Firstly, Ceri James is NOT retiring from football! 😊
The 37-year-old defender revealed earlier this week he is leaving Porthmadog as he feels he can no longer commit the time needed to represent such a distinguished club.
However, Ceri has not ruled out continuing as a player.
Nonetheless, Grassroots North Wales thought this was still a good opportunity to run the rule over the man’s fine career.
Born on December 1, 1983, Ceri started off at Ruthin Town, then in 2002/03 moved to Llandyrnog United when his dad John took charge.
It was a very successful period for Dyrny, who won promotion from the Clwyd League Premier Division and then the Welsh Alliance League, to secure a place in the tier-two Cymru Alliance in 2004-05, where the villagers proudly spent five seasons.
Ceri later turned out for Denbigh Town under his dad’s managership and had a spell with Holywell Town where his father and Johnny Haseldin were at the helm.
In the Llandyrnog and District Summer League, Ceri was a class act for both Rhewl and Llanfair.
He played 37 (+20) Welsh Premier matches for Porthmadog and Welshpool but left for New Zealand in January 2010, where he was an instant success for the Northern League club Melville United.
Ceri returned to Port in 2012 and was to spend most of the next eight seasons at Y Traeth, clocking up in excess of 200 appearances.
On the news of his leaving the club this week, CPD Porthmadog paid the following tribute: “Although a ‘big man’ in every sense of the word, Ceri probably surprised and caught out many with his deft touches and close control.
“Always a calm, commanding presence, he could run a midfield single-handed and could change the course of a game as he often did when coming on from the bench. A master of the through ball, he could open up an opposition with a single defence-splitting pass. His speed of thought and reading of a game meant that speed over the ground was rarely an issue.
“In recent seasons he often played at centre back and the same calm presence and influence was apparent, always using his great experience to serve the club superbly well. Off the field a joker but on it seriously serious.”
Ceri himself added this statement: “It’s been a very difficult decision to say its time to leave Porthmadog.
“It’s very difficult to leave such a set up and club but I can not commit as much as a club like this deserves or an old man with a huge beer belly needs to either! “The past 10-11 years have been a real joy and privilege to be part of, and wish I could have done more or had the chance to get Port back to where they should be, but time continues without a thought.
“Thanks to all the club members who are brilliant at what they do, thanks to Tomi Morgan for bringing me here, thanks to Gareth Parry, and thanks to Paps for sticking with an overweight midfielder turned centre-back – and big thanks to all the players for carrying me!
“And the final and most important thanks to the supporters who home or away turn up, and only expect you to try your best, to which I hope I didn’t disappoint them.”
Career highlights – in Ceri’s own words
“Runner-up in the Cymru Alliance League Cup with Ruthin (2001-02), won promotion with Llandyrnog two years on the bounce to get to Cymru Alliance – from Clwyd Premier to Welsh Alliance to Cymru Alliance.
“Won Players Player award two years on trot, Llandyrnog’s first ever goal scorer in Cymru Alliance, won 2014/15 Mawddach Challenge Cup with Holywell, dad’s last ever game, won Players Player at Melville and Managers’ Player three times at Port, won Players Player, Managers Player, top scorer and Supporters Player for Rhewl, but we finished 2nd that season! Port won North Wales Challenge Cup in 2009 but I missed the final, played every game before.
“Also played Sunday League in Wrexham for Llay, with Colin Caton, Tim Dyer, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Roger Beech etc. We won the league and Shelly Cup twice, won Young Player of Year twice. Sunday league was huge back then, shame it’s nothing like it anymore.”