Plas Madoc’s Success Story Began in Gaffer’s Garden
Ryan Roberts was finishing his playing career at Chirk AAA this time last season but now he his the manager of a Plas Madoc side who have been crowned the North East Wales Football League Champions in their inaugural season.
In his maiden season as a manager, and in the club’s maiden voyage, he led them to the title, finishing nine points above second place Penyffordd Lions and scoring 130 goals in the 26 games.
Roberts’ men, founded on donations, were also runners up in the Queensferry Sports President’s Cup and Horace Wynne Cup, but it was their emphatic league success which began with two losses, and then only featured one more loss in 24 games) that will make the 2017/18 campaign one to be remembered in the clubs record books.
The manager’s back garden of all places had a huge role to play in Plas Madoc’s success too as Robert’s spoke about his pre-season expectations for the club.
“We were written off before we even started to be honest so I wanted to prove everyone wrong. I expected to win the league but only because of the faith I have in my squad. To win 20+ games in a row after losing the first two games was unbelievable but I sat in my garden after the first two losses and said we would, so it was great to do so”
Following such a successful season, you may think the stand out games were the cup finals or the game which won them the league, but no, Roberts’ fondest memory was the first game after his garden prediction.
“Most memorable game for me was the 5-2 away win (against Airbus youth) 3rd game of the season after losing the first two I saw a transformation from that moment on”.
The club were ruthless in front of goals this season, and their scoring exploits was a major reason for their success. However, Roberts insisted on stating it was a collective effort.
He further added how the attitude of the team allowed them to reach the lofty expectations he had set them.
“It was a huge team effort to accomplish what we did. Every person that put the shirt on this season did me proud, so the key players were everyone (and our) key to success is without a doubt our togetherness (which) grommets everyone in the squad behind the scenes. Also, I’ve never seen anything like the fans before!”
As the club looks ahead to the future the 2018/19 season preparations in the WNL Division One begin soon, but it’s not without a heartfelt farewell to the NEWFL feeder league.
“I’m very excited to start the new challenge in the Welsh National League I think we will take some stopping in that as well we begin our pre-season on Tuesday 26th June…with a local fitness instructor and Thursday ball work as we look to carry on where we left off. (However,) part of me is sad to leave North East Wales Football League as Nikki (Owner) and the team have been a huge help to us”
But despite the plaudits for the side’s work this season, the manager would like to see the season remembered as a mixture of underdog success and superb teamwork.
“We proved doubters wrong and exceeded many people’s expectations by achieving what we did that’s down to everyone’s hard work at the club and the players sheer will to win when they put on the Plas Madoc jersey…I am the proud manager of Plas Madoc and I love doing it, the successful season we had made it worth it for everyone involved in club”
Featured Image: Nathan Wilcox