Porthmadog
CPD Porthmadog FC
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Statement from Gareth Parry to Porthmadog FC – 08/05/2014

It is with regret that I have today made the decision to step down as manager of Porthmadog FC. It has been a very difficult decision to come to after spending 12 years at the club, eight as a player and the final four and a bit years as manager. It is more of “having to” make the decision rather than “wanting to”.

Following a few years where I had a double hernia and three ankle operations I was overjoyed at being offered the manager’s job at Port. Little did I know at the time just how much time and commitment being a manager of a club would be. Four years on and with two beautiful girls, greater work demands, and other voluntary roles, it has become impossible for me to continue to put everything into the role, and Port deserve a manger who can provide them with exactly that.

I can honestly say that I have given my all to the club as both a player and manager, and while there are always some doubters, I did everything with the best interests of the club at heart. There are so many things I would have liked to have done in addition if time allowed, but unfortunately this is not the case in the semi-professional game. There are a million and one issues to deal with as a manager (some things you would never even imagine) and I know I have made mistakes along the way but have also learnt a great deal. I now have a huge amount of respect for anyone willing to become a football manager (even David Moyes!!) and would urge others who haven’t been in that position to walk a mile in their shoes before being too eager with their judgement!!

It is not possible to share all the inner details about decisions as some matters should be kept private within the club, but I hope the majority of you can see that we tried to do things the right way during my 4 years as manager.

There have been many highs and a few lows during my time with the club. I experienced a very enjoyable first season in 2002/3 winning the treble and securing promotion back to the Welsh Premier League. 6 seasons in the Welsh Premier followed with notable victories over TNS, Llanelli, and the big derby games against Bangor and Caernarfon were always eagerly awaited. We had a great run to the Quarter Final of the Welsh Cup unfortunately losing to Carmarthen on penalties and avoided relegation on the last day of the season thanks to Boskin’s winning goal at home to Rhyl. The support of the fans has been fantastic over the years with our regular fans attending every home and away match with the occasional added bonus of the “Cricieth Pathfinders” and the “Les is a Legend” crew.

As manager I was both happy and disappointed to finish joint second (if it wasn’t for a ludicrous decision by the Welsh FA to deduct 3 points) with Rhyl in my second year in charge, narrowly missing out to Connah’s Quay on promotion, having topped the league at Christmas. I quickly realised that I was a performance oriented manager/coach as I would get greater pleasure from seeing the lads play attractive, passing football (sometimes not winning games) rather than winning ugly. I know there’s a time and a place where winning ugly is required and my naivety without doubt cost us in some games. I would however (even in future) never set a team up other than to play football the way I believe it should be played. Though we haven’t achieved a regular top 4 place in the league or secured promotion back into the Welsh Premier I have been extremely proud of some of the football the lads have produced over the years, where they have shown on their day that they can compete with the best.

I got off to a great start as manager winning the North Wales Challenge Cup along with my then assistant manager Dilwyn Parry (who incidentally has a 100% record as assistant manager having won all 8 games where he has been in the dugout), therefore I would urge the Board to seriously consider Dilwyn’s application to become the next manager of the club!!!

My biggest challenge as manager was undoubtedly coming through the financial troubles a year and a half ago where over a period of 4 months we lost almost the entire team. A lot of credit needs to go to the players who stuck by the club and more so to those who have played during the current season. I have been extremely proud of the lads and the way they have gelled and developed into a squad with great potential, and still to this day feel sick as a parrot thinking of the Hollywell result!! It would have been fitting for the lads and those associated with the club to make history and become the first Porthmadog team to reach the semi final of the Welsh Cup, but it was not to be….. The spirit of the current squad though was then highlighted by going unbeaten for the remainder of the season when they could easily have thrown in the towel. Whoever comes in as the next manager will be lucky to work with such a great bunch of lads.

Football has been a big part of my life and will continue to be so. I am hoping to resurrect my playing career (if the body allows) and continue to coach, but one thing is for certain, for the foreseeable future I will not be taking on the role of a manager!! Having now had the opportunity to play and manage/coach, I will also be using the opportunity to learn some more about performance analysis and physical conditioning, believing these are a crucial part of the current game.

I have many people to thank for all their support during my time at the club. To Viv and Osian for bringing me to the club as a player in the first instance and providing me with the opportunity to play for such a great club. To the late “Bob” and “Ffion”, Dilwyn, Meirion, Carwyn, Shon, Ian, Robin, Jane, Gerallt, Rich, Nigel, Rose, Dafydd, Enid, Eddie, Jackie, Meirion E, Dr Death, Gareth and family for the excellent website, and everyone else who regularly helps out at the club (apologies for those I’ve missed). I will even miss Hywel’s (Harlech) constant criticism from the sidelines!! A huge thank you to all the players who have worked so hard over the past 4 years and have rarely missed a training session (another aspect supporters are not usually privy to), to Campbell, Bish and Paps for ably assisting me and spending countless hours on the phone listening to me moan about various things, and to managers of other clubs who have also been willing to share their experience and help me along the way. Biggest thank you though must go to Phil (Chairman) as in my opinion the club would have struggled to sustain its current status without his contribution. Never in my life have I seen a person so dedicated to a football club and I will be indebted to him (and The Board) for providing me with the opportunity and support to manage a great club, and to play on, in my opinion, the best surface in Welsh football.

It will take a lot of time to adjust to not being part of “Porthmadog FC”. I have travelled close to 45,000 miles over the past 12 years but all of them worth it for the chance to play for Port and to run out on “The Traeth”. I would urge any potential manager or player who ever has the opportunity to join the club not to pass it up. I wish you all the very best for the future and sincerely hope that you can get back to where you deserve to be – The Welsh Premier League.

Many thanks

Gareth


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