Happy birthday Gareth Owen – a proud North Walian probably best known for his achievements at Wrexham, but who also made a big impact on the Welsh Premier League.
Born on October 21, 1971 and Connah’s Quay born and bred, Gareth joined Wrexham as a trainee, signing professional in July 1990.
A midfielder, he represented the Dragons for 12 seasons, playing in the side which famously knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup at the Racecourse in 1992.
Owen played in excess of 400 competitive matches for Wrexham, netting 38 goals.
He also had a spell at Doncaster Rovers between 2001-03 and a short stint on loan at Northwich Victoria.
Winner of eight Under-21 and one ‘B’ international cap for Wales, Owen switched to hometown club Nomads in the summer of 2003 after helping Rovers back into the Football League.
He was appointed player/manager of Airbus UK in the 2005 close season, but made a surprise move to Rhyl as a player three years later.
That switch to Belle Vue proved a true Indian summer for the dad-of-three, as he was a key man in Rhyl’s star-studded Welsh Premier title-winning side of 2008-09. He was also named Welsh Premier Player of the Season.
The following season Owen initially remained an integral part of the Rhyl side, and lined-up for his UEFA Champions League debut against Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade, playing the full 90 minutes of both legs.
Overall, he played in 216 WPL games, bagging 33 goals.
In 2011, he returned to Airbus as player-boss, but left the club in 2012 when Andy Preece’s management team arrived.
Owen was appointed Rhyl manager in May 2015, but did not repeat the success he had enjoyed there as a player.
By February 2016, he had left the club after a poor run of 12 matches without a win which had left the Lilywhites struggling near the bottom of the Welsh Premier.
Husband to Gemma and also a keen musician, Gareth is now heavily involved in his coaching-based roles within the FAW and FAW Trust.
He is a B Licence manager, FAW/UEFA coach educator and FAW/UEFA Pro Licence co-ordinator.
After such an impressive playing career, it is great to see he is now passing on his expertise to help the future of Welsh football.
Happy birthday Gareth – a true gentleman for whom nothing has ever been too much trouble.