Today marks the 34th birthday of a talented football coach and manager from the North Wales coast.
Sean Eardley was a revered defender as a teenager, but although health problems curtailed his playing career, he has gone on to become a highly accomplished performer in management.
Born on April 14, 1987, this former pupil of Ysgol John Bright, Llandudno, represented Wales Under-19’s and prior to that was a member of the National Development Squad.
He was days away from signing a professional contract for League One Oldham Athletic in 2006 when doctors revealed he had a rare heart complaint.
Dreams of a top-level career were over, although Sean was later passed fit enough to continue playing amateur football for hometown club Llandudno.
He went on to become assistant-manager to Alan Morgan at Maesdu Park and was part of a very successful spell in Tudno’s history which included winning the Cymru Alliance in 2014-15, the club finishing third on debut in the Welsh Premier and qualifying for Europe.
2016 saw Sean named North Wales Coast McDonald’s Community Football Awards Performance Coach of the Year.
In 2017, Eards joined Caernarfon Town as number two to manager Iwan Williams.
Six months later, Sean became first team boss of the Canaries after Williams took up the manager’s role at Llandudno.
At the time, Caernarfon were top of the Huws Gray Alliance and they stayed there, not losing a single league game for the rest of the season.
That meant a return to the Cymru Premier after a 10-year absence and in his two seasons as WPL chief, Sean worked wonders, leading Caernarfon to a pair of top six finishes.
Sean was hugely popular at The Oval, with the players, officials and especially the fans, so it came as a blow when in May 2020 he returned to Llandudno as first-team manager.
While he has built a powerful-looking squad at Maesdu, because of coronavirus, Sean’s stint as manager has yet to really get going.
Football runs in the family as Sean’s brother Neal has been capped 16 times by Wales and in 2010-11 played for Blackpool in their one and only season in the Premier League.
Neal is now on loan at League Two battlers Barrow from Burton Albion and has played 440 matches across the Football and Scottish leagues.
As for big brother Sean, he cannot wait for the start of the 2021-22 season and the chance to get Llandudno back up to the Cymru Premier.
Happy birthday Sean – thanks for all your great support over the years. You’re an absolute diamond and the moment cannot be allowed to pass without recognising you as one of North Wales football’s great comedians too (remember the Mexican costume?).