Without Barry Ainsworth there would not be a Greenfield FC today

Greenfield won a host of trophies in their first few seasons

This season marks the 15th anniversary of a football club which has progressed rapidly in recent years.

Greenfield FC started life in Clwyd League Division Two back in 2005/06, but since being promoted to the former Welsh Alliance League Division One four seasons ago, they have never finished outside the top five.

Hopes are high that in the future the club can join neighbours Holywell Town in tier two, or even one day fellow Flintshire outfit Flint Town United in the top-flight Welsh Premier.

Greenfield has a strong history in Welsh football with the original Courtaulds Greenfield factory team being one of the strongest in the locality.

The team managed to reach the Welsh Cup quarter finals in 1981-82, where they played Hereford United of the Football League and lost just 2-1.

Sadly the demise of the factory in the late 1980s to early 1990’s led to the disappearance of the team, although they left an exceptional football field.

However, 2005 brought the birth of a new team in the village which has grown to an impressive standard.

Barry Ainsworth

It should always be remembered, though, that without a gentleman called Barry Ainsworth, Greenfield FC may never have got off the ground at all.

Merseysider Barry initially ran a youth section in the village in the 1990’s before forming the senior team in 2005.

Many of the youngsters who used to be under his wing at youth level came back to play for the men’s side.

Barry managed the club for six seasons, lifting them from the Clwyd League into the Welsh Alliance in 2011/12 before Scott Beck took over as player-manager.

Along the way, under Barry’s leadership the team won the Halkyn Cup and REM Jones Cup before being crowned Clwyd Division One champions in 2007-08 with a perfect record of 24 straight wins.

In 2008/09 came a magnificent double as Greenfield won the NWCFA Intermediate Cup, beating Gwalchmai 2-1 after extra time in the final at Llandudno and added the Clwyd Premier Division Cup to their collection.

More cup joy for Greenfield. Barry is back row, second from right

After Barry stepped down, Scott Beck was joined by Tony Hogan on the management team and the pair guided the club to the Welsh Alliance Division Two championship in 2015-16.

Since then, they have finished 5th, 5th, 4th and 4th in Division One.

The Welsh Alliance has now disbanded as part of a restructured football pyramid in Wales.

On ability, Greenfield would have walked into tier 3 (Ardal North East) but sadly unavoidable delays in getting their ground up to the required standard meant they had to settle for being put into the tier 4 North East Wales League Premier Division, despite a strong appeal to the FAW for an extension to the deadline to bring facilities up to scratch.

As it goes, tiers 3 and 4 have had their seasons scrapped anyway due to coronavirus.

Barry still remains heavily involved with the club, his main focus being on developing the ground.

Barry raises another cup

So, how did it all start for his great community figure who has done so much for football in Greenfield?

“I moved to Greenfield in 1978, married a local girl (Jackie), but initially I played my football in the Liverpool area,” said Barry.

“We started up junior football in the village in the mid-90’s, then a few years later myself, my sons Karl and Keith, Johnny Haseldin and Tony Hogan talked about starting a senior team and asked me if I would run it.

“I said I would, provided there was enough commitment in the village to sustain a team for five years at least.”

Greenfield had to play in Gronant for a couple of seasons, and at Holywell High School, before managing to secure a return to the village and making the Old Courtaulds Pitch, located by the A548, their new home.

“It was tough in the beginning, nobody wanted to know,” recalled Barry. “With the juniors I’d been the chief cook and bottle washer and people were reluctant to come forward.

“But then lads like Neil Howarth, Shane Wilkes and Bernie Williams came along and it soon emerged that the area was a sleeping giant for talent.

“Lads from Mostyn, Bagillt, Penyffordd…we had a good catchment area and lots of them wanted to play for us.

“We worked hard on the players’ fitness levels and built a good squad. The support from the village was marvellous, people would come to watch us home and away.”

Soon the trophies started to flow.

Barry added: “We beat our main rivals Abergele in three finals. We played in finals at Flint, Llandudno, Denbigh. In one, we lost to (higher level) Glan Conwy, who put out their first team which we felt was very unfair. They made changes to the rules soon after to stop that happening again.”

Lee Taylor netted 49 goals in Greenfield’s invincible season of 2007-08

Players such as goal machines Lee Taylor and Wayne Bayliss, rock-solid centre half Johnny Haseldin, Tony Hogan, Keith Ainsworth and Darren Wild all became major figures in green and black.

“Taylor and Bayliss, they were like the Toshack-Keegan or Cole and Yorke of the Clwyd League,” said Barry.

After the 2011-12 season, Barry was more than happy to pass the reins to Scott Beck.

“Scott knew what he was taking on and has done a great job. All his experience has been invaluable over the years.”

Barry stresses that Greenfield has benefited greatly from the support of local ‘giants’ Flint and Holywell.

“Both clubs have always been really supportive, helping us with coaches and players. One day we’d like to step up to their level.”

As for the future, Barry was very perturbed to see Greenfield turned down for tier 3 status.

“It was really disappointing,” he said. “We were the blue-eyed boys with the Welsh FA for a while because of the size of our pitch.

“We were seen as an ‘example’ club, but because plans for the new stand ground to a halt, we were suddenly out in the cold.”

However, this great servant to local football remains optimistic that the future can be bright.

“If we can get things sorted with the ground, and the right commitment all round, I still think the club can go further,” he said.

Johnny Haseldin (green and black) wins a challenge for Greenfield in the 2008-09 North Wales Intermediate Cup final against Gwalchmai. Picture: Dai Sinclair

Johnny Haseldin, former Greenfield hero and now the successful manager of Holywell Town, paid a warm tribute to Barry.

He said: “Barry was first behind the junior set up, doing everything pretty much on his own to make sure the kids in the village had somewhere to play.

“We were all having to travel about to play at that time.

“He used to raise the money, take the training, pick the team, get the kids to games. When I think back it was an unbelievable commitment from him with very little help.

“When he started the senior team a lot of the lads he had as kids came back for him.

“I left the Cymru Alliance to sign for him, I felt I owed him that for everything he had done for us as kids.”

“It’s typical of him to try to deflect himself away from the spotlight and thank other people, but without him a lot of us might not have been involved in football.

“We had some great times together and we all owe him a great deal of thanks.”

Greenfield Football Club – statistics

2005/06
Clwyd League Division Two: 18-11-2-5-54-26-35 (3rd)
2006/07
Clwyd League Division One: 18-6-3-9-41-48-21 (6th)
2007/08
Clwyd League Division One: 24-24-0-0-107-18-72 (1st)
2008/09
Clwyd League Premier Division: 26-16-2-8-72-54-50 (4th)
2009/10
Clwyd League Premier Division: 20-9-5-6-38-37-32 (3rd)
2010/11
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 20-7-5-8-42-38-26 (6th)
2011/12
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 22-10-2-10-46-54-29 (5th)
2012/13
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 24-11-4-9-75-55-37 (6th)
2013-14
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 24-9-4-11-51-57-31 (8th)
2014-15
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 30-12-6-12-75-69-42 (7th)
2015-16
Welsh Alliance Division Two: 24-21-2-1-94-36-65 (1st)
2016-17
Welsh Alliance Division One: 30-15-5-10-57-44-50 (5th)
2017-18
Welsh Alliance Division One: 28-14-5-9-82-53-44 (5th)
2018-19
Welsh Alliance Division One: 28-13-7-8-54-46-46 (4th)
2019-20
Welsh Alliance Division One: 18-11-2-5-33-17-35 (4th)

League statistics

Played 354 Won 189 Drawn 54 Lost 111 Goals For 921 Goals Against 652 Points 621

Honours

Halkyn Cup Winners: 2005/06
REM Jones Cup Winners: 2006/07
Clwyd League Division 1 Champions: 2007/08
North Wales Coast Intermediate Cup Winners: 2008/09
Clwyd Premier Division Cup Winners: 2008/09
Welsh Alliance Division 2 league winners 2015/16

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