Happy birthday to Denbigh dazzler Rich Williams-Cooke

Richard Williams-Cooke (centre – above fifth player from right front row, arm around player) celebrates with the 2013-14 Welsh Alliance invincibles. Picture: Denbigh Town FC website

One of Denbigh’s greatest ever football figures celebrates his birthday today.

Richard Williams-Cooke won the Welsh Alliance title as a player and manager of Denbigh Town, but the gifted midfielder also performed in the Cymru Alliance and Welsh Premier leagues in an impressive career.

Born on January 25, 1980, Richard spent time at Everton as a schoolboy and made his Cymru Alliance debut at the age of 16 for Denbigh.

After some good tier-two seasons at Central Park, the left-foot specialist joined neighbours Ruthin Town, where he was a runner-up in the NEWFA Cup and Cymru Alliance League Cup, and had brief stays with Chirk AAA and Lex XI.

Rich returned to Denbigh Town in 2004-05 and the following season scored 10 goals for a team which lifted the Barritt and Cookson Cups, finished runners-up in the Welsh Alliance and were beaten finalists against Rhyl in the NWCFA Challenge Cup.

Richard in past action for Newtown

The 2006-07 turned out even better, with Rich chalking up 28 goals as Denbigh claimed the Welsh Alliance League title and Cookson Cup double.

In the Welsh Cup that season, Denbigh were beaten 4-2 at home by Newtown, but Rich impressed the Welsh Premier visitors in scoring two goals, and in summer 2007 the Robins signed him.

Rich made 29 appearances for Newtown before switching to Bala Town in January 2009.

His fine form helped the Lakesiders lift the Cymru Alliance crown and secure promotion to the Welsh Premier for the first time.

A spell at Cefn Druids and a short return to Denbigh Town followed before a knee injury forced his retirement aged just 30.

In June 2011, Rich took on a player-coach role at former club Chirk AAA.

The 2012-13 season saw him return to Denbigh, leading them to runners-up spot in the Welsh Alliance behind champions Caernarfon Town.

Then came the remarkable 2013-14 campaign, where Denbigh won the Welsh Alliance title for a third time – on this occasion as invincibles as they went the entire season undefeated in 28 matches, winning 25 and drawing three.

Town doubled up by scooping the Mawddach Cup.

Kristian Pierce, Warren Duckett, Mike Lundstram, Stuart Vernon, Mike Jones, Mark Roberts and Andrew Swarbrick were among the many stand-out players for Williams-Cooke, who not surprisingly landed the league’s Manager of the Season award.

Due to family and work commitments, Rich made the difficult decision to step down.

A spell at newly-formed FC Oswestry Town later followed before a return to Denbigh in January 2018 for a third time as assistant to Eddie Maurice-Jones. A club best-ever top two finish in the Cymru Alliance was secured at the end of 2017/18.

Richard Williams-Cooke during his time at Rhyl FC. Picture: CPD Y Rhyl 1879 website

Rich became assistant-manager to Maurice-Jones at Rhyl in May 2018. He remained in the role before stepping down in February 2020.

In July 2020, Rich joined tier 3 club Cefn Albion as coach.

Richard Williams-Cooke playing career

Denbigh Town
Ruthin Town
Chirk AAA
Lex XI
Newtown
Flint Town United
Bala Town
Cefn Druids

Managing/Coaching

Chirk AAA – player-coach
Denbigh Town – manager
FC Oswestry Town – manager
Rhyl – assistant-manager
Cefn Albion – coach

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