With the newly-promoted Tier Two clubs long since confirmed, we’ve decided to help you get to know each of the new sides you’ll be seeing competing in the JD Cymru North and South from next term, and today we’re getting to know Holywell Town!
We caught up with their manager, Johnny Haseldin, recently to learn more about his side’s promotion to Tier Two, his expectations for the coming season and more!
The Manager – Johnny Haseldin
Going into his ninth season as manager of the Wellmen, and having taking charge of the club for almost 300 games now, Johnny Haseldin is Mr Holywell Town. He’s won over 60% of his matches in charge of the club and led them to some significant scalps in league and cup competitions over his many years in charge, and is now looking forward to one of his biggest challenges, as he looks to re-establish the club in the second tier of Welsh football.
Holywell Town Factfile
Home venue: Halkyn Road
Club Captain: James Graham
Key Players: Dylan Allshorn, Jake Cooke, Danny Andrews
Incomings: Danny Sullivan, Sam Kersh, Luke Wiltshire, Dave Forbes, Danny Andrews
Interesting Fact: In 2014/15, the Wellmen secured a domestic treble, winning Welsh Alliance Division One, the FAW Trophy and the Mawddach Cup
“I’ve become very emotionally attached to the club.”
After many years of service to a club he has watched and supported since a young age, it is clear to see the affinity Haseldin has for Holywell Town.
As with any long-term project, there have been highs and lows for Haseldin in his time at the helm of the Halkyn Road club, but he wants to bring more success to a club and community that has become a big part of his life.
“I remember a linesman telling me once that I was too passionate and that was my biggest weakness! I am very passionate about the club, I don’t think I’d commit to anywhere else as I have done here.
“I’ve got a good relationship with the supporters and the people around the town, you know, and that’s a big part of why I’ve committed myself to the club as I have.
“I remember watching the club from a young age in the former League of Wales, and I’ve become very emotionally attached to the club. I’ve fully enjoyed my time here and want to bring more success to the club.”
“We’re in a good, strong position … to have a good go this year.”
As will be true of all promoted teams, confidence at Halkyn Road is running high as they took the top spot in their Tier 3 league last term and booked a place in the JD Cymru North – immediately bouncing back from relegation the previous year.
Whilst not going as far as Darren Garmey of Holyhead Hotspur – who we recently spoke to and said relegation for his side was maybe a blessing in disguise – Haseldin alludes to the experience of last season in Tier Three benefitting him and his side.
“We honestly can’t wait to get going. We’ve been promoted to the league before, and we’ve been relegated from that level before obviously, but there is a real fire in my stomach to make sure that doesn’t happen and we’re not in that position again, and I can’t wait for the fixtures to come out.
“The first time we were promoted to Tier 2, I think the first five games were ridiculously challenging, playing the likes of Caernarfon away and so on, and I’m honestly hoping for something similar this time because we want to play those big games and take the confidence from last season to have a good go at it this year.
“I think we’re ready – we know we’ve got it all to do to establish ourselves back in the league, but I feel like we’re in a good, strong position, to come back to Tier 2 and have a good go at it this year.”
“We can’t wait to get going again.”
So what is the aim for the new season? With managers and players moving from club to club and a lot of change seemingly taking place in the JD Cymru North once again, is Haseldin setting his sights high?
“We’ve got to be realistic, of course, as we and Holyhead and Llanidloes are coming into the league and our priority as a club is to stay in the league and re-establish ourselves – I’d never want to put the club through what we’ve just been through last year again.
“You never know how it is going to go, we can’t predict that, and we don’t know how the fixtures will turn out, but for me the way we’re going to succeed is by taking it game by game, setting targets and start the season well. We can’t wait to get going again, but we won’t be looking too far ahead.
“Every win means as much to me as the next one, and that’s our target for this year, to take that momentum from last season, have a good pre-season and start the reason really well – that has to be a priority for us.”
We caught up with Johnny Haseldin for an episode of our 'Getting to Know' series on the JD Cymru Leagues Podcast recently. Hear more from him and learn a little bit more about one of the newest members of the JD Cymru North by clicking to listen to the podcast below!
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