More tributes to North Wales football stalwarts we lost in 2020….

The late and much-loved Vera Owen. Picture: CPD Bangor 1876

Vera Owen (1938-2020)

She was one in a million.
A long-time ardent supporter of football in Bangor passed away over Christmas at the age of 82.
Vera Owen was a familiar face to many connected with Bangor 1876, as well as those who have followed football in the city over the last few decades.
Her passion for Bangor was known to many, and she watched 1876 home and away during their debut season.
She played an important part on match days at Treborth by helping out with the teas, coffees and catering for players and officials, and is certain to be missed by a great many people.
Club secretary Dafydd Hughes said: “Vera will be remembered by anyone connected with football in Bangor over the last six decades as an ever-present, loyal, dedicated, and immensely likeable lady who made an enormous contribution behind the scenes.”
1876 manager Mel Jones paid tribute to “an unbelievable woman who was always interested in the players, the coaches and how everyone was doing.”
He described her as “a supporter of the team through thick and thin who never had a bad word to say.”
Mel remembers Vera’s presence at Farrar Road supporting Bangor City from his own playing days and has told that “she was there when I made my debut for Bangor and she was always delighted to see local players doing well.”
Supporters idol Les Davies fondly remembers how Vera would always enjoy away trips and be “always smiling and laughing.”
“What I will miss most is the smile I would get from Vera on matchdays as very often she’d be the first person I’d see as I loved her coffees before our games. It’s going to be sad turning up knowing she’s not going to be there to wish me well for the game and give me my pre-match coffee.”
1876 captain Michael Johnston said many of his past and present team mates raised a glass to Vera on Christmas Day, a gesture which he described as “showing the influence she had on all of our lives”.
On a personal note, he added: “I have shared the best footballing moments of my career with this fantastic lady and – no matter what – she has followed us home and away.”

(many thanks to CPD Bangor 1876 for supplying words for this tribute)

Rob Hughes

Rob Hughes (left) with Paul Owen. The pair were fantastic managers at Gwalchmai. Picture: Dai Sinclair

Ynys Môn based football manager Rob passed away on Christmas Eve.
What a sad loss to the North Wales football family.
An absolute diamond of a man; no-one ever had a bad word to say about him, neither did he ever speak badly of anyone.
Rob’s main talent was his football brain. So many have said they would not have been the same player but for his advice and expertise.
A fine goalkeeper in his younger days, with Llangefni Town among his clubs, Rob is best known for his years in management.
He was joint-manager with Paul Owen when Gwalchmai won the Gwynedd League treble in 2009-10 and faced Welsh Premier side Port Talbot in the Welsh Cup – the biggest game in the Anglesey club’s history.
Rob also managed and was assistant-boss at Bodedern, as well as leading the reserve team and being number two to Chris Roberts at Llangefni Town.
Close friend Paul, who formed a management dream team at Gwalchmai with Rob, said: “We at Gwalchmai FC are devastated at the news of the sudden loss of Rob Hughes. Rob passed away on Christmas Eve at his mam’s house.
“We as a club send our thoughts to Rob’s family. This news has some as a great shock not just to his friends, but everyone. He was such a gentleman and I am honoured to call him a friend.
“I’ve known Rob for years and when I took over at Gwalch I went to see him and asked would he be able to help me. We became a rock together and became joint managers from that day.
“Together we became a force in football – from winning the Gwynedd League, going on to do the treble, to taking on Port Talbot in the last 16 of the Welsh Cup, they were only some of the memories.
“I am devastated with the news and I know our past players will want to pay tribute to Rob.
“He was a master for his football management ability and I always said to him – you are the brains behind me. RIP Rob, I will miss you. Heartbroken is not the word.”

(a longer, more detailed tribute will follow to our friend Rob)

Terry Roberts (1948-2020)

The late and much-missed Terry Roberts

North Wales football lost one of its greatest servants in February when Caernarfon Town director Terry Roberts passed away suddenly at the age of 72.
Terry was a well-known and popular figure in the game across the north and beyond.
In 2018, he received a Long Service Medal from the FAW for 40-plus years in football.
Across the decades, Terry undertook numerous roles at a variety of clubs including in the early years groundsman, first aid man and committee member for the likes of Brynsiencyn, Newborough, Llanfairpwll and Beaumaris Town.
Successful spells in Sunday League management in the early 1990s was followed by stints on various league committees, before a number of seasons as secretary of Llangefni Town, including their Welsh Premier League campaign of 2007/08.
Terry later became chairman of Gaerwen and was acknowledged at the Welsh Community Football Awards for his NWCFA Lifetime Achievement Award, receiving his accolade from the legendary Ian Rush.
He had been a board member at Caernarfon Town since 2014.

Reg Hunter (1938-2020)

Former Busby Babe Reg Hunter sadly passed away in September this year at the age of 81.
In North Wales football, he is best remembered for being part of the Bangor City side which beat Italian giants AC Napoli 2-0 in the first leg of a European Cup Winners’ Cup tie in front of 12,000 at Farrar Road on September 5, 1962.
City lost the return leg 3-1 before 80,000 spectators at San Paolo Stadium three weeks later. Under modern-day rules, the Welsh club would have gone through on away goals, but a third match was required which Napoli edged 2-1 at Highbury Stadium, Arsenal. Reg played in all three matches.
He was also part of the Bangor side which beat Wrexham 3-1 in a play-off match at Belle Vue, Rhyl, to clinch the 1962 Welsh Cup. Reg scored the decisive third goal for the Citizens, who lost the first leg 3-0, but won the second 2-0 to necessitate a third game.
Reg was born in Colwyn Bay on October 28, 1938. He signed for the Bay in 1957 and, after a trial, was signed on professional forms by Man United, winning an FA Youth Cup winners medal in his first season.
His only first team appearance for United was against Aston Villa in 1958 at outside right in a 2-0 victory. He later left Old Trafford for Wrexham and then had that highly memorable spell with Bangor City before rejoining the Bay in 1963.

Bryan Kelly (1948-2020)

Colwyn Bay FC stalwart Bryan Kelly left us in November at the age of 72.
Bryan, who worked at W H Smith in Colwyn Bay for many years prior to retirement, first started following the Seagulls during the 1982/3 season.
Known to everyone as Bry, he helped the club when work allowed during the 1990’s and assisted as a kitman from the early 2000’s.
Following retirement, he took over the role of club kitman for the start of the 2006/7 season when Peter Davenport was appointed manager.
As the club went through many ups and downs and many people came and went, Bryan remained a loyal servant to the boards and managers he worked for and the club he loved.
Bryan took a thoughtful and philosophical approach to the club’s ups and downs and always saw the humorous side of life as club kitman.
He would often joke about the number of Colwyn Bay managers he had served under. Bryan maintained a good relationship with them all and for the record he served under 15 managers.
He was also a talented, multi instrument playing musician.
Many of us at the club are going to miss Bryan’s friendly, humorous and efficient presence at Colwyn Bay FC.
Colwyn Bay FC would also like to thank Macmillan Nurses and staff at Glan Clwyd and Colwyn Bay Hospitals for the kindness and care they’ve given to Bryan over recent months.
(words from Arthur Holden, Colwyn Bay FC website – written in November)

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