News & notes: Tuesday 16 June

Heart-warming stories seem few and far between in sport and general life at the moment, and the news of Danny Gosset’s new contract with Bala Town for next season has been a welcome reprieve from the confusion and anger that surrounds us.

For those unaware, Gosset was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (a form of blood cancer) a year ago after the club’s alert physio Ffiona Evans advised the 25 year-old midfielder to undergo further tests following a femur injury.

After months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and scans, Danny was told in January that the the disease was in complete remission. Further good news followed last week when Danny was told the break in his femur has now completely healed and was given the go-ahead to restart training.

Following the news, the club were quick to inform Danny that he remains very much part of their plans as they prepare for the new season.

“He can now resume normal training, however because his leg has been out of use for so long he’s got to get the rehab back into his femur,” explained Bala boss Colin Caton, who hopes Gosset can be pushing to return to fitness for the start of next season.

“He’s got to build his leg muscle up and he’s hoping to be competitive once the pre-season games are here, however if he doesn’t make the first pre-season games he’ll definitely, all being well, be fit for the start of the season which will be a massive relief for everybody concerned.

“The muscles have grown back well and it’s brilliant to have him back. Everybody has stuck by him, his strength and his belief carried the lads to such a good season as well.

“We all had a great bond and it’s fantastic to have him with us and it’s going to be like having a brand new signing. I can’t wait to work with him again and I am really looking forward to that. I’m expecting big things from Danny and what a story it’s going to be when he gets back out on that pitch!”

Gosset meanwhile was understandably emphatic about being able to re-sign for the club. “I’m over the moon to be getting back to it and being amongst such a fantastic group of lads. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity, it will be a very special moment for me when the time comes to step out onto the football pitch again. I can’t wait to help the team out on the pitch in whatever way I can and strengthen an already very strong squad and hopefully repay the club for all the brilliant support and faith they’ve had in me over the last season,” he told the club’s official site.

“There’s a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be but I’m looking forward to the process and working alongside Ffiona who is such a fantastic physio,” he added.

Like everyone else in Welsh football, I’m eagerly awaiting Danny’s return and wish him well with his return to fitness.

The waiting should finally be over tomorrow (Wednesday). That is date believed that the FAW are expected to announce the National League Board’s final decision around promotion and relegation in the Cymru Leagues.

No confirmed details will be known until the Board have have made their decision, but sources continue to suggest that there will be promotion but no relegation from the Cymru Premier resulting in a temporary 14-team top-flight which will be reduced back to 12 clubs after two seasons.

The news is expected to confirm the end of Flint Town United’s 23-year absence from the Cymru Premier, or League of Wales as it was called then, as well as the return of Haverfordwest County, who have declared bold ambitions, under their new owner.

The outcome of tomorrow’s expected decision will also have a significant on Tiers 2 and below where it remains to be seen how many clubs will be competing in each particular league.

The decision is eagerly anticipated by clubs, not least those who remain unclear of what level they’ll be competing in next season and are trying to plan accordingly. As I’ve mentioned previously, this continues to be a source of frustration for clubs who feel that they missed out on potential signings due to the uncertainty of what league they’ll be in next season.

Meanwhile, the FAW has its sights set on identifying a start date to the new season. It is recognised that the Cymru Leagues will need to overcome a number of challenges if it is to resume, notably whether Welsh Government directives will enable matches to be played in front of small crowds.

A number of clubs have privately expressed concerns around the lack of income from playing behind closed doors and the FAW’s chief executive Jonathan Ford told Senedd members that with social distancing measures in place, “playing in front of small crowds could and should be permitted.”

A recap of recent news and notes from around the Cymru Leagues

No strangers to a managerial reshuffle, Aberystwyth Town have formally appointed Gavin Allen as manager.

Allen was assistant manager last season and has not entirely coincidentally recently been accepted onto the FAW Pro Licence course. As part of that reshuffle, Matthew Bishop (last season’s manager) has accepted a ‘Football Consultant’ role within the club while Antonio Corbisiero becomes assistant manager. Bari Morgan, who manages the club’s successful Under-19 team, will take on a dual-role also acting as first-team coach.

As statement from Gavin Allen said: “I am absolutely delighted to be named Manager for the coming season, and I am especially grateful to my new management team who I know are as passionate as myself when it comes to achieving success for this club.

We’re already in talks with some really exciting players to welcome into our football family for next season; all of whom our fans should recognise and be wholeheartedly proud to support. Watch this space!”

Barry Town United have announced Gavin Chesterfield has signed a new two-year deal to remain at Jenner Park.

Chesterfield, who has steered the club from Tier 4 and into Europe, in his 450-plus games in charge, said: “I’m genuinely honoured to sign a new deal with the club. Going into my 14th season we have grown immeasurably together. The future looks exciting both on and off the field and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Cefn Druids are expected to become the next Cymru Premier club to make a managerial announcement. As I revealed last month, the club are understood to have shortlisted two foreign-based candidates as with their next appointed expected to be a foreign-based manager.

Speaking to The Leader’s Tom Norris, Druids chairman Des Williams offered more insight on the club’s new direction. In that article, Williams suggests the club will look to produce and develop players for full-time clubs in the region, including Cymru Premier rivals The New Saints and Connah’s Quay. It is clear that the club’s vision of sustainability is through being the ‘best of the rest’ and their target will be to compete more on par with the likes of the league’s semi-professional European challengers such as Bala and Barry Town moving forward.

Caernarfon Town have been one of the busiest clubs to date during this off-period in terms of personnel changes. The club have picked up two proven Cymru Premier players in striker Mike Hayes and goalkeeper Josh Tibbets. Although Huw Griffiths hasn’t completely ruled out hopes of star midfielder Leo Smith signing a new deal at the club, Bala Town, Connah’s Quay and The New Saints are all keen on the highly-rated 22 year-old, with the latter believed to be favourites to sign him.

Smith would follow in the footsteps of Alex Ramsay and Jamie Breese, who have both departed The Oval of late. Ramsay makes the switch to Bala Town while Jamie Breese looks a good fit up-front for Newtown, who also picked up former midfielder George Hughes over the weekend.

In my next post, I’ll post and maintain a list of all the Cymru Premier changes so far.

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