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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Thursday, 10 February 2011

Dave Challinor's Colwyn Bay promotion dream

By Aled Williams

Dave Challinor
Challinor in familiar pose during his Tranmere days

Mention Dave Challinor and you are likely to recall a player who once held the world record for football's longest throw.

The then Tranmere player earned his place in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 with a throw of 46.35m, beating Andy Legg's record.

Now Challlinor is making a name for himself as player-manager of Evo-Stik Premier Division side Colwyn Bay.

Under his leadership, the Seagulls are currently second in the table having gained promotion last season.

Challinor is hoping to earn a reputation for himself in management in the same way he did with his throwing exploits with Tranmere Rovers.

Rovers made the most of Challinor's talent so much that opposition teams would refuse to offer him a towel to dry his hands at away games.

"It's something that's loomed over me throughout my career," says Challinor of his throwing feats.

"If that's how people remember me, that's fine

"At the time it got a lot of media coverage because we put teams under pressure and we scored goals.

"It went a little out of fashion then all of a sudden with Rory Delap and Stoke in the Premiership it's back in the spotlight.

"It's a way of causing problems and another set-piece situation and throughout the leagues set-pieces are vital.

"I still use it a little bit. I think I'm paying the price now for thousands of throw-ins throughout my career and I'm struggling a little bit with shoulder problems.

"I was fortunate to be part of a successful side which had very good cup runs and got to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the League Cup," he said of his time at Tranmere. "They're memories I treasure."

After leaving the Wirral-based club in 2002, he played for Stockport County and Bury before injury forced him to leave the professional game in 2008.

It was later in 2008 that he joined Colwyn Bay, who were then a mid-table side in Division One North of the Northern Premier League.

That season, under manager Neil Young, the Bay reached the play-offs only to lose to Newcastle Blue Star on penalties in the semi-final.

You go into the player-manager thing and you try and do as much as possible, I probably do too much certainly when I'm playing,
Dave Challinor

But a year later, with Challinor as captain, the north Wales side went one step further and secured a play-off final against Lancaster City.

Challinor himself played his own part in securing the win at a rain-soaked Lancaster, which saw the Bay return to the Evo-Stik Premier Division following a six-year absence.

With five minutes remaining the visitors were awarded a penalty and the skipper was called upon to sweep the penalty spot clear of surface water to allow Ian Sheridan to slot home.

However within weeks of the play-off triumph manager Young left the club to take over at newly-formed Chester FC.

With a managerial vacancy to fill, the Colwyn Bay board turned to the inexperienced Challinor.

Challinor describes his first season in charge as 'enjoyable' although that is no surprise as the Seagulls are currently second in the table.

He had to overcome some major obstacles when he took over, with a number of key players following Young to the Deva Stadium.

"The start of the season was difficult as we didn't have a squad of players together," said the Bay boss, who added experienced former pros such as Jon Newby, Damien Allen and Michael Lea to his squad.

"But we've managed to do that now and we've got a squad who can compete."

Colwyn Bay have never finished higher than sixth in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, a feat achieved in the 1993/94 season.

With FC Halifax Town currently top of the Premier Division and favourites to secure promotion, Challinor has targeted a spot in the end of season play-offs.

"We're under no false pretences how tough it's going to be, but if you can get yourself in the shake-up then anything can happen in the final two games," he added.

"It's a situation that I feel our lads will be more comfortable with from last year.

"We've got more lads who have played league football which will hopefully stand us in good stead as the season finishes."

Challinor himself has played his part on the pitch this season, although an ankle injury during the win over FC Halifax last month means he is now restricted to the dug-out.

"You go into the player-manager thing and you try and do as much as possible, I probably do too much certainly when I'm playing," said the 35-year old.

"The injury I've had has been a good and bad thing as it's allowed me to stand at the side and watch and see things in a different light.

"It's made me aware, although we've done ok, that my experience is needed.

"As it stands we'll see how it goes and I'm hopeful to be back fit in a couple of weeks.

"Hopefully I won't be needed for the run-in but my experience could be vital and if needed, I'll use it."

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see also
Colwyn Bay name Challinor as boss
28 May 10 |  Welsh
Challinor's long throw masterclass
14 Nov 08 |  Football
Challinor makes Bury switch
30 Jun 04 |  Bury
Lancaster City 0-1 Colwyn Bay
01 May 10 |  Welsh

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