Sean Eardley admits it was an emotional moment when he was appointed the new manager of Caernarfon Town FC earlier this season.
When Iwan Williams moved on to take charge at Welsh Premier League Llandudno, Eardley stepped up from assistant manager to take the number one job at the Oval.
The Cofis have suffered only one defeat in three months since then – against TNS in the Welsh Cup – and Eardley told the club’s media team he was buzzing, excited and honoured’ driving home after accepting the role.
Caernarfon are Alliance leaders and on course to earn promotion to the Welsh Premier League. They have nine fixtures left and travel to play struggling FC Queens Park this Saturday.
Llandudno-born Eardley, whose brother Neal plays for Lincoln City, talked about his journey home after taking the job, saying: “I was buzzing and excited for the challenge ahead, not to mention honoured to lead such a big club within the Welsh system.
“The players have been unbelievable. I received messages off every single player when I took over wishing me the best and I’ll never forget that.
“I’ve got to know the players more on a personal level and I know that if things are good in work and at home they excel on the football pitch. That balance is crucial.
“We are honest post match and in training. If there are any issues, a line is drawn and it’s down to business again. They’re fantastic to work with to be fair.”
Eardley has a victory celebration – the ‘Eards Dive’ – which involves running and throwing himself full length to slide across the playing surface.
“Is that what it has been called?” he said. “Hopefully it will catch on. I started it with a friend in Australia, took it everywhere to bene honest including nights out.
“Sometimes you can’t hide your emotion so that’s how I show it on occasion.”
Caernarfon supporters have a tribute song for their manager – aintnobody – and he said: “I love it. Bethan, one of the directors, says she can’t watch the Thomson Holidays advert and not sing along to it!”
The Canaries have had attendances of 1,100 against Barry Town in the welsh Cup and 1,200 for their Boxing Day win against Porthmadog.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the supporters, they have been fantastic with me,” says Eardley. “They follow our team all over Wales and the players are fully appreciative of their support along with my management team. I hope we can bring them success in the near future.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute. Each week has been different and thrown up different challenges, but it’s what we get involved for.
“We have a lot of work ahead, but keeping the boys motivated and on top of their game is what I’m focussed on over the next couple of months. We’re in it together and are all raring to go!”
While Eardley’s Canaries focus on their run-in, Flint Town United have advanced to the Huws Gray Cup semi-finals. They won a hard fought Flintshire derby at Airbus Broughton 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ieuan Hewitt goal after 32 minutes.
Rhyl have been eliminated from the Huws Gray Cup after a disciplinary hearing found them guilty of playing an ineligible player at Llandudno Junction, who have been reinstated in the competition.
Rhyl have the right to appeal to the Football Association of Wales.
Cup semi-finals: Llandudno Junction (or Rhyl) v Gresford Athletic or Penrhyncoch, Porthmadog/Guilsfield or Holyhead Hotspur v Flint Town United.
A number of fixtures were postponed because of the bad weather last weekend and only one league fixture was played.
Ruthin Town won 4-1 against Rhyl in the lone match to go ahead.
Llyr Morris, the Alliance leading scorer, took his tally to 24 goals by firing a hat-trick for Ruthin after Will Owen had put them ahead.
Rhyl’s consolation goal was netted by Alun Webb after 89 minutes.
Huws Gray Alliance fixtures this weekend:
Friday, February 16: Airbus Broughton v Ruthin Town (7.30pm).
Saturday, February 17: FC Queens Park v Caernarfon Town (2pm), Gresford Athletic v Holyhead Hotspur (2pm), Llandudno Junction v Guilsfield (2pm), Flint Town United v Caersws (2.30pm), Penrhyncoch v Denbigh Town (2.30pm), Porthmadog v Holywell Town (2.30pm).
HUWS GRAY ALLIANCE 2017/18
|11||Flint Town United||19||7||3||9||34||29||5||24|
|14||FC Queens Park||18||1||2||15||17||68||-51||5|