Darren Thomas has one main ambition left with Caernarfon Town before hanging up his boots – get the club into Europe.
Caernarfon have received a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s JD Cymru Premier Euro Play-Off semi-final at Barry Town United with club legend Thomas agreeing a new two-year deal with the Canaries.
Darren, 34, who has amassed 124 goals in 253 matches for the Cofis, is now committed to The Oval outfit up to the end of 2022-23.
His two most recent net-finders for Huw Griffiths’ side came at Barry last Saturday in a 3-2 Cymru Premier League defeat.
Speaking to Grassroots North Wales, Darren said about the new deal: “It was a no brainer for me being a local lad. I want to get the club into Europe before I retire.
“Hopefully we can fulfill this and be successful in the next couple of years.”
Nicknamed the Cofi Messi, Darren is widely regarded as a Caernarfon Town all-time great.
He first joined the Canaries, where he made one substitute appearance, during the 2005/06 League of Wales campaign.
Frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities he switched to Llangefni Town, where they quickly put him under contract.
Over the next four seasons Darren would score goals for fun, helping the club to the Cymru Alliance title under Adie Jones in 2006/07 and promotion to the Welsh Premier for the first time in the club’s history.
During Cefni’s sole season in the top flight Darren scored 13 goals in 30 appearances, including two hat-tricks and was named as the League’s Player of the Month for March 2008.
Despite being pursued by other LoW clubs when the team were relegated at the end of the season the Llangefni committee decided to hold on to their prize asset.
The 2009/10 campaign saw Darren in fine form, finishing top marksman as the club won the league title once more and he was crowned Cymru Alliance Player of the Season.
In June 2011, Darren moved on to Porthmadog and over the next season and a half he netted 22 goals in 53 appearances at Y Traeth before going back to Caernarfon Town in January 2013, linking up with former manager at Cefni, Lee Dixon.
It was a glorious return to The Oval for Darren, as the Canaries marched on to win the treble, with Thomas scoring twice in the record 6-0 FAW Trophy final victory versus Kelvey Fords and then securing the Welsh Alliance League title and Cookson Cup.
The 2013/14 season started well and with Darren finding the net 22 times in 36 starts he finished as the club’s top scorer.
Despite Caernarfon finishing runners-up in the Cymru Alliance they did lift the League Cup with Darren scoring in the 3-1 triumph over Flint in final at Porthmadog.
On a personal note he was crowned Players Player and shared the Supporter’s Player of the Year award with captain Grahame Austin.
The 2014/15 campaign got off to a good start for Darren and he went on to score 12 goals in his 22 starts as Town finished as runners-up to champions Llandudno.
He also scored an unforgettable wonder goal versus TNS in a gallant televised 3-2 Welsh Cup defeat.
June 2015 saw Darren leave The Oval to try his luck at Welsh Premier club Aberystwyth Town, but after two goals in 12 appearances at Park Avenue, he returned to his hometown club in November.
Manager Iwan Williams was delighted to re-sign Darren and his 13 goals from 18 starts helped Caernarfon to the Cymru Alliance League title, however due to the club’s failure to secure the domestic licence there would be no promotion. They did earn the consolation of another League Cup triumph.
Staying on for the 2016/17 season Darren was a integral part of the side that finished runners-up to Prestatyn and enjoyed a memorable run to the Welsh Cup semi-finals, where despite the Cofi Messi giving Town the lead they went out to eventual champions Bala Town.
The League Cup was secured for a third time in four years and Darren was named the club’s Player of the Year and was once again chosen for the Cymru Alliance Team of the Season.
In 2017-18 Darren notched 23 goals in 27 outings as Caernarfon were crowned Cymru Alliance champions for a second time in three seasons.
The player reached 100 goals for the club, who ended a 10-year absence from the top flight by being promoted to the Welsh Premier League.
Since Town returned to the WPL in 2018-19, they have secured three top-half finishes and made it to last season’s Welsh Cup semi-finals, only for the competition to be scrapped due to coronavirus.
Darren has shown some of the best form of his career back in the Cymru Premier. He has notched 17 league goals for the club to bring his career top-flight total to 32 (13 for Llangefni and 2 at Aberystwyth).
Last year, he scooped the Sgorio Goal of the Decade award for his amazing effort against TNS in the 2014/15 Welsh Cup. An stunning individual goal saw Darren break from his own half, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake before lashing home a magnificent shot from outside the box.
He also landed the 2019-20 Sgorio Goal of the Season accolade for his run and thunderous finish against Ammanford in the Welsh Cup.
What a career, what a player!
Darren Thomas – Caernarfon Town honours
2012-13 Welsh Alliance League title winner; FAW Trophy winner; Cookson Cup winner.
2013-14 Cymru Alliance League Cup winner
2015-16 Cymru Alliance League title winner; Cymru Alliance League Cup winner
2016-17 Cymru Alliance League Cup winner
2017-18 Cymru Alliance League title winner.
2013-14 Players Player of the Season, Supporter’s Player of the Season (shared with Grahame Austin), Caernarfon Town Top Scorer.
2016-17 Caernarfon Town Player of the Season
2017-18 Caernarfon Town Player of the Season, Huws Gray Team of the Season.
2018-19 Caernarfon Town Player of the Season.
2010-19 Sgorio Goal of the Decade winner. (versus TNS 2014/15 Welsh Cup)
2019-20 Sgorio Goal of the Season (versus Ammanford Welsh Cup)