Happy birthday Macca – you made a good impact in North Wales football

Paul McManus (centre, keeper’s arm over his shoulder) celebrates winning the Cymru Alliance title with Rhyl in 2012-13

Although he now manages North West Counties League Premier Division side Runcorn Town, Paul McManus is very well known in North Wales football circles.

Today McManus celebrates his 31st birthday, having been born in Liverpool on April 22, 1990.

Paul played in the Welsh Premier League for Bangor City, Airbus UK Broughton and Rhyl, as well as having a spell with Flint Town United in the Cymru Alliance.

He was also a key figure when Rhyl won the Cymru Alliance title as invincibles in 2012-13.

A gifted, hard-working forward who also excels in midfield, Macca has always been a popular figure wherever he’s played.

He was a product of Chester City’s youth system and a prolific scoring record for the youth and reserve sides persuaded Bobby Williamson to hand McManus a professional contract on 2 October 2007.

Highlights of his early time at the club included scoring the shock winner for Chester’s youngsters against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Youth Cup in December 2006 and a hat-trick against Carlisle United in a reserve fixture in September 2007.

Macca made his Football League debut as a late substitute in a 3-1 home win over Shrewsbury Town on 7 October 2007, becoming the first player born in the 1990s to make a first-team appearance for Chester.

He made his first starting appearance in the first team in a Football League Trophy tie away at Carlisle United and remained in the squad for most of the season.

In the closing weeks of 2007-08 he played regularly in attack, scoring his first league goal in a 2-1 loss to Lincoln City on 12 April 2008.

The following season saw Macca score successive equalisers for Chester against Shrewsbury Town and Luton Town in September but he was allowed to move to Bangor City shortly before the transfer window closed on 2 February 2009.

Macca made his City debut as a scoring second-half substitute in a 6-0 home thrashing of Connah’s Quay four days after landing at Farrar Road.

After three sub appearances, his first start for City came in a 2-1 loss at Port Talbot on February 21, 2009.

Macca was mainly used as a substitute for the rest of the season, including in the Welsh Cup final where he came off the bench in a 2-0 win over Aberystwyth Town. He also scored in a 3-1 league win at Newtown.

Released by Bangor at the end of the season, Macca moved to Airbus UK Broughton, where he made 42 appearances and scored four goals.

He then switched to Rhyl in 2012 and was outstanding in his first season which saw the Lilywhites crowned Cymru Alliance champions without losing a game – the only team to achieve this in the league’s history.

Macca himself was joint top-scorer with Steve Lewis and Marc Evans on 16 goals.

Paul continued to shine for Rhyl on their return in the Welsh Premier, but in 2015-16 was sent on loan to Flint Town United, where he notched five goals in 17 outings.

Macca is now proud player-manager of Runcorn Town. Picture by kind permission of Runcorn Town FC

In 2016, Macca signed for Runcorn Town, where he soon became a fans’ favourite.

In February 2019 he became player-manager at Sandy Lane on a caretaker basis and his debut in charge was a memorable one – a 2-1 win over league leaders City of Liverpool.

Macca was appointed permanent player-boss prior to the final game of the season and remains in that position up to this day.

Thanks for all the North Wales football memories Macca – and all the best for the future.

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