Happy birthday Gwalchmai FC legend Paul Owen

Paul Owen (in hat) celebrates with Gwalchmai players and fans after winning the 2009-10 Gwynedd League title. Picture: DAI SINCLAIR

Paul Owen is probably best known in North Wales football as the man who managed CPD Gwalchmai throughout the most successful period in their history.

When he took over as boss of the Ynys Môn club in 2003 they were a modest Anglesey League outfit.

However, under the leadership of the man affectionately known as “Skin”, Gwalchmai won Anglesey and Gwynedd league titles, spent five seasons in the tier three Welsh Alliance, reached the Welsh Cup third round and won numerous other trophies.

Born on September 29, 1970, Paul is 51 today.

The father-of-three, a former pupil of Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern and an artexer by trade, is Gwalchmai through and through.

As a youngster, he played for Bodedern Juniors before joining Trearddur Bay Under-16’s.

He played for Gwalchmai Reserves, then went to Llannerchymedd for four seasons before returning to Gwalch where he saw out his senior career, playing mainly left-back or left-midfield.

It was as a manager, however, where he was to really make his mark.

In 2007-08, he led the Maes Meurig club to the Anglesey League title for the ninth time in their history.

Dream Team: Paul Owen (right) and the late Rob Hughes, who guided Gwalchmai to the 2009-10 treble. Picture: DAI SINCLAIR

The 2009-10 season was his finest, as along with joint-manager, the late Rob Hughes, the pair guided Gwalch to a remarkable treble of Gwynedd League title, Cwpan Gwynedd and Gwynedd Premier Cup.

They were also runners-up in two finals – the NWCFA Intermediate and Barritt Cups.

Due to their success, Gwalchmai rose to the highest level in their history in 2010-11 – the Welsh Alliance League.

During their first season in the WAL, the club reached the third round of the Welsh Cup, knocking out Buckley Town of the Cymru Alliance on penalties before going out 4-1 at home to Welsh Premier side Port Talbot. The match was captured by the Sgorio cameras, with Paul giving interviews before and after the game.

The club remained in the Welsh Alliance for five seasons, always holding their own, before having to fold in 2016-17 due to a player shortage.

However, the following season Gwalch came back, winning the Gwynedd League Shield before in 2018-19 being promoted back to the Welsh Alliance.

The shortened 2019-20 campaign due to coronavirus was to be the last in the Welsh Alliance’s history.

Gwalchmai (stripes) take on Port Talbot in the 2010-11 Welsh Cup. Picture: DAI SINCLAIR

Covid-19 forced the 2020-21 season to be scrapped altogether and the current campaign sees Gwalch in the tier 4 North Wales Coast West Premier Division under the management of Liam Ewing and Gwyndaf “Giamocs” Davies.

Paul stepped down as boss some time ago but remains very much involved with a club where he is loved and respected.

Apart from his football involvement, Paul is a giant of the Gwalchmai community, always willing to help with anything he can.

He has been fantastic to work with over the years and Grassroots North Wales wishes Paul a very happy birthday – penblwydd hapus M8.

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