Happy birthday to one of the Cymru Premier’s best defenders ever

George Horan. Picture: NCM Media

How do you even begin to describe George Horan ?

What about…one of the best defenders ever to grace the Welsh Premier and still one of the finest in the league now even though he turns 39 today.

George not only makes life a nightmare for strikers, he is also one of the most consistent goal-scoring centre-backs around.

Born in Chester on February 18, 1982, this defensive colossus has featured in more than 400 Welsh Premier matches and is on the national league’s all-time top 10 list of appearance makers.

Neville Powell first signed Horan for Connah’s Quay Nomads as an 18 year-old centre-back on loan from Wrexham late in 2000.

The strapping youngster had played just once for the Dragons and had only two Welsh Premier League games for Bangor City under his belt before arriving at Deeside Stadium.

He made his Quay debut against Aberystwyth Town on Boxing Day 2000, quickly settling and becoming a lynchpin of the team’s defence for the next four seasons.

Horan signed for high-flyers Rhyl in 2005, the Lilywhites having won the WPL title in 2003-04.

In his first season at Belle Vue he played in all 34 league games and won the Welsh Cup with the Lilies.

George went on to make 146 WPL appearances over five campaigns at Rhyl, the highlight being the club’s second Welsh Premier championship success in 2008-09.

By 2010, newly-formed Chester FC, looking to rise from the ashes of Chester City, signed Horan for their first season in Northern Premier League Division One (North).

Under George’s captaincy, Neil Young’s side went on to win three successive league titles – the NPL Division One North, NPL Premier Division and Conference North.

During the 2014-15 close season, having played 159 matches for Chester and scored 20 goals, Horan decided to return to Nomads.

His steadying influence in defence and robust attacking from set pieces began to impact upon the team’s results and in 2015/2016 under manager Andy Morrison, he led them to a WPL Europa League play-off victory and a first-ever crack at European competition.

Success in the Europa League followed with commendable victories over Stabæk and HJK Helsinki before Horan experienced Welsh Cup final glory for the second time in his career, proudly holding the trophy aloft after a 4-1 win against Aberystwyth Town in 2017-18.

Last season came George’s finest hour yet in a Nomads shirt as Morrison’s men broke the eight-season stranglehold of The New Saints on the Cymru Premier League title by being crowned national champions for the first time.

Happy birthday George – what a player!

George Horan – career stats (league only)

Bangor City (1999-2000)
Appearances: 2

Wrexham (1999-2000)
Appearances: 1

Connah’s Quay Nomads (2000-05)

Rhyl FC (2005-10)
WPL appearances: 144 (2)
Welsh Cup winner 2005/06
Welsh Premier League winner 2008/09

Chester FC (2010-14)
Appearances: 159; Goals: 20
Northern Premier League Division One North 2010-11 champions
Northern Premier League Premier Division 2011-12 champions
Conference North 2012-13 champions

Connah’s Quay Nomads (2014-15 – present)
Appearances (two spells combined): 384 (4) Goals: 38; Welsh Premier only: 278 (3)
2017-18: Welsh Cup winner
2018-19: Scottish Challenge Cup finalist
2019-20: Cymru Premier League champions; Nathaniel MG (League) Cup winner

ALL-TIME TOP 12 CYMRU PREMIER LEAGUE APPEARANCE MAKERS
(up to end of February 2021)
1 Colin Reynolds 516 (substitute – 12)
2 Andrew Thomas 484 (38)
3 Andy Mulliner 481 (1)
4 Wyn Thomas 481 (55)
5 Gary Lloyd 481 (35)

6 Chris Venables 461 (6)
7 Aneurin Thomas 447 (49)
8 Hugh Clarke 445 (23)
9 Lee Surman 441 (8)
10 George Horan 424 (5)

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