Port and the Welsh Premier Years - 13/10/12
Port and the Welsh Premier Years The WPL has been in existence for 20 seasons and much has been written about this recently. Of those 20 seasons Port were members for 13 of them, in two periods 1992-98 and 2003-2010.
During those two periods Porthmadog can be proud of their contribution to the league and its development. Though the highest finish achieved by the club was a 9th place and that in the inaugural season of 1992/93 this in no way tells the whole story of the contribution made by Porthmadog FC to the growth and development of the WPL. The attempt to create a link between a league with fewer clubs and higher standards of play ignores the contribution of the so called ‘lesser’ clubs.
From the early days Porthmadog has given much to the league. In its inaugural season of 1992/93 manager Meilir Owen gave a young player named Marc Lloyd Williams his first WPL opportunity. The young player developed into a goal machine and arguably became the league’s finest player. He joined Bangor in 1994/95 and went on to play for many other clubs, all with the common factor of scoring a hatful of goals wherever he went. In total 319 goals in 419 starts and 52 of those goals were scored in two spells at the club which gave him his first break into the Welsh Premier.
For two season Jiws formed a remarkable strike partnership with Dave Taylor, another player signed by Meilir Owen, who scored 43 goals in 1993/94 with the pair amassing a grand total of 65 goals between them.
The next in the line of strikers who gained early recognition at the Traeth was Paul Roberts. A young player, developed at the Traeth who burst on the scene at the start of the 1996/97 season with his frightening pace and his exciting goal scoring. But by Christmas he had been capped at U-21 level by Wales and was on his way to Wrexham. He later joined Bangor and went on to prove himself to be one of the WPLs outstanding strikers, scoring 148 goals in 288 starts. While with Bangor he formed one of the most dangerous strike partnerships in the 20 year history with none other than Marc Lloyd Williams Here we have three strikers who made their mark because Porthmadog were in the WPL and able to provide them with an avenue of opportunity.
A current striker whose WPL career was given a boost and a twist at the Traeth was Les Davies. He spent two years at the Traeth with Viv and Osian, arriving as a winger and returning to Farrar Road as a mercurial striker ready to make a huge impact on the WPL.
No other contribution to the Porthmadog club in the WPL can match that of Mike Foster the man with the magic left foot. He played in the inaugural season of the then League of Wales and went on to become one of an elite group of players who have made in excess of 400 WPL career appearances. He stands with the best who have worn the red and black of Porthmadog. He proved that it was possible to make your mark with one of the ‘lesser clubs’.
Port not only gave an opportunity to young talented players but also a coach who has gone on to make his mark at the highest level of Welsh football. Osian Roberts left Porthmadog to direct operations at the Welsh Football Trust. It is fair to say in that role he has gone on to revolutionise the way young players are coached and prepared at age group levels. His undoubted coaching and organisational skills led to Gary Speed brining him into his senior international coaching team. Osian recalls his experience with Port saying, ” I will never forget the morning Viv Williams came to my office in Llangefni and asked me to come and help him out at Porthmadog FC. It resulted in 7 years of pure enjoyment at a wonderful Football Club with wonderful people ...”
Port can look back on its contribution with considerable pride. The WPL can consider perhaps whether dumping clubs like Port to be replaced by plastic clubs really does serve the best interests of Welsh football.