Llandyrnog United have paid tribute to the work of highly-regarded Steve Crompton, who has stepped down as assistant-manager at the tier 4 club.
In recent years, Crompton has been involved in management/coaching at a number North Wales sides, including Bala Town, Ruthin Town and Corwen before arriving at Cae Nant.
However, in his playing career he operated at a much higher level, signing for League Division One club Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1975 before going on to have productive spells at Hereford United, Worcester City, Runcorn and Bangor City.
A blacksmith by trade, Crompton, 62, leaves North Wales Coast East Premier Division outfit Llandyrnog after a four-year stint.
Dyrny manager Jimmy McNally said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to this man.
“Steve came to Dyrny to assist Ryan Harden, along with me, and as a duo we gave Ryan the best backing we could.
“When Ryan decided to move away from the club, and I was tasked with taking on the job, Steve stood by my side, along with Tudur (Morris) and gave me all the support he could.
“His knowledge of the game and his attitude towards getting the best out of players as well as pushing me along all the way, will stick with me for as long as I can carry on this management lark, and I will be forever grateful for his support.
“Steve knows he’ll always have a place at this club should he ever decide to return in some capacity, and I would definitely enjoy working with him again.”
Born on December 3, 1958, Crompton’s football career really took off in 1973, when as a pupil of Brynhyfryd School in Ruthin, he was selected for Wales at under-15 level, playing alongside Eddie Niedzwiecki, Terry Boyle and Ian Walsh.
This attracted the attention of the big clubs and on leaving school in 1975 he joined Wolves as an apprentice footballer.
Although he never made the first team at Molineux, Steve did score six goals in the Midlands club’s run to the 1975-76 FA Youth Cup final, where they were beaten by West Bromwich Albion.
Defenders Bob Hazell and George Berry, both later to play in Division One, the latter earning five full caps for Wales, were also in the Wolves side, while WBA’s line-up included future England left-back Derek Statham.
In 1977, Steve moved on to Hereford United, where he featured in relegation battles in the ‘old’ Football League Second, Third and Fourth Divisions.
Three years later, he was transferred to Worcester City for £4,000. They played in the newly-formed National Conference (Alliance Premier League) and were a semi-professional outfit.
The winger spent five very happy seasons with the Blues, completing coaching badges with the English FA while there. Crompton was twice voted Player of the Year at Worcester, in 1980-1981 and 1984-1985.
In 1985-86, the Welshman was transferred to Runcorn, another Conference team, which reached the final of the English FA Trophy, playing Altrincham at the old Wembley Stadium.
The following campaign, Crompton moved to Bangor City, who at the time frequented the Multipart Northern Premier League.
The Citizens, who had beaten Fredrikstad of Norway in the European Cup Winners’ Cup the previous season, before losing 3-0 on aggregate to mighty Atletico Madrid in the next stage, were managed by ex-Welsh international John Mahoney, whose style of management influenced Steve immensely.
Whilst at Farrar Road, he played for Wales against England at semi-professional level.
Steve spent two good seasons at Bangor, playing in a side which won promotion to the new NPL Premier Division in 1986-87.
Mike Smith, webmaster for City-based Citizens Choice, said the following about Crompton under the 1980’s club legends section: “Seldom has a stronger, more physical right winger been seen at Farrar Road, bulldozing his way down the right wing to launch perfect crosses for the likes of Carl Dale, Mark Ferguson and, of course Tony Livens, to convert.
“But that is precisely the legacy left by Steve Crompton, who joined Bangor during the mid-eighties and won the hearts of blues fans with his strong running but more importantly telling crosses.
“In a crisis Steve could drop into centre half and defend with immense force and purpose.”
On leaving Bangor at the end of 1987-88, Steve went into coaching and completed a seven-year stint at Ruthin Town in their youth set-up, completing all the qualifications required.
His passion for the adult game was reignited when in 2004, he joined Colin Caton at Bala Town, who at the time were in the tier 2 Huws Gray Cymru Alliance.
Steve obtained his UEFA B licence from the Welsh FA while at Bala, where he spent seven successful seasons, helping guide the club to the top-flight Welsh Premier.
Crompton next tried his hand at management with a return to Ruthin Town in 2011. He stepped down in January 2013 before later taking over at Corwen, leaving in 2017.
Then came four years with Llandyrnog.
In an interview with Grassroots North Wales back in 2017, Steve was asked what were his career highlights.
“When I was at Wolves there were loads of excellent players, it would be hard to pick one,” he said.
“When I was at Hereford United I played alongside a young Kevin Sheedy – you could see he was destined for greatness.
“Also at Hereford at the opposite end of his career was a player/coach by the name of Terry Paine. Terry in his heyday was a really top player, he was in the England 1966 World Cup squad and was an older day Paul Scholes.
“What a superb player, you just couldn’t get the ball off him.
“As far as playing against, I once had the honour of playing in, believe it or not, a Hereford United reserves game v Fulham reserves in the 1980s and facing us on the other side of the pitch was George Best – how’s that for a name drop !!!.
“He’d had an injury and was coming back to fitness. Everybody on that day played out of their skins and we actually won 3-1.”
Recalling facing the legendary Best is probably a quite good point to conclude this article on Steve Crompton, a man who has used his impressive background as a player to benefit North Wales football on the management side for many years.