MônFM Sport’s Gareth Joy looks at the latest transfer activity among three of the biggest football clubs across Anglesey and the North West.
It hardly bears arguing about the biggest move in local football over the past week – though maybe one or two have tried.
Even beyond Craig Harrison’s return to the Welsh football pyramid at Bangor City, news of his first signature will have helped to boost confidence after their dramatic exit from the Welsh Premier.
Les Davies returns for a third spell with the Citizens, after Bala opted not to his renew his contract earlier this month.
Undoubtedly a modern-day City legend, Davies notched up 88 goals from his first two stints (2003-05, 2007-15) and figured among Nev Powell’s title-winning squad in 2010-11.
At Connah’s Quay, he scored 16 times in 58 appearances during his two year stay, but found himself out of favour at Maes Tegid, despite scoring five goals in his five games last season.
Also reappearing at Nantporth is Tom Field, after a season with Northern Premier League club Marine FC. His last spell with Bangor two years ago was only a brief one – joining in pre-season but opting for a move to Connah’s Quay instead.
But the ex-Everton youth product is probably best known as an Airbus mainstay for four years, which yielded 25 goals from 96 appearances and led the Wingmakers to three seasons of Europa League experience.
Harrison said he came to know Field while in charge of The New Saints: ”It’s great to get someone of Tom’s experience, quality and leadership joining the squad…Tom knows Welsh football very well and will give good balance within the squad of experience and youth, alongside Les and a few more experienced players coming in and the exciting young talented lads who are already at the club.”
No sooner than Field’s arrival had been announced that Bangor were dealt a blow with the loss of Anthony Miley to Bala Town. He scored thirteen goals in a total of 131 appearances.
The defender announced the end of his five year stay with City on Twitter – he said: ”The opportunity to stay in the WPL and play in Europe again was too good to turn down” but added he hoped the club would bounce straight back up next season.
Meanwhile, Darren Garmey is seeking to make his mark as Holyhead Hotspur’s new manager and build up a stronger challenge in the Huws Gray Alliance next season.
His first two signings are familiar names to the Harbourmen. Both Carl Jones and Jamie Roberts have returned after two seasons away at other North Wales Coast clubs.
Jones helped Prestatyn Town clinch the HGA championship in 2016-17 – but the Seasiders’ WPL revival ended after one tough season and the keeper opted for a return to Anglesey. His Holyhead combeack comes just after the departure of veteran stopper Paul Pritchard.
Roberts was part of the Caernarfon Town side whose own title ambitions were thwarted by Prestatyn’s triumph that season. But he returns from a treble-winning campaign at Conwy Borough – including the Welsh Alliance title, which earned the Tangerines promotion back to the HGA at the first time of asking.
On the management front, first team regular Mike Kelly has been handed the reins of the reserves team, assisted by two more Holyhead mainstays, Martin McClymont and Tom Scott.
‘Cheds’, as he’s known, will undergo a FAW ‘C’ coaching course ahead of the new season. There’ll also be a Testimonial in his honour against a Sheffield United XI at the New Oval on Saturday 7th July (3pm ko).
Speaking about his move into reserves management, he said: ”I have gone through the whole club structure as a player, from youth to senior. I will look to pass onto them my experience and knowledge in the hope that they can break into and establish themselves as first team players in the coming years.”
”For many years now, the club has relied on our own home grown talented youngsters, and it is integral to the success of the club that the production keeps producing. Not only is it important to keep churning out players, but that the quality of these players need to increase in line with the quality of the Cymru Alliance. This was the main draw for me. My players will have one goal, and that will be to break into the first team and stay there.”
At Caernarfon, continuity appears to the main policy so far in the run up to their first season back in the Welsh Premier.
Once again, captain Nathan Craig has committed to the Canaries for the long term, along with defender Clive Williams – an unsung hero in the words of manager Sean Eardley – and the ‘Cofi Messi’ himself, Darren Thomas.
They add to a growing number of influential players signing new contracts, such as keeper Alex Ramsay, strikers Jamie Breese and Danny Brookwell, full-back Joe Williams and midfielder Gareth Evans. Both Ramsay and Brookwell have fended off interest from other clubs, with the former deciding against a reunion with ex-Canaries boss Iwan Williams at Llandudno.
Eardley still has new names in mind and has been talking to several players about a possible move to The Oval. Porthmadog marksman Sion Bradley and Holywell Town defender Steve Thomas are rumoured to be key targets.
Speaking to the club’s Youtube channel on Wednesday night, Eardley said they’ve signalled their intent to strengthen as top flight football returns to Caernarfon.
WATCH: Caernarfon manager Sean Eardley announces new contracts for three players
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