Corey Jones can only have been delighted at the news this week that his football club will soon start their season.
The FAW announced on Thursday that the tier 2 Cymru North and Cymru South leagues have been granted ‘elite’ status.
This means they can begin playing competitively at last following a nine-month delay due to Covid. An official start date is expected to be confirmed next week.
It is very likely Corey will have felt like celebrating more than usual on his 26th birthday yesterday.
The versatile performer is about to embark on his sixth season as a Holyhead Hotspur player.
A strong centre half, he can play in any position across the back four and also do a job in midfield.
Born on November 28, 1994, Corey developed his skills at renowned junior club Penrhosgarnedd before joining Bangor City.
He made his first team debut as a 17-year-old in Bangor’s first-ever match at their new ground Nantporth on January 24, 2012.
The opposition were Caernarfon Wanderers in the NWCFA Challenge Cup, the Citizens won 6-1 and Corey came on as a 75th minute substitute for Chris Roberts.
Corey’s first start for Neville Powell’s side came on February 28, 2012, in a 5-1 League Cup defeat at Newtown. The night before, the teenager had represented Wales Colleges.
For the rest of that 2011-12 campaign, Corey was a regular on the first team bench.
The following season he had a spell at Conwy Borough, but returned to Bangor in January 2013, featuring in his first Welsh Premier game as a substitute against Llanelli.
The 2013/14 season saw Corey remain part of City’s senior squad. He scored his only first team goal for Bangor in April 2014 although the occasion was far from memorable – a 9-1 home pasting at the hands of champions The New Saints.
At the start of 2014/15, Corey made his European debut, coming on as a second half substitute in a second leg 4-0 defeat against Stjarnan of Iceland in the Europa League.
Corey travelled abroad with the City squad for the first leg, which the Welsh Premier side also lost 4-0.
In that same season, he netted six goals for Bangor City’s impressive under-19 side which competed in the Welsh Premier Development League.
Later during the campaign he also had a stint with Llandudno, where he was part of the club’s Cymru Alliance title-winning squad.
With competition for places in defence fierce when Tudno entered the Welsh Premier in 2015-16, former Wrexham defender Mike Williams among those having arrived at Maesdu Park, manager Alan Morgan released Corey at the end of August.
Holyhead Hotspur signed him and in his first season he helped his new team record one of their best-ever results, knocking eight-time Welsh Cup winners – and his old club – Bangor City out of the competition in a famous 2-1 victory at the New Stadium.
Although Hotspur were relegated from the Cymru Alliance at the end of 2018-19, they bounced back last term by winning their third Welsh Alliance title.
Corey is regarded as one of the steadiest performers in the Hotspur squad.
Hope you had a great birthday yesterday.