In the world of grass roots local football, the off-season always prompts quite a few revamps – perhaps even more so than higher up in the Welsh pyramid. The debut of new clubs, the death of old ones and countless changes in personnel are quite common in the day-to-day build up to the new campaign in the Gamlins Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League.
The Premier Division will begin that new season without champions St Asaph after they decided to opt for promotion to Division Two of the Welsh Alliance. It also bades farewell to Rhuddlan Town – one of two clubs to walk away from the league alongside lowly Division One outfit Rhyl Hearts.
From our region, the top flight still boasts Prestatyn Rovers in its ranks after a bizarre set of circumstances. Rovers manager Steve Taylor had quit to join Meliden as Paul Moroney’s assistant – the club felt it couldn’t go on without him and it’s only due to a ‘change of plan’ (the words of the league) that Rovers will remain where they are, with Taylor still in charge. Rhyl Athletic will also represent Denbighshire as the Premier Division expands to include four First Division clubs – champions Machno United alongside Cerrigydrudion, Llannefydd and Bro Cernyw.
The more dramatic revamp comes in Division One where as many as seven new clubs begin life in the fourth tier – namely from our area – Abergele, Prestatyn Albion, Prestatyn Sports, Rhyl Town AFC and Trefnant, alongside Conwy Legion United and Llandudno United. In addition, St Asaph and Meliden will enter reserves teams into the Clwyd Reserves Combination for the first time under the running of the North East Wales FA, while Llandyrnog United have pulled out.
Fixtures for the first half of the new season have been published online at www.clwydfootballleague.co.uk with a meeting due to take place in Colwyn Bay this Thursday night to iron out any remaining issues before the league kicks off in mid-August.