Colwyn Bay’s decision to part company with manager Craig Hogg before the new year is a bold one, but whether it is the correct one remains to be seen.
Upon hearing of Hogg’s departure today, I have to admit I am surprised at the news.
Since taking over as Bay boss in September 2018, Hogg had done a fine job overall, firstly ensuring a smooth transition from the English pyramid back into the Welsh system after a 35-year absence.
His first match in charge, in September 2018, delivered a 2-0 win at Clitheroe and while results were mixed from there on, the Bay said goodbye to English football in a more than respectable 11th spot in Northern Premier Division One West.
In their first season back in Wales, the disrupted 2019-20 campaign, the Bay initially finished third in the tier 2 Cymru North and had a good Welsh Cup run.
When the table was amended the Seagulls ended up fourth, their stats affected by the resignation of a Rhyl side they had beaten 3-0.
The 2020-21 season never got started due to coronavirus, although Bay did win their only match at Buckley in the Nathaniel MG Cup.
This season has seen Hogg lead Bay to the Welsh Cup quarter-finals, having knocked out Cymru Premier side Cardiff Met – their best result since returning to Welsh football.
After their 4-2 defeat at Ruthin before Christmas, Bay lie sixth in the Cymru North table, but before that result they had won four on the bounce, scoring 15 times in the process.
While the club would have wanted that sixth position to be a little bit higher, and the gap to leaders Airbus some way smaller than 18 points, the season has been far from a catastrophe for the Seagulls so far.
In Hogg they had a solid and popular leader who knows Welsh football well. He was certainly the right man to guide them back into the Wales system.
Crowds have been fantastic at Llanelian Road since Bay returned to Welsh football and the quality of play under Hogg and assistant Iain Bennett has to be a key factor in that.
The kind comments on social media towards Hogg since his leaving was announced have been considerable.
A man of his calibre will not be short of future managerial or coaching offers for sure.
Bay have made a big decision. 2022 will prove if it was the right one.
TODAY’S STATEMENT FROM COLWYN BAY FC
A former Bay player, Craig was appointed manager in September 2018, stepping up from his role as assistant following the departure of Alan Morgan.
He was manager during the club’s final season in the English league system with the club returning to Wales and joining the newly-established Cymru North for the 2019-20 season.
Bay finished a Covid disrupted 2019-20 campaign in fourth spot and reached the fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup.
This season Craig has guided the Bay to the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup, with a notable victory over Cymru Premier side Cardiff Met in the fourth round.
Chairman Neil Coverley added. “Delivering the news to Craig and Iain this morning was extremely difficult.
“Being friends with Craig for 30 years and having gone through a lot together certainly added to the emotion surrounding it.
“The way in which he accepted what I had to say was a testament to him, professional as ever. He knows the decision is football based and not personal.
“One thing for sure is the work ethic and dedication that both Craig and Iain have shown can never be questioned.
“But ultimately this season we haven’t seen the progression and results we had all been looking for and acting now the board feels will give a new manager time to make an impact.
“The club will now begin the process of recruiting a new first team manager and will update supporters in due course.”
CRAIG HOGG’S RESPONSE
On social media this evening, Hogg gave a typically dignified response to his departure.
“It’s been an honour to be manager of Colwyn Bay FC and I’ve loved every minute of the 87 games in charge within English & Welsh football,” he said.
“I thank the board and fans for allowing me to be part of the club’s story and I wish you and my successor every success moving forward.”
CRAIG HOGG – MANAGERIAL RECORD WITH COLWYN BAY
LEAGUE: NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE DIVISION ONE WEST
CUPS: FA TROPHY, NPL CHALLENGE CUP
Sep 15, 2018: Clitheroe (a) 2-0
Buxton (a – NPL Challenge Cup) 0-1
Widnes (h) 2-4
Skelmersdale (a) 0-0
Newcastle Town (h) 3-3
Kidsgrove (h) 1-2
Mossley (a) 2-3
Ossett Utd (a – FAT) 0-6
Trafford (a) 0-0
Chasetown (h) 4-2
Droylsden (a) 2-1
Ramsbottom United (h) 0-1
Colne (a) 2-3
Glossop North End (h) 2-1
Atherton Collieries (h) 1-2
Kendal Town (a) 3-1
Market Drayton Town (h) 4-1
Prescot Cables (a) 2-1
Clitheroe (h) 1-1
Widnes (a) 2-2
Trafford (h) 2-1
Chasetown (a) 0-3
Droylsden (h) 1-2
Glossop North End (a) 5-0
Ramsbottom United (a) 0-1
Skelmersdale United (h) 9-0
Newcastle Town (a) 4-3
Kidsgrove Athletic (a) 2-0
Leek Town (a) 2-2
Colne (h) 2-5
Mossley (h) 1-5
Runcorn Linnets (a) 0-4
Radcliffe Borough (h) 1-2
Market Drayton Town (a) 4-1
Leek Town (h) 0-1
CLUB RECORD – LEAGUE
Played 38 Won 15 Drawn 7 Lost 16 GF 73 GA 66 Position 11th
CRAIG HOGG – LEAGUE
Played 33 Won 13 Drawn 6 Lost 14 GF 66 GA 58
Cup: Played 2 Lost 2 GF 0 GA 7
Overall: Played 35 Won 13 Drawn 6 Lost 16 GF 66 GA 65
LEAGUE: CYMRU NORTH
CUPS: Welsh Cup, Nathaniel MG Cup
Gresford Athletic (a – Nathaniel MG Cup) 0-1
Flint Town United (h – CN) 0-1
Llangefni Town (a – CN) 1-1
Llandudno (h – CN) 2-0
Prestatyn Town (a – CN) 1-3
Llanrhaeadr (h – CN) 1-1
Ruthin Town (a – CN) 1-0
Llanfair United (h – CN) 4-2
Penrhyncoch (a – CN) 0-2
Guilsfield (h – CN) 4-1
Corwen (a – CN) 2-0
Gresford Athletic (h – CN) 3-1
Corwen (a – Welsh Cup) 3-2
Rhyl (a – CN) 3-0 (result later expunged due to Rhyl’s withdrawal)
Bangor City (a – CN) 3-2
Nantlle Vale (a – WC) 1-0
Porthmadog (h – CN) 1-2
Bangor City (h – CN) 1-1
Airbus UK Broughton (h – WC) 1-0
Flint Town United (a – CN) 2-1
Conwy Borough (h – CN) 4-4
Llangefni Town (h – CN) 0-0
Llandudno (a – CN) 3-2
Prestatyn Town (h – CN) 1-2
Ruthin Town (h – CN) 2-1
Flint Town United (a – Welsh Cup) 2-3
Llanrhaeadr (a – CN) 1-0
Llanfair United (a – CN) 3-2
Penrhyncoch (h – CN) 2-1
Corwen (h – CN) 2-0
Played 24 Won 14 Drawn 5 Lost 5 GF 44 GA 30 Position 4th
Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2 GF 7 GA 6
Played 29 Won 17 Drawn 5 Lost 7 GF 51 GA 36
Buckley Town (a – Nathaniel MG Cup) 2-2 (won 6-5 pens)
Rest of season cancelled due to Covid
Played 1 Won 1 GF 2 GA 2
League: Cymru North
Cups: Nathaniel MG Cup, Welsh Cup
July 17, 2021: Holywell Town (a – Nathaniel MG Cup) 1-2
Gresford Athletic (a – CN) 3-0
Holyhead Hotspur (a – CN) 0-0
Ruthin Town (h – CN) 0-1
Conwy Borough (h – CN) 1-2
Penrhyncoch (a – CN) 4-0
Llanidloes (h – CN) 3-2
Llangefni Town (a – CN) 1-3
Buckley Town (a – CN) 0-1
Gresford Athletic (a – Welsh Cup) 2-1
Prestatyn Town (h – CN) 3-2
Airbus UK Broughton (a – CN) 1-4
Ruthin Town (h – Welsh Cup) 5-1
Llandudno (h – CN) 1-2
Oct 16: Cardiff Met (h – Welsh Cup) 1-0
Guilsfield (a – CN) 0-1
Holyhead Hotspur (h – CN) 4-3
Llanrhaeadr (a – CN) 6-2
Bangor City (a – CN) 3-0
Gresford Athletic (h – CN) 2-1
Dec 18, 2021: Ruthin Town (a – CN) 2-4
Played 17 Won 9 Drawn 1 Lost 7 GF 36 GA 26 Position 6th
Cups: Played 4 Won 3 Lost 1 GF 9 GA 4
Overall: Played 21 Won 12 Drawn 1 Lost 8 GF 45 GA 30
CRAIG HOGG OVERALL RECORD AS COLWYN BAY MANAGER
League: Played 74 Won 36 Drawn 12 Lost 26 GF 146 GA 114
Cup: Played 12 Won 7 Lost 5 GF 18 GA 19
ALL COMPETITIVE MATCHES
Goals For 164
Goals Against 133
Win percentage: 50%