This week marks a year since Neil Gibson took over as manager of Flint Town United.
The former Prestatyn Town boss replaced Niall McGuinness on December 7, 2020, with the Silkmen struggling near the bottom of the Cymru Premier.
Gibson had to endure a tough start – six losses in his first eight league games – but the team’s form improved in phase two as they scooped 17 points out of a possible 30 in the bottom half Play-off Conference.
Flint eventually finished next-to-bottom in their first top-flight season since 1997/98, but with no relegation on the agenda, Gibson knew he had a chance to build on what he had started in the 2021-22 campaign ahead.
And the beginning of his first full season in charge at Flint has been a revelation.
Boosted by the signing of top class strikers Mike Wilde and Jack Kenny, other exciting new faces and the retention of some of last season’s best performers, the Essity Stadium club lie second in the Cymru Premier table.
They have won nine out of 15 matches so far, and this Friday entertain Caernarfon Town in Gibson’s first anniversary game.
The Canaries are a familiar foe of Gibbo’s – he shared some fantastic battles with them in his two spells as Prestatyn manager.
The Silkmen won 3-2 at The Oval in October, so will be going for a prestigious double over Huw Griffiths’ side.
Gibson has been in charge of Flint for 37 competitive matches in total and has a record of 18 wins, four draws and 15 defeats.
However, most of the losses came in that difficult four-month spell last season when he took over a struggling side.
Far more realistic to judge the former Wales Under-21 midfielder on this season’s form, which has been outstanding to date.
Gibson is a very popular figure at the Essity Stadium and has a chance this season to lead Flint to their best-ever performance in the top league.
Their highest finish was fourth in 1993-94 when the competition was known as the League of Wales.
Gibson, 42, a former Tranmere Rovers professional and Wales Under-21 cap, took over as manager of Prestatyn Town in 2007-08.
He led the club to three Cymru Alliance titles, eight seasons in the Welsh Premier, plus he lifted the Welsh Cup, celebrated a Europa League tie victory at the first attempt and enjoyed NWCFA Challenge Cup success before leaving Bastion Gardens for a second time in October 2020.
In between two spells at Prestatyn, he worked on Connah’s Quay Nomads’ management team alongside Andy Morrison and Jay Catton.
FLINT TOWN UNITED’S RECORD UNDER NEIL GIBSON
2020-21 SEASON (ALL LEAGUE MATCHES)
Tuesday, December 15: Cefn Druids (h) 1-2 (Richie Foulkes)
Saturday, December 19: Aberystwyth Town (h) 3-0 (Mark Cadwallader, Rob Hughes 2, 1 pen)
Saturday, March 6: Penybont (h) 0-1
Tuesday, March 9: Connah’s Quay Nomads (h) 0-1
Saturday, March 13: Caernarfon Town (h) 0-2
Saturday, March 20: Penybont (a) 2-1 (Sam Hart, Callum Bratley)
Saturday, March 27: The New Saints (h) 0-6
Friday, April 2: Bala Town (a) 0-5
Cymru Premier – Phase 2 (Play-Off Conference)
Saturday, April 10: Cardiff Met (h) 2-0 (Conor Harwood, Callum Bratley)
Tuesday, April 13: Cefn Druids (h) 5-0 (Mark Cadwallader, Conor Harwood, Josh Amis, Ben Maher, Jordan Buckley)
Friday, April 16: Aberystwyth Town (a) 1-0 (Josh Amis)
Tuesday, April 20: Newtown (h) 0-2
Saturday, April 24: Haverfordwest County (a) 0-0
Tuesday, April 27: Newtown (a) 0-1
Saturday, May 1: Haverfordwest County (h) 2-0 (Josh Amis, Alex Jones)
Tuesday, May 4: Cefn Druids (a) 6-0 (Josh Amis 3, Ben Maher, Sam Hart, Jacob Wise OG)
Saturday, May 8: Aberystwyth Town (h) 0-0
Saturday, May 15: Cardiff Met (a) 1-2 (Mark Cadwallader)
League record under Neil Gibson 2020-21: Played 18 Won 7 Drawn 2 Lost 9 GF 23 GA 23
Final league record for club 2020-21: Played 32 Won 10 Drawn 2 Lost 20 GF 38 GA 58 Pts 32
Final position: 11th of 12 (no relegation)
2021-22 (LEAGUE AND CUP MATCHES)
Saturday, August 7: Bala Town (h – Nathaniel MG Cup) 1-1 (Ben Nash) – lost 1-3 pens
Saturday, August 14: Cardiff Met (a – Cymru Premier League) 5-1 (Jack Kenny, Callum Bratley, Mike Wilde 2, Conor Harwood)
Saturday, August 21: Cefn Druids (h – CPL) 4-0 (Jack Kenny, Mike Wilde 3, 1 pen)
Saturday, August 28: Aberystwyth Town (h – CPL) 1-0 (Alex Jones)
Tuesday, August 31: The New Saints (a – CPL) 0-1
Saturday, September 4: Penrhyndeudraeth (h – Welsh Cup R2) 5-0 (Mike Wilde 2, Jack Kenny 2, Mark Cadwallader)
Saturday, September 11: Newtown (h – CPL) 4-1 (Mike Wilde, Callum Bratley, Jack Kenny, Ben Maher)
Saturday, September 18: Haverfordwest County (a – CPL) 0-2
Saturday, September 25: Penrhiwceiber Rangers (a – Welsh Cup R3) 3-1 (Alex Jones, Mark Cadwallader, Jack Kenny)
Friday, October 1: Bala Town (h – CPL) 1-2 (Mike Wilde)
Saturday, October 9: Barry Town United (h – CPL) 3-2 (Mark Cadwallader, Jack Kenny, Ben Maher)
Tuesday, October 12: Caernarfon Town (a – CPL) 3-2 (Mike Wilde 2, Conor Harwood)
Friday, October 15: Connah’s Quay Nomads (h – Welsh Cup R4) 0-2
Friday, October 22: The New Saints (h – CPL) 1-1 (Kai Edwards)
Friday, October 29: Aberystwyth Town (a – CPL) 2-1 (Jack Kenny 2)
Saturday, November 6: Penybont (h – CPL) 3-1 (Mike Wilde, Jack Kenny 2)
Tuesday, November 9: Cefn Druids (a – CPL) 1-1 (Mike Wilde)
Friday, November 19: Bala Town (a – CPL) 1-3 (Jack Kenny)
Saturday, December 4: Haverfordwest County (h – CPL) 4-1 (Jack Kenny 2, Kai Edwards, Mike Wilde)
2021-22 Under Neil Gibson
League: Played 15 Won 9 Drawn 2 Lost 4 GF 33 GA 19 Pts 29 Position: 2nd
Cup: Played 4 Won 2 Lost 2 GF 9 GA 4
Overall (2021-22): Played 19 Won 11 Drawn 2 Lost 6 GF 42 GA 23
Overall (Dec 15, 2020-Dec 4, 2021): Played 37 Won 18 Drawn 4 Lost 15 GF 65 GA 46