Beaten 25-0, but boss backs his football team :
THE manager of a Llandudno football team trounced 25-0 in a local derby on Saturday has defended his players after national press coverage mocked them.
Rhys Lane, 33, boss of Llandudno Athletic in Division One of the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Football League, oversaw their crushing rout at the hands of local rivals Llandudno United.
He said he was keen to set the record straight after his side’s 25-goal reverse made the national press.
“One of the lads from the other team was apparently contacted by the Daily Mail but there was nothing for our side,” said Rhys, from Llandudno.
“Most of the lads want to forget about it and move on. We had 16 under-18 players and one walked off after 15 minutes because he didn’t fancy it.”
Rhys, who is a supervisor for Topline Digital which installs Sky TV, said the player in question had just scored an own goal to give United a three-goal cushion.
Rhys, who takes the ribbing in good part, accepts the closest his side might get to Sky TV is his job, but it’s not about the glory.
“We all enjoy football and we know we are not the best team in the world but they don’t stop trying.
“It’s about a group of lads getting together on a Saturday afternoon and doing what we enjoy doing - that’s playing football.”
It seems Saturday’s match was a perfect storm against the league’s third placed side.
Rhys, who stands six feet five inches tall and weighs in at 23 stones, started the match in goal due to a lack of numbers but was soon drafted into midfield due to another player’s injury.
“If you count me we had nine men,” he joked. “It was 10-0 at half-time. We collapsed a bit in the second half!”
Yet, along with a note of defiance for his side, whose average age was 18 years old at the weekend, Rhys got in an oppor- tunist plug for new recruits.
“They are a bunch of committed lads and we will be there every week, no matter what.
“If anybody wants to come and join us, we train between 8-9pm every Wednesday evening at John Brights’ leisure centre.
“Anyone interested is more than welcome to come along.”
Despite their lowly position the side, which has been cruelly dubbed Llandudno Un-Athletic, has made a fist of things in some matches this season.
Most notably, with only nine goals to their credit in 13 league matches this campaign, they were six minutes away from gaining a draw in a vital basement battle with second-frombottom Betws-y-Coed in October.
Sadly an 84th minute strike by Tom Cassey broke Athletic hearts after a spirited comeback from three-nil down.
Their league record reads, played 13, lost 13, goals scored nine, goals conceded 131.
Rhys, ever the pragmatist, admitted his side might not be blessed with enough raw talent to pose a threat to the leaders this term, but it has potential.
“We are short of a bit of quality in our side but we have got some good young players,” he said.
Rhys Lane (and inset) with the Llandudno Athletic team hammered 25-0 at the weekend