“A football club to a small village like Llansannan is everything”Tomi Lewis, North Wales Live Sports Reporter
Better known in Welsh football circles as Tomi Caws, it is clear that the club and the village holds a special place in his heart as he spoke about the importance of the Tier 4 side that compete in the North Wales Coast East Football League to its local community. “Llansannan is a village of about 1,000 people and the club is a real focal point of the community,” he explained. “So it’s special in that sense as that doesn’t happen in bigger towns and villages. You can walk into the shop on a Monday morning, and whether its an old lady buying a loaf of bread or a youngster buying a chocolate bar, they want to know how Llansannan got on over the weekend.”
As a player, Lewis represented Llansannan from 2010 to 2019 when he became assistant manager, and took over as manager the following year before the domestic game was curtailed due to the pandemic. “I absolutely enjoyed every minute there as a player and as manager,” he added. “I probably enjoyed being the manager more in a lot of ways, possibly because I wasn’t the best of players! I’m a Denbigh lad from about eight miles down the road, but straight away, Llansannan became my club and I loved every second.
“As for highlights, we won the NWCFA Intermediate Cup in 2013 against St. Asaph in the final. Really we shouldn’t have had a hope of winning that game, but we won 1-0. There was about 1,000 people at the game in Colwyn Bay which for that level was fantastic and it’s a really special memory. We also managed to win the League Cup in 2018 in front of over 700 people at that game in Denbigh. Even though we’re only a small village club, for the big games we would get a really good crowd and people really got behind the side.”
Under new manager Leon Gierke, Llansannan began their JD Welsh Cup campaign back in July with a 4-1 win over Cerrigydrudion with Dafydd Jones scoring a hat-trick in the away win. Their reward was a home tie against Brickfield Rangers, but a double from Lewys Jones and a goal from Gierke himself earned the side an impressive 3-1 win over the Tier 3 side from the Ardal North West. “Leon has done a fantastic job as he’s brought in some new lads and he’s got bags of experience himself,” Lewis added. “There’s a good batch of young players coming through as well so the future looks bright. Beating Brickfield Rangers in the last round was absolutely incredible, it’s one of the best results that I can remember Llansannan having.”
But there is also progress off the field at Cae Chwarae Maes Gogor, otherwise known as the ‘Llan Siro’. “I have to give a shout-out to Gari Lloyd Evans who I was assistant to, he took back over as manager last year when I stepped down,” Lewis explained. “He did a great job in keeping the side going in what was a difficult season. There has also been a lot of work done on the ground in the last few years and I genuinely think it’s one of the best grounds in Tier 4 now. The club has gone from strength to strength under the chairman Gwyn Evans who’s doing a fantastic job along with his hard-working committee, who are all willing to pitch in and do a bit as well.”
Glantraeth provide the opposition for Llansannan at the Llan Siro on Saturday having progressed through the qualifying rounds with victories over Bethesda Athletic and Barmouth & Dyffryn United. Although the side were Tier 2 champions in 2006, they failed to meet the Domestic Licensing requirements for promotion to the top-flight and experienced tougher times in the subsequent years. Having reformed in 2018, the club are now looking to work their way back through the pyramid system. “Hopefully we can get the win,” said Lewis. “But it won’t be easy against Glantraeth and they will bring a few supporters with them as they are still a big club in North Wales football even though they have seen better days. Still, it gives us a great opportunity to get to the next round and draw one of the big boys.
“I’m certain there will be a good crowd there as progressing through a couple of rounds of the Welsh Cup is massive and everyone knows how important the game is. Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of good clubs go to the wall recently due to their financial situations, so every penny counts at this level. We’re very lucky in a sense that we organise different social events and fundraisers, but at the same time if we can earn money through on the field achievements then that would be absolutely massive for a club like ours. But for me, it’s about the community, it’s vitally important as when the club does well it puts smiles on people’s faces. Clwb gorau yn y byd! Viva Llansannan!”
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