Whoever takes over as Llanrwst United manager from departing boss Barry Owen will have a big act to follow.
Often a manager leaves a club after a poor run of results or at a time where change is needed for the better, but that is certainly not the case for Llanrwst and Owen.
The Conwy Valley side are having an excellent season in the Tier 3 Ardal North West League, currently sitting third with a great record of five wins, two draws and just a single defeat.
In 14 matches across all competitions this term, the Rwsters have won 10, drawn 2 and lost just twice – to league leaders CPD Y Rhyl 1879 and Cymru Premier outfit Colwyn Bay in the Welsh Cup.
Owen’s last game in charge delivered a superb 4-1 win over Bethesda Athletic in the FAW Trophy, giving the Gwydir Park side a home tie against Llanuwchllyn in the last 64.
Llanrwst have arguably as strong a squad now as the club has possessed at any stage in its recent history.
So why would the manager leave?
Today, Barry said on social media he needed to spend more time with his family.
As a person who has always been open and honest, we have to accept and respect his reason.
Speaking about his time with Llanrwst, Barry said: “Today, I’ve handed in my resignation to the football club. It’s been an absolute honour and a dream come true (to manage Llanrwst).
“I’ve played for the juniors, through to the seniors, I’ve captained the club, managed the reserves and been an assistant-manager before taking over as manager on two occasions.
“On both occasions, I think that I’ve left the club as title contenders. Something I’m very proud of, but sad as I haven’t been able to see it through.
“I believe this group of players is arguably the best squad that this club has had for the last 15 years, some will say even longer!!”
Barry went on to thank all players, management, officials and supporters connected with Llanrwst United.
The club said in a statement: “We would like to thank Barry for all he has done for Llanrwst United over the years.
“Your hard work and determination to carry the club forward was nothing short of amazing. Diolch Barry.”
BARRY OWEN AND LLANRWST UNITED – A LONG-STANDING PARTNERSHIP
Barry started playing football for Llanrwst United at the age of seven, and represented North Wales Coast and county at every age group.
He represented Welsh Colleges in five-a-side, two years running at Loughborough, and also 11-a-side five times.
Barry was also part of the successful Llandrillo College Academy side that went to France and played the likes of Le Havre.
He debuted for Llanrwst United’s seniors in the Gwynedd League title-winning team of 2003/04. He then had a short stint at Llandudno, but returned to Llanrwst, becoming captain and later player-manager.
Between 2016-18, he was joint-manager of the Conwy Valley club alongside Rhodri Davies.
Barry stepped down in 2018, but returned to work alongside Leighton Griffiths for the 2020-21 campaign, which was cancelled due to Covid.
He and Griffiths led the team in the first season of the new Ardal North West League (2021-22), Llanrwst finishing an excellent fourth in the table.
Last season Barry took over as sole manager and it was again a more than satisfactory campaign for the all-reds as they finished seventh.
This season has begun brilliantly for the Rwsters and Barry leaves the club in a very good position.
From our point of view at Grassroots North Wales, Barry has always been a joy to deal with and we hope to work with him again at some point in the future.