Passion is what it’s all about for a former footballer and now manager who celebrates his birthday today.
John Hargreaves never gave an inch in his playing days for the likes of Prestatyn Town and Rhuddlan Town, and now his competitive streak is released through his leadership of Prestatyn Sports.
Born on December 16, 1979, I first remember John as a consistent goal scorer for Prestatyn Town in the Welsh Alliance League.
He was pacy, aggressive and knew where the goal was. Later on, he filled the same up front role with Rhuddlan.
In more recent years, John has become known for his work with Prestatyn Sports, who were formed in 2013-14 and soon began making their mark in the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League.
With John and Mark Hughes jointly running the team, Sports finished runners-up in Division One in their debut season, clinching promotion to the Premier.
The 2014-15 campaign was a remarkable one for the then Gronant-based club.
Not only did they finish Premier Division champions at the first attempt by a 13-point margin, they scooped a stunning quadruple which also included the President’s Cup, Premier Cup and NWCFA Intermediate Cup.
In the league, they won 19 out of 20 games and 10 from 10 away, hammered Waunfawr 5-1 in the final of the NWCFA Intermediate Cup and battered Rhyl Rovers 9-2 in the Premier Cup Final.
A remarkable feat which will never be repeated.
The club itself actually celebrated a five-timer in 2014-15 as Prestatyn Sports Reserves won the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Division One title – something special which rarely gets the recognition it deserved.
Sports were promoted to the Welsh Alliance in 2015-16 and in their first season finished sixth in Division Two and were Take Stock Van Hire Challenge Cup runners-up.
The following campaign, the Prestatyn side went one better and won the divisional Challenge Cup, also claiming third spot in Division Two.
The 2017-18 season was an amazing one for Sports as they romped to the Division Two title, ending up eight points clear and recording a perfect home record of 14 straight wins.
In their first season in Division One, Sports finished a very respectable seventh and it was only last term that the team found life a struggle for the first time, ending up bottom of the table, down largely to a loss of many key players.
That is the past, however. There is now a new Welsh football pyramid with Sports placed in the tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division.
Off the field, John has been a leading figure in securing the club their own ground after many years of trying.
Sports are now based at The Meadows/Y Dolydd in Prestatyn, thanks to the magnificent efforts of a loyal and dedicated group of people.
Now settled at their new base, no doubt John and assistant Sion Williams will be urging the players to go out and deliver more success.
Sports also have a very useful looking development side and a thriving junior set up. All they need now is for the season to finally start for all the teams!
Men like John Hargreaves have made all this progress possible at a true community club – he deserves a birthday pint or two!
Happy birthday John.