The case of the mystery football team has been solved.
Local author and football nostalgia enthusiast Mark Jones provided Grassroots North Wales with a photo from the 1950’s seeking identification of the team featured.
We had three initial responses – Glyn Griffiths thought it was Holywell, Dave Jones (a different one) took a punt on Connah’s Quay Juniors, while well-known soccer historian Ian Garland identified two players and provided plenty of information besides.
However, the identity of the actual team remained unknown – until today!
Mr Garland has come back to us with the following:
“More research has unlocked the mystery of this team photo. Glyn was right – it is Holywell Town 1952-53 who finished the season as Welsh League (North) Div 1 champions.
“Gareth Davies’s centenary history of the North Wales Coast FA entitled ‘A Coast of Soccer Memories’, published in 1994, contains a long article by Geoff Thelwell, looking back over his career.
“Holywell offered him terms for 1952-53 – “I could sign professional if I wanted … this I did while losing a few friends at the Nomads, who had expected me to return,” said Mr Thelwell.
“Holywell had a tremendous start to the season. I was playing at left half in a very good team with plenty of experienced players, namely Billy Vance, Harry Betley, Oscar Morris, Rod Gilmour, Arthur Barritt, Cliff Westwood, Jess McClarty, George Allman, Jimmy Welsh, Trevor Hughes.”
Mr Garland added: “So Geoff has left us the line-up and I believe Billy Vance was a goalkeeper. A little further digging suggests that Holywell played Rhyl Reserves at Rhyl on 18 October 1952 and won 3-1.”
Magnificent Ian, well done Glyn and thanks Dave for your input.
And thank you to Mark for making this little mystery possible!