Today we remember ardent Rhyl FC supporter and statistician, Ian Johnson, on the date of his 66th birthday.
Ian passed away in April 2012 after a brave battle against illness.
Originally from Manchester, but a devoted Lilywhite since moving to the town in the 1980’s, Ian recorded every Rhyl FC result, scorer and team line-up going back to when he first began following the club.
Twice a director at Belle Vue, Ian used to edit and compile the club’s match programmes, not only for the first team but the reserves as well.
He very rarely missed a home fixture and often travelled away to support the team too.
Ian also had a long stint as match day announcer at Belle Vue.
His other great love was music. Ian’s collection of vinyl, tapes and CD’s was as prolific as his football records and memorabilia.
If you ever needed to locate a song, he could find it for you. My own personal collection includes many gems that Ian unearthed for me.
His music vaults were quite a mix of the weird and wonderful. One of the last treasures he dropped into the old Rhyl Visitor office for me was an album by former Japan vocalist David Sylvian which contained just one lengthy song!
While Ian’s most cherised memories as a Rhyl fan were gathered during the John Hulse trophy-packed era, especially the quadruple of 2003-04, he stood by the team through thick and thin.
He covered the club’s dullest spells in the English pyramid and the not-so-good days in the Welsh Premier with the same enthusiasm and efficiency as he did the golden times in Wales’ top flight.
When he passed away, Rhyl were in the Cymru Alliance. They returned to the Welsh Premier in 2013-14, but Ian was no longer with us.
A fervent Manchester City follower, the club’s first top division title in 44 years was secured sadly just a month after Ian passed in 2012. He would have been overjoyed to witness their many successes since.
One thing which would have broken Ian’s heart was the folding of Rhyl FC in April 2020 after 141 years of football in the town.
However, he always looked on the bright side and would no doubt have supported the newly-formed CPD Y Rhyl 1879 with the same gusto as its predecessor.
Very popular among the Belle Vue faithful, and highly respected for his football knowledge, Ian Johnson is greatly missed, not just on the local soccer scene but within his adopted hometown as well.
Rest in Peace dear friend.