from Caernarfon and Holyhead in the west, along the North Wales coast at Bangor, Llandudno Junction and Rhyl, and inland at Denbigh, Flint, Mold, Saltney, Wrexham, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Welshpool.

The company also specialise in the off-site hire of containers which range in size from 10-feet long up through 20-footers to 40-foot units, all eight feet high and eight feet wide, from 640 to 2,560 in cubic feet in volume.

Lock Stock sales consultant Lisa James said: “The new units supplied are watertight and they can also be insulated plus they provide versatile storage options.

“We are finding that some of our business and residential customers require storage at their own site locations and with our new specially adapted lorry with its own crane we are able to deliver and collect the units at the end of their hire term.”

For information about Lock Stock Self Storage including for off-site container hire contact them on 01745 817178 or go to https://lockstock.biz/

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