Promotion wasn’t planned says proud Llantwit Major boss Karl Lewis

Llantwit Major’s second consecutive promotion wasn’t something the club had planned for says their manager Karl Lewis.

The club’s first-place finish is the highest league finish in the clubs history, having never played higher than the Welsh League Division Two.

Major have won back to back promotions having won the Division Three title last season, with only Barry Town United, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Llanelli Town the only other sides to win consecutive promotions in recent years.

This Division Two title win, however, wasn’t planned by the club, with safety in the league a likelier target at the start of the season.

Lewis said: “I’m immensely proud of the achievement as it wasn’t something we as a club sat down and planned for,”

“Our aim was just to compete this season but the boys have been fantastic all year and surprised a lot of  doubters wrong.

I’m not sure there are too many other teams to win the two divisions back to back.”

With seven games in the space of 22 days after a fixture backlog which has seen a high amount of games called off this season, Llantwit managed to come through the gruelling set of fixtures with an impressive unbeaten record.

They picked up points at Ammanford and Aberbargoed Buds, as well as securing the league title against promotion rivals and fellow divisional new boys STM Sports.

Major’s squad includes former Welsh Premier League footballer Anthony Rawlings and highly-rated forward Sam Snaith. Major’s only defeats of the season came to lowly West End and two defeats to Caldicot Town.

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“The amount of fixtures were difficult but the boys pulled together and squad rotation allowed individuals to get some rest,”

“Since we started at Llantwit we have always relished playing top teams and have very rarely lost,”

I feel we set ourselves up to be a difficult team to beat so we look forward to the games against the top teams as they give us a chance to prove ourselves.”

An ingredient in Major’s success has been the community feel that the club believes it has, with a big crowd turning up to Windmill Lane, basking in the sunshine as they closed in on the Division Two title. The club managed to raise enough money through fundraising to begin ground improvements, including a new stand and a path for supporters.

Major are the only team out of the three promoted sides to remain at the ground they achieved promotion with, both Ammanford and Pontypridd Town have scheduled moves to Briton Ferry Llansawel’s Old Road and Leckwith Stadium, respectively.

“It’s a community club and everyone works hard together to make sure we continue to grow as a club this is proven by achieving the licence. It would have been a travesty if we had to ground share as we would lose our identity and lose the local supporters.

The community spirit has definitely helped us in the last two months, the players have been worn out but the support from everyone has driven their want to achieve.

There are too many people to thank but I hope they realise they all played a huge part in our achievements.”

Promotion to Division One has provided Major with the opportunity to meet with Penybont, who are based just nine miles away from Llantwit. Although not an official derby, there have been a number of players swap between clubs over the years.

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One person from Bridgend though is Lewis himself, who supports Penybont unless playing against his Major side. The game against Penybont has been earmarked as one of the games he’s not looking forward to, praising the stature of the club and the man at the helm, Rhys Griffiths.

“I’m not sure it’s a local derby but some people might make it a derby like atmosphere due to our past connections with Penybont.

On a personal note, It’s one game I won’t be looking forward too as Penybont are an established outfit with a very experienced leader who will be looking to win the league next year.

Both games will be extremely difficult as Bont are now a very professional club who rightly have ambitions to play in the Welsh Premier League. That being a Penybont boy and fan unless against us that I’m not looking forward to playing them I would like to hope so.”

Major are one of the youngest sides in the league and are lead by one of the youngest managers, in UEFA C Licence candidate Karl Lewis.

However, the experience that Lewis has brought to the game outside of the qualification has seen them topple Barry Town United in the Welsh Cup, as well as two back-to-back title wins, with Major just one division away from the top flight.

“I think our achievements show people (players and me) need opportunities to prove themselves and we were lucky to get that opportunity at Llantwit.

I think it also shows that young managers don’t need licences /badges to achieve they can be gained on the job. Teams should look to give opportunities to more young managers with fresh ideas and more relatable links to players.”

(Featured Image: Jordan Jones)

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