Prestatyn Town F.C.
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|Full name||Prestatyn Town Football Club|
|2019–20||Cymru North, 1st|
Records show that football has been played in Prestatyn since the early 1890s with games being played on an undeveloped field on Marine Road. Other pitches around the town were also utilized but the club as we now know it only came into being in the 1930s when it settled on the old Bastion Road ground behind what is now the Central Beach Club. The early history of Prestatyn Football Club is somewhat sketchy as there were many teams who lasted just a couple of seasons before folding but one Prestatyn side did enjoy some form of longevity, winning the North Wales Coast FA Junior Cup in 1928/9. The guiding genius behind this team was Sam Bennett who, it seems, was a real one man band.
Bennett was the manager, carried out training, acted as club linesman, headed up the committee and also supplied match reports to the local press!
Although never one of North Wales` football's leading lights in the pre and inter-war era, Prestatyn attracted their share of star players including left back Alf Smith who, according to legend, never disclosed his age to anyone but had a long and distinguished career with the Seasiders before hanging up his boots after a spell with Penmaenmawr.
Other names include George Drummond, an old-fashioned wing-half who possessed incredible skill and should have played at a far higher level, winger-cum-centre forward Roger Jones banged in goals for fun before retiring to take up a pub in Abergele. Jones had also played with great credit for Rhyl in their Birmingham League days. Then there were the Roberts brothers, Alf and George and the wonderfully-named `Cunnie` Jones who left Prestatyn to become a stalwart centre-half with Rhyl.
For a time in the late 1940s the club adopted the name Chandypore FC (the original name of the above-mentioned Central Beach Club) when they operated in the Dyserth Area League but quickly reverted to Prestatyn Town and, apart from dabbling with sponsor's names (Prestatyn Town Nova in 1990) have remained so ever since. Success in these early days was in short supply, the only triumph of any note being the capture of the North Wales Coast FA Junior Cup in 1928/9.
In the late 1960s the old Bastion Road ground was swallowed up by housing and after considering using a pitch in the middle of the old Prestatyn Raceway, now the site of Pontin's Holiday Village, the club moved to their present headquarters off Bastion Gardens in 1970/1 season which has been slowly but steadily modernized ever since. For most of this period Town had been members of either the Dyserth Area League or the Welsh League North but, after becoming founder members of the Clwyd League in 1974/5 Prestatyn enjoyed immediate success under the charge of manager Eaton Woodfine, winning the inaugural and subsequent titles and bagging a host of cups along the way until, after finishing runners-up to St Asaph City in 1992/3, they decided to take the plunge and re-join the Welsh League North, now known as the Welsh Alliance. During the 1993/4, under the management of former Queen of the South professional Eddie Garrett, season Town finished in eighth place but won the Alves Cup for the first time, beating St Asaph in an exciting final at Connahs Quay Prestyn's Captain Martin Trigg the Goalscorer. The following season saw the Seasiders set up an incredible end of season run of 14 straight wins to finish just four points behind champions Rhydymwyn.
They also reached the semi-final of the Alves Cup while the reserve team won the Clwyd League's Clwyd Cup.
Season 1995/6 saw Prestatyn chasing eventual champions Denbigh Town all the way but again fate saw them end up in second place but this time only three points behind. In this season Town completed work on their clubhouse which meant the Seasiders now had their own entirely self-contained base.
There was an acrimonious split at the club in 1998/9 which led to the formation of Prestatyn Nova and Town resigning from the Welsh Alliance to re-join the Clwyd League but the move was not the backward step many detractors feared, under the leadership of Tony Thackeray and Gwyn? Gonzo' Jones, the Seasiders completed a Clwyd League treble of championship, Premier Cup and President's Cup while the reserves reached the final of the Coast FA Junior Cup, losing on penalties to Abergele Celts. Not bad for a club supposedly in crisis!
Town re-joined the Welsh Alliance the next year, finishing seventh and again winning the Alves Cup while the reserves won the Clwyd League's REM Jones Cup. By now a settled and ambitious outfit, 2001/2 saw Prestatyn appoint Graham Hunter as manager and Tony Thackeray became club chairman. Town were runners-up in the Alves Cup and the reserves retained the REM Jones Cup. 2002/3 saw managerial changes again when Paul Thomas and James Ainsworth took over the reins.
After a couple of seasons of underachievement there change again for 2003/4 when Jim Hackett and Steve Jones took over and the transformation was immediate, Town finished third and just missed promotion to the Cymru Alliance.
Hackett left for a job at Chester City after a year and 2004/5 was a season of mixed fortune under the management of Lennie Dunster and Martyn Jones with a disappointing start leaving the team too much to do to catch the leaders and the Seasiders eventually finished sixth but did reach the final of the NWCFA Challenge Cup for the first time, losing 3–0 to Bangor City at Llandudno. Town were not outclassed by their Welsh Premier opponents and but for some wayward finishing, could have made the final score line a lot closer.
2005/6 was the season that really marked an upturn in Prestatyn's fortunes when, under the chairmanship of Steven Jones, Town appointed Dave Fuller as player-manager and retained Martyn Jones as assistant and the club looked forward to the coming season with new hope and a five-year plan to attain Welsh Premier status. A policy to concentrate on the league title paid off in fine style with the team winning the Welsh Alliance title for the first and remaining unbeaten all season and ending up nine points clear of runners-up Denbigh Town.
Icing on the cake was a rewarding run in the Welsh Cup which ended in a narrow 2–1 defeat to Welsh Premier Carmarthen Town in front of 268 people at Bastion Road. The season also saw the reserves, under manager Sean Pritchard, finish a strong third in the Clwyd League's Premier Division and winning the President's Cup by beating Llandyrnog 5–2 at Halkyn United.
Off the field the new clubhouse extension was completed along with a new seated stand and hard standing around the pitch to comply with the requirements of the Cymru Alliance and in their first season, Fuller – now assisted by Neil Gibson – had a wobbly start but regained the team's composure to finish fourth and reach the final of the CAL League Cup and the NWCFA Challenge Cup. Dave stood down in the close season with Gibson taking over as player-manager for 2007/8 and with the majority of the squad staying, the push for Welsh Premier football was successful with the Seasiders finishing as runaway champions.
Following the granting of planning permission in late April, the club performed miracles and erecting floodlights and carrying out further stadium improvements to meet the Welsh Premier's ground grading deadline on 1 May.
Prestatyn Town played their first game on 20 October 1910 when they travelled to Rhyl Amateurs, winning 3–2. Until the 2007–08 season, the club played in the Cymru Alliance, North Wales' feeder league to the Welsh Premier League.
After winning the league title in 2007–08, the club was promoted to the Welsh Premier League for the 2008–09 season. Their promotion was dependent on their ground, Bastion Road, meeting certain criteria, meaning that stadium had to be upgraded by 1 May 2008. The club installed floodlights and their promotion to the Welsh Premier League was ratified. The club maintained Premier League status for a second season with a 15th-place finish in 2008–09.
Under the guidance of chairman Phil Merrick and CEO Leigh Williams, the club had its most successful season in 2012–13. This was down to manager Neil Gibson's excellent ability to attract and coach ex professional players such as Andy Parkinson (Tranmere Rovers) and Jason Price (Doncaster Rovers). They beat champions TNS for the first time and it was also the first time they had ever been top of the Welsh Premier League. They won the NWCFA Challenge Cup and beat local rivals Bangor City 3-1 aet to win the Welsh Cup Final at the Racecourse, Wrexham. They then went on to make Welsh football history by being the first Welsh club to reach the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League at the first attempt. In the first qualifying round they beat Latvian side Liepajas Metalurgs to then go on and play HNK Rijeka at the famous Kantrida Stadium. A proud Captain Dave Hayes led out his team in front of 10,000 fans.
As the 2013–14 season began, there were multiple players leaving the club to pastures new and as a result, the performance of the club for the next couple of years started to deteriorate, but at the end of the season they survived relegation with an 11th-place finish by the skin of their teeth.
In the 2014–15 season the club were ultimately relegated with a 12th-place finish and no mathematical chance of surviving, their relegation was confirmed as Llandudno were promoted from the Cymru Alliance, ending a successful 7-year stint in Wales's top division.
The 2016–17 season saw the Seasiders gain promotion back to the top flight as Gibson built a squad brimming with local young talent that stormed the Cymru Alliance. Town's return to the WPL did not go as planned however, as the team struggled to pick up results after November. Neil Gibson departed mid-season to take up a coaching role with Connah's Quay Nomads, and caretaker manager Gareth Wilson was unable to help the club avoid relegation.
The summer of 2018 began in crisis. A mass exodus of the playing staff due to off-the-field issues saw the Seasiders not only in need of a manager, but an entire squad of players. In stepped the management duo of Leon Field and Ryan Turner from lower league side Kinmel Bay. The duo had their work cut out, and their first action was to promote a number of the club's youth prospects from Prestatyn's title-winning reserve side. A number of promising signings followed, and the club benefited from retaining its core staff - including kit man Mark Boulton, physio Jonathan Price and assistant manager Martin Jones. Dave Fuller returned as director of football, and following a successful pre-season - former captain and club legend Dave Hayes was coaxed out of retirement to help steady things on the field. Alex Jones was named club captain, and former striker Ian Griffiths returned to bring experience and goals.
Long-serving chairman Chris Tipping sold the club to a visionary investment consortium two months into the 2018–19 season, and a change in management followed as Neil Gibson returned to the helm in October - with Ryan Turner assuming the role of assistant manager. Results in the league steadily improved thanks to Gibson's influence helping secure the return of a few key players from the last title-winning squad. A run of 6 games unbeaten with 5 wins - including a Boxing Day demolishing of fierce rivals Rhyl FC - all but secured their Cymru Alliance status, with the club eyeing a promotion push the following season.
The 2019–20 season saw the Cymru Alliance rebranded as the Cymru North (along with the WPL as the Cymru Premier in a mass rebrand) and this also saw the Seasiders record their best season in the Cymru North with 3 separate 7-0 wins against Bangor City, Llanfair United and away at Conwy Borough, unfortunately the season was cut short in March due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Worldwide Pandemic (which later stopped that season's Welsh Cup which the Seasiders booked a Semi Final slot with The New Saints), despite Prestatyn Town winning the Cymru North on the PPG (Points-Per-Game) System implemented by the FAW across the Welsh football pyramid, they weren't granted promotion due to their TV Gantry being up to FAW standards which the local council failed to check and grant permissions for a new gantry on time as a result of the aforementioned Pandemic, as a result Flint Town United took their spot in the Cymru Premier for the 2020–21 season with the Seasiders taking on another season in the Cymru North as League Champions.
During the Off-season, Neal Colakoglu that led the consortium to buy club from Tipping, announced he was selling the club to investor Jamie Welsh, changes were made as a result in the board with the additions of club stalwart Leigh WIlliams as the club's CEO (who would later step down) and Mike Mainwaring as the Club Secretary, Leon Field has been kept in his role as General Manager while Martin Jones moves up to his dual-roles of Licencing Officer and Media Officer, another welcome addition to the Media team was Ron Squire who changed the club's graphical output to a more professional standard
First team squadEdit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|2013–14||UEFA Europa League||First qualifying round||Liepājas Metalurgs||1–2||2–1||3–3 (4–3p)|
|Second qualifying round||Rijeka||0–3||0–5||0–8|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Daily Post: Latest North Wales news, sport, what's on and business". icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk.
- "Football club's floodlight plan given go ahead". Archived from the original on 29 September 2008.