Rhyl Football Club have parted company with their First Team Manager, Niall McGuiness on Saturday evening after he tendered his resignation following the club’s defeat to lower-league Llandudno Albion earlier on in the day.
The move sees McGuiness end his sixteen-month tenure as manager come to an end after being appointed officialy in the role back in May 2016 despite finishing in the bottom two, but for a reprieve following Port Talbot Town’s demotion to the Welsh League.
He became one of Europe’s youngest managers when named the new Lilywhites’ manager, a move from the Rhyl board which attracted much media attention. McGuinness made waves in the 16/17 season with victories against the likes of Bala, Airbus UK and Cardiff Met, but issues with consistency condemned them to relegation to the Huws Gray Alliance.
McGuinness’ tenure at Rhyl has been a turbulent one with a tough start to life in the Welsh Premier League in 2016/17, including the club record 10-0 defeat away to TNS, which he turned around with a string of positive results which led Rhyl to the verge of a top six spot in December 2016, when an 18 month contract was signed taking him up to the end of 2017/18.
Unfortunately things fell apart for Rhyl after the Christmas period, the club narrowly missed out on a top six spot and the loss of Carl Lamb to a drugs suspension begin to signal a descent towards the drop zone. McGuinness’ side fought until the end, with a last gasp winner against Airbus in April 2016 keeping their survival hopes alive while relegating the Wingmakers, before a 4-0 defeat away to Aberystwyth the next weekend sealed their fate.
Rhyl made it clear they were going to stand by McGuinness going into 2017/18, and the young manager was given the tools to rebuild a depleted side as the club began a battle to return to the Welsh Premier League, big signings such as Alex Titchiner, Mark Connolly and Tom Rowlands followed and the season started with optimism.
The Lilywhites started the season with an unbeaten record in the first six Cymru Alliance matches which included a late comeback to draw 3-3 against title favourites Caernarfon Town, however defeats to Flint Town United in the Nathaniel MG Cup and Ruthin Town in the league, amongst draws to Penrhyncoch and Porthmadog, games which the Lilywhites conceded late goals, turned the pressure on the young manager. With another late goal clinching defeat in the cup, and McGuinness’ time was up.
Meet Niall McGuinness, the Welsh Premier League's youngest manager.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 1, 2016
Despite bringing in a host of new players in hope of promotion back to the top flight, Rhyl endured a rocky start to life in the second tier after winning two out of eight games. On top of poor league form, the Lilywhites have crashed out of both main cup competitions, losing out to Flint Town in the Nathaniel MG Cup and Llandudno Albion in a shock JD Welsh Cup defeat.
CLUB STATEMENT – Rhyl FC have accepted the resignation of 1st Team Manager Niall McGuinness
— Rhyl Football Club (@rhylfc) October 7, 2017
Rhyl will now move to appoint their next manager who will be tasked with improving the squad’s performance to kick start a climb up the table.
Summer signing Mark Connolly has been placed in caretaker charge of the club until the Lilywhites can find a long-term successor.
(Featured Image: Paul Evans of Oval Ways)