Powys border football fan’s high hopes for Caribbean club

THE Powys border is a long way from the Caribbean.

Yet one football fan from Minsterley has managed to bridge 4,429 mile gap by becoming the media officer for a club in Anguilla.

Gareth Thomas covers hundreds of miles every season as an avid groundhopper.

He is also promoting the cause of Uprising Football Club in Anguilla despite the geographical hurdles.

Gareth used to play for Shifnal Town in the West Midlands League until injury ended his career prematurely.

However his love for the game remained undiminished and five years ago began groundhopping around the West Midlands, Shropshire and mid Wales.

Gareth Thomas.

He said: “Groundhopping is a brilliant hobby and is something that I wish I had started doing sooner than I did. I thoroughly enjoy my hobby which has also helped me to fulfill another hobby in my life – writing.

“As a child I can remember writing letters to our local newspaper in Shropshire and to the brilliant Roy of the Rovers magazine about lots of different football related issues.

“My passion for writing about the beautiful game has stayed with me for my entire life.”

This led to the founding of his own online blog – Gareth’s Football Travels which includes history pieces, club profiles and program reviews.

However it is the player profile series which led Gareth to his connection with Uprising FC via German football fan Pascal Panitzsch.

Gareth said: “During a conversation we had on twitter in September 2020, Pascal told me that he was the secretary for Uprising FC in Anguilla.

“He informed me that the club were looking for a media officer and to my immense surprise and delight he asked me if I would fulfill the role.

“Now, it has always been a dream for me to work in some sort of capacity for a football club, but never did I think in my wildest dreams that an opportunity would come with a club based in the Caribbean and just a month short of my 40th birthday. ”

So began a love affair with Uprising FC.

County Times: Uprising FC.

Uprising FC.

The club’s name was chosen by the core group of players who helped form the club in 2015.

Since those early days the club has progressed very well and in 2020 were crowned as the Anguilla FA Development League Champions, the first piece of silverware in the club’s short history.

Gareth said: “We at Uprising FC are a very ambitious club and we are aiming to be the top club in Anguilla within the next two to three years.

“When you consider that several of our players at the club have already played for Anguilla at international level, the most recent player being our 16-year-old midfielder Javis Jones, there is no reason as to why we cannot fulfill that ambition.

“Within the last 18 months we have started selling official club merchandise which includes and amongst other things official shirts, training tops and pin badges.

“We have also seen seen rapid growth on our social media platforms. This is great news for us as it means that more and more people around the world are getting to hear about us.”

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