Penblwydd hapus Ceri Roberts – one of Blaenau’s greatest football sons

Ceri Roberts (furthest right – back row) lines up with Blaenau Amateurs

Today, October 23, sees the great Pele, fellow Brazilian Fabinho of Liverpool FC and ex-Wales and Tottenham Hotspur star Simon Davies celebrate their birthday.

Not a bad trio for former Blaenau Amateurs manager Ceri Roberts to share his special day with!

Ceri stepped down as Blaenau boss last season, but has left the club in good shape for new management team Geraint Owen and Mel Roberts.

The Quarrymen have secured a place in the tier 3 Ardal North West division within the revamped Welsh football pyramid and a good squad has been assembled for when the new campaign finally starts.

Proud Blaenau man Ceri was always destined to be a footballer with grandfather Gwilym a former professional with Bolton Wanderers and his father also known as a very good player.

The first footballing steps for Ceri began with the local Under-11s side in Blaenau.

Within a couple of years, he developed an eye for goal, and was signed up by Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as being involved with the Welsh Schoolboys set up.

Ceri in his Barmouth days

He did not quite make the grade at Molineux, but nonetheless went on to carve out an impressive career in North Wales football.

Ceri represented Porthmadog in their Welsh Premier days, one of his highlights scoring a late equaliser after coming on as sub in a 2-2 League Cup draw at Caernarfon Town in 2007/08.

Later, he turned out for Llanrwst United, Barmouth and Dyffryn United, where he netted 12 goals in 39 appearances, and of course Blaenau Amateurs, where he latterly spent four seasons as joint and solo manager and previously many others as a player who rarely had trouble finding the net.

When Ceri took over at Cae Clyd in 2016-17, they initially finished bottom of Welsh Alliance Division Two, but two seasons later the club’s fortunes were totally transformed.

That 2018-19 campaign saw Blaenau start brilliantly, winning 15 of their first 18 league matches and looking like title certs at one point.

A slight dip in form at the turn of the year brought them back to the chasing pack, but a strong finish ensured the Quarrymen ended up second, just two points behind champions Glan Conwy.

This brought promotion to Division One, where they finished the last curtailed season in a respectable position.

Ceri Roberts

Speaking to Grassroots North Wales about his decision to step down, Ceri said: “I believe I have achieved what I set out to do from when we were rock bottom of Welsh Alliance Division Two, which was to bring back the football buzz into the town of Blaenau by creating a good, solid team and club.

“With all the tier 3 requirements in place in time, I now believe that it’s time to admit that it’s ‘job done’ on my part, and to pass the baton on to someone new to drive the club forward during such an exciting period in the club’s history.”

Retained firefighter Ceri has hinted he may continue as a player.

As a PE teacher at Ysgol y Moelwyn in Blaenau, he also has an input into developing the stars of the future.

He has also been instrumental in helping Blaenau Amateurs instill a strong youth set-up.

No doubt Ceri is finding the current absence of football due to Covid-19 as frustrating as all of us, but today’s it’s time to celebrate and enjoy a birthday with as many loved ones as possible.

A great man, always so helpful and grateful for any publicity his club received. Penblwydd hapus Ceri.

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