Former Rhyl FC icon Graham Cartlidge is back in local football with Meliden

One of local football’s true diamonds has taken up a leading role at an ambitious Denbighshire club.

Graham Cartlidge is the new vice-chairman of Meliden FC from the tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division.

Graham is best known for his near lifelong dedication to the former Rhyl FC.

Last October marked this great football stalwart’s 70th birthday.

His first association with Rhyl was playing for the juniors in the 1960’s and he then started helping out around the ground doing vital maintenance tasks in the mid 70’s.

Towards the end of the 70’s and into the early 80’s he helped form the very successful supporters association which played an important role as the team progressed through the North West Counties League into the Northern Premier.

Graham was kitman for the club for the majority of the last few decades after first being asked to take on the role by the late Terry Murphy.

In terms of high points, Graham cites great days such as when Rhyl defeated Barnsley in an FA Cup second round replay at Old Trafford in 1970, promotion to the Northern Premier League in 1984 and in more recent times everything to do with the seasons 2004 to 2010, when the Lilywhites won the Welsh Premier League and Welsh Cup twice and represented Wales in Europe for 6 successive seasons.

Many of these memories were collated by Graham into the Rhyl FC museum, which was located at the Belle Vue ground and displayed memorabilia of the club’s proud history.

Sadly, last year saw Rhyl FC fold after 141 years of existence, leaving Graham both heartbroken and pondering his future as a football club volunteer.

He was not short of offers, but has decided upon Meliden.

Meliden chairman Steve Boyle said: “I am delighted that Graham has agreed to come on board with us. During many of our conversations it quickly became clear he was the final piece in the jigsaw.

Graham is well known to the local footballing community due to his many years at Rhyl Football Club and his experience and knowledge will be a massive asset to the club.”

Meliden have also appointed Mike Mainwaring as club secretary.

Boyle added: “With the departure of Peter (Evans) last week I had to act swiftly and find a replacement. Mike came highly recommended and I’m happy he has agreed to join the club. The wealth of experience he brings with him will stand him in good stead. Mike has previously been secretary for Rhyl FC and Prestatyn Town.”

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