Fans of Aberystwyth Town have an extra reason to get behind the national team at the current Euro 2020 Championship, as the Wales squad includes a former Aberystwyth Town Academy starlet in Rhys Norrington-Davies.
Rhys, who made his international debut last October against Bulgaria, starred for the Academy for around 3 years from the Under 11 age group after being spotted at a trial by ATFC legend and current First Team Coach Gari Lewis.
Gari told ATFC’s Media Team about the first time he saw Rhys play:
“This kid picked up the ball in his own half, beat three or four players and had a shot which the keeper saved. The keeper then played the ball out of his hands and the opposition attacked, Rhys made a recovery run and made a block tackle at the other end of the pitch to stop the opposition scoring. He was selected for the academy within 25 seconds!”.
Gari also commented on Rhys attitude to the game:
“He was a tremendous kid. He had an incredible engine and was fearless. I remember him being selected for a Cymru tournament in Newport and that’s where he first really started getting noticed”.
From ATFC’s Academy, Rhys then progressed to Swansea City’s Academy before joining Sheffield United in 2018. He has since had four loan spells away from Bramall Lane; at Barrow, Rochdale, Luton Town and then finally Stoke City earlier this year.
His International journey has taken him from the Under 19’s to the Under 21’s, for whom he appeared 14 times, before making his senior bow away to Bulgaria in the Nations League – the first of five caps to date. He was handed the no.17 shirt for Euro 2020 by Rob Page and although he has yet to appear in the tournament, he still has the opportunity to do so tomorrow as Wales begin the knock-out phase in Amsterdam against Denmark.
Rhys still keeps in touch with the club and kindly met with the current ATFC Academy players on a Zoom call back in February during the lockdown. He reflected on his time with the Academy and told the players that he absolutely loved his experience with ATFC.
Rhys explained how it was his Grandad who first inspired him to play football and how he still watches all his games to this day. He then gave an insight into what goes on in an international camp in the days leading up to matchday, playing alongside world class players such as Gareth Bale and playing for Ryan Giggs – his favourite player growing up.
Rhys then reflected on his time playing Junior Football in Ceredigion for Bow Street as well as ATFC’s Academy, before moving on to discuss his move to Sheffield United and his subsequent loan spells, which included appearing at Old Trafford for Rochdale, where he walked out alongside another Euro 2020 star in Paul Pogba! He offered some good advice to the youngsters on the call – advising them to “be patient and learn the game”.
Aberystwyth Town would like to wish Rhys and his teammates the very best of their luck for tomorrow’s match and the rest of their Euro 2020 adventure! We’re all behind you – pob lwc bois!
The club are delighted to announce that experienced Coach and Manager, Gavin Allen has agreed terms with Aberystwyth Town Ladies for the 2021-22 season. Gavin is the current Club Head of Coaching, and has also been involved with the men’s first team for the past 3 years; including being appointed Manager of the Cymru Premier side during 2020-21. Following his resignation last month, Gavin has been weighing up various options for a new challenge and fortunately for the Ladies, he decided that the Welsh Premier Women’s League was the way forward.
Gavin told us: “In my role of Head of Coaching at the club, I’ve already been semi-involved with the women’s team for the past two seasons. In that time, there’s been huge changes in terms of development and player pathway following the addition of a Girls Development Centre, U10s through to U19s. The club have been more supportive than ever of our women and girls’ section, at a time where women’s football is on the up. It seemed like the right time for me to make this move, to take on a completely new challenge and build on the structures already in place to ensure that our women’s team become more competitive in the WPWL. I’ll be focusing heavily on recruitment over the summer, as well as putting together a robust pre-season programme to properly prepare the team for the league start in September.”
Gavin is a current UEFA Pro Licence candidate, and upon completion of the course later this year will be the first ever WPWL Manager with this qualification. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience earned from his prolific background in both playing and coaching at a high level. Gavin first joined Aberystwyth Town as a player in 1996 after his release from Tranmere Rovers. The former Wales Under-21 international went on to score 113 goals in 238 appearances during three spells with the club over a nine-year period.
Club Chairman, Donald Kane has commented: “ATFC are delighted to appoint Gavin Allen as Manager of the Ladies Premier side. Gavin is certain to bring a huge amount of expertise, experience and organisational background to the Ladies set up. As a club, we are optimistic that we can thrive in the reformed league set up next year. With the new age groups added to the Girls Development Centre, the future looks very encouraging for us and it’s something that will benefit further from Gavin’s coaching and managerial skillset.”
We also asked Ladies Captain, Caroline Cooper for her views on the appointment: “I am very excited at the prospect of working with Gavin Allen this coming season. He has the ability to relate and connect with us with his knowledge, passion and experience in the game. This in turn will inspire us to believe in ourselves, develop our football skills and perform to our full potential. This is going to be a great time to be involved in ladies football at Aberystwyth Town FC.”
The club would also like to thank Andy Evans for his hard work and dedication in the past two seasons as the Manager, and we wish him all the best in his new role with the club. We have no doubt he will do well, and look forward to being able to work with him again in the future.
Aberystwyth Town are pleased to announce a further two retentions as local defensive duo Lee Jenkins and Jack Rimmer commit to the club for another season.
Still just 19-years-old, centre-back Lee has been a regular starter for Town for three full seasons since making his first-team debut in December 2017 at the age of 16. Coined the "Welsh Prem James Collins" by the Green Army, he has tallied 67 league appearances and 3 goals to date and is undoubtedly one of the league’s best prospects at his position. Lee displays maturity beyond his years having been handed the armband on four occasions last season, securing 7 points from 12 as captain.
A standout performance last season came vs Haverfordwest County in March for Town’s 2nd game back after the Winter lockdown, where he provided an assist for Jamie Reed to go ahead before scoring a dramatic last-second winner from a corner to secure Town’s first win in 11.
"To captain the club last season on a personal level was something I didn’t think would happen but it was an amazing feeling!
I'm looking to help the club climb up the table to where it should be. I can't wait to meet the new squad and get going again very soon. I hope to keep progressing on my game and help the club achieve its goals."
22-year-old Jack signs on for his sixth season in Black and Green having re-joined the club last summer from Penrhyncoch after an 18-month spell at Cae Baker.
Now plying his trade at full-back having began his senior career in central midfield, Jack has made 65 first-team appearances for Town with one spectacular goal back in December 2015, away at Haverfordwest County. Last season saw Jack start 20 matches, appearing 4 times from the bench – his highest season total to date.
“Last season was obviously a disappointing one and I felt we underperformed massively. However, we showed what we could do in a number of games and so I’m excited to fulfil our expectations this season.
Personally, I’d like to play every minute I can next year and contribute with a few more goals and assists. As a team, I’m looking forward to pushing towards the Top 6 next year to position ourselves best we can for the end of the season.”
Croeso nol / Welcome back to both!
Aberystwyth Town are pleased to announce a further three retentions for the 2021/22 JD Cymru Premier season, as defender Rhys Davies and forwards Richy Ricketts and Jonathan Evans commit to the club for another term.
20-year-old Rhys joined us last summer from Hereford FC having completed a 2-year scholarship at Shrewsbury Town between 2017-19, enjoying loan spells with Nuneaton, South Chippenham Town, and Merthyr Town.
Rhys made 19 appearances last season, scoring both his goals at Park Avenue – one vs Cardiff Met in the season opener and the 2nd vs Bala Town in December. Rhys featured primarily as a left-back but filled in well at centre-half when called upon, demonstrating his flexibility on the pitch.
Rhys told us:
“I’m looking forward to getting back to show everyone what I personally and we, as a team, can do. I think we have a good chance to progress and build on the positives of last season to get the club into the Top 6 where it belongs”.
18-year-old Richy joined the first team in 2019 following an impressive pre-season after scoring and providing an assist vs Llanidloes Town. He was rewarded with a 20-month contract in October 2019, committing him to the club until the end of 2020/21.
In 2019/20, Richy made six starts and appeared four times from the bench before joining Penrhyncoch for a short-term loan in January 2020, though opportunities were limited given season curtailment in March 2020. Last season, the youngster made five appearances and provided one assist after a surging run down the left flank, supplying Jack Thorn with a tap-in for a 4-0 away trouncing of Cefn Druids in October.
“I’m very happy to have signed for another season – I hope to prove myself and get more First Team action this coming season. As a local boy, I’m pleased to have come through the academy and progress into the First Team squad. I can’t wait for the season to begin now and push for that Top 6 place!”
28-year-old Jonathan signs on for a 4th season in Black and Green over three spells since 2011. A Town academy product who represented Welsh Schoolboys and U16 sides in his early career, Jonny made 25 appearances last season scoring four times from both wing spots and centre forward.
A particularly memorable strike came in October, with a weak-footed equaliser vs Flint Town finding the top corner, right in front of his dad Mel on the famous Mid Wales Travel double-decker! Highlights of that game can be seen HERE.
“I jumped at the opportunity to sign with Aber last season purely because I felt that there was unfinished business from my previous spells at the club. Since then, I’ve met some fantastic players and it’s great to see so many local boys involved.
We finished last season well and I was really happy to contribute with some goals and graft! This year I believe we can push the Top 6 if we fulfil our potential – with Corbs, Bari, and Gari in charge anything is possible as they are the best in the business. I’m buzzing to get going and see what this season brings, and I will be very proud to put on the shirt in front of the Green Army and hopefully give them lots to cheer!”
Welcome back to all three!
Park Avenue to Host Champions League Football in July
Aberystwyth Town FC are delighted to announce that Park Avenue will host Connah’s Quay Nomads’ UEFA Champions League First Round Qualifier, as well as a subsequent Second Round Qualifier in either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa Conference League, in July 2021.
Following a site visit in May 2021 by UEFA Stadium Inspector Scott Struthers from Hamilton Academical in Scotland, Park Avenue was designated as a UEFA Category 2 Stadium, pending some infrastructure upgrades, most notably the instillation of 400 seats between the Dias Stand and the Gantry, and this work will commence immediately.
Only two Cymru Premier grounds are designated as Category 2, Park Avenue and TNS’s ground Park Hall, and a major stumbling block to the status was overcome when Aber Town’s 3G pitch was awarded FIFA Quality Pro status in September 2020.
Club Secretary Thomas Crockett said: “We are delighted and honoured to offer Park Avenue to our friends at Connah’s Quay for their first two European matches this season. Hosting Champions League football in particular is a major coup for the Club, and this in itself will fund ground improvements which will ensure Park Avenue can host European matches for years to come. We extend our thanks to Scott Struthers and to Andrew Howard and Steve Jones from the FAW, who have been very supportive of our efforts to upgrade Park Avenue Stadium to the required standard”.
The matches will be played on two midweek dates in July, to be decided by the draw which will be streamed live on uefa.com next Tuesday 15th June at 11am.
Potential visitors to the Ceredigion Coast include European powerhouses Dinamo Zagreb from Croatia, Ludogorets Razgrad from Bulgaria and Polish Champions Legia Warsaw. Please see the full list of participating Clubs below, courtesy of Bert Kassies’ European football website here: https://kassiesa.net/uefa/.
CL-Q1: 1st Qualifying Round for Champions (32 clubs)
Seeded clubs coef. Unseeded clubs coef.
------------------------ --- ---------------- ------------------------ --- -------------
Dinamo Zagreb Cro 44.500 Riga FC Lat 5.500
Ludogorets Razgrad Bul 28.000 HJK Helsinki Fin 5.500
Malmö FF Swe 18.500 Linfield Belfast Nir 5.250
CFR Cluj Rom 16.500 CS Fola Esch Lux 5.250
Legia Warsaw Pol 16.500 Shakhtior Saligorsk Bls 5.250
Sheriff Tiraspol Mol 14.500 Neftchi Baku Azb 5.000
Ferencváros Hun 13.500 Maccabi Haifa Isr 4.875
Shkendija Tetovo Mac 9.000 Shamrock Rovers Irl 4.750
Slovan Bratislava Svk 7.500 Connah's Quay Wal 4.750
Dinamo Tbilisi Geo 6.500 Valur Reykjavik Isl 4.250
Zalgiris Vilnius Lit 6.500 Bodø/Glimt Nor 4.200
Alashkert FC Arm 6.500 Mura Murska Sobota Slo 3.000
Flora Tallinn Est 6.250 Teuta Durrës Alb 2.750
Buducnost Podgorica Mon 6.000 CL-PR *p 2.250
Kairat Almaty Kaz 6.000 FK Borac Banja Luka Bos 1.600
Lincoln Red Imps Gib 5.750 Hamrun Spartans Mlt 1.275
CL-Q2: 2nd Qualifying Round for Champions (20 clubs)
Seeded clubs coef. Unseeded clubs coef.
------------------------ --- ---------------- ------------------------ --- -------------
Dinamo Zagreb * Cro 44.500 Shkendija Tetovo * Mac 9.000
Olympiakos Piraeus Gre 43.000 Slovan Bratislava * Svk 7.500
Young Boys Sui 35.000 Dinamo Tbilisi * Geo 6.500
Red Star Belgrade Srb 32.500 Zalgiris Vilnius * Lit 6.500
Ludogorets Razgrad * Bul 28.000 Alashkert FC * Arm 6.500
Malmö FF * Swe 18.500 Flora Tallinn * Est 6.250
CFR Cluj * Rom 16.500 Buducnost Podgorica * Mon 6.000
Legia Warsaw * Pol 16.500 Kairat Almaty * Kaz 6.000
Sheriff Tiraspol * Mol 14.500 Lincoln Red Imps * Gib 5.750
Ferencváros * Hun 13.500 Omonia Nicosia Cyp 5.550
Aberystwyth Town are delighted to announce our first two retentions ahead of the 2021/22 JD Cymru Premier, as Jack Thorn and Mathew Jones commit to the club for another season.
20-year-old Jack joined us last summer after his release from Wrexham AFC, following a spell on loan with Newtown during the 2019/20 campaign. He made 23 first-team appearances last season in Black & Green, finding the net on one occasion at The Rock in a 4-0 away win vs Cefn Druids in October. Despite his youth, Jack isn't afraid of a physical battle and is still honing his craft in central midfield after impressing last season with several excellent performances.
Jack commented: "Since I signed last season, Aber has been a great club not just on the pitch but off it as well, so when Corbs rang me and said he wants to re-sign me it was a no brainer. I can’t wait to get going again and push for that top 6 and more - we’re a young team and we’re always improving".
A stranger to nobody at Park Avenue, Mathew Jones returns for a fifth season in Black & Green having already amassed well over 100 club appearances. A consistent starter throughout his four years with us, Matty made 26 appearances in 2020/21, finding the net 3 times as chief penalty taker. Having now completed his 3-year Aberystwyth University Scholarship, Matty can't wait to push himself and the club forwards.
He told us: "Overall, last season was definitely an underachievement for the team but with a season full of ups and downs on and off the pitch, personally and as a team, it was a good feeling to not finish in the bottom 2.
Having spoken to Corbs, I was always keen to sign back as I want to see the club back in the top 6. My ambition is to see us go to Europe given I have amazing memories of watching the club compete at that level as a young fan.
After three years completing the Aber Uni scholarship, I really want to push on and help get Aber to where we should be - competing with every team in the league".
A very warm welcome back to both - Green Army, keep an eye out for more retentions and some new faces arriving for the 2021/22 campaign!