Nathan Thomas - selects best Merlins Bridge squad over the last 20 years

Merlins Bridge celebrate winning a first ever West Wales Cup in 2019


Thanks to Nathan Thomas who has agreed to pick his best team from players who have donned the Merlins Bridge jersey over the past 20 years.

Nathan Thomas 2010 League knows only too well that Nathan was a no-nonsense central midfielder who gave everything for the cause for The Wizards.

A modest individual who has not picked himself in the squad, but there is not a shadow of doubt that he really should be included as he was a regular and has skippered and managed his beloved Merlins Bridge AFC. He has even cut the grass, maintaining the pitch at the Racecourse.

It is fair to say that he was the heartbeat for The Wizards over last couple of decades, enjoying league and cup glory during his time.

Thomas was a born leader, playing alongside his twin brothers Simon and Peter. He was never one to shirk any responsibilities, both on and off the pitch,and it’s fair to say he has given blood, sweat and tears over many seasons for The Wizards.

Nathan really enjoyed his time playing under Matthew Price and Peter ‘Turkey’ Jones when he was in the team who won two league titles in three seasons.

Nathan has picked the fantastic, late, likeable character Derek Roberts as manager. He told a lovely tale about the former successful Wizards boss.

Nathan Thomas celebrates 2017 Senior Cup success with son Cai“I remember we were going on an awful run, losing at least three or four games on the bounce. Morale was low and we needed a boost from somewhere. I got in touch with Derek and asked him if he would give us a team talk before our next game at the Racecourse.

"He agreed to do that and was a man of his word as I had not told any of the boys. On the day of the match the boys were getting changed when in walked Derek as cool as you like, with his umbrella in hand. He sat everyone down and gave the most stirring pre-match team talk I have ever heard.

"I looked around the changing room and I could literally see the boys all chomping at the bit to get out on the pitch and break our losing streak. Guess what? It worked as I think we won 5-1.

"What a top gentleman Derek was, and he is sorely missed by everyone at the club.”

Brothers Simon, Nathan and Peter celebrate 2012 league joy

Here’s Nathan’s squad plus manager.

Gary has helped the club to win a few trophies over the years and he loves a penalty shootout! Gary is closely followed by Chris Wilson who made the best save I have ever seen as a Bridge player. That save down the Obs. I wonder how many people can remember it?!

His ankle has hampered him over the past two seasons, but he consistently performs in the big games. A great club man and not a bad manager!

Better known for playing in midfield and his preferred position, but I always felt his best position was centre bac., He is also strong at right back and a very versatile player who has won several trophies with the club.

Our existing club captain – who has lifted a few trophies for the club. Whenever he plays, he gives 110% and has a never say die attitude. 'Ormy' has been the most consistent player for The Wizards in the past 20 years.

Started his career at the Bridge on the wing and known for his strength and quick acceleration in his younger years. Was always exciting to watch and we felt something would happen as soon as he had the ball. During his later years he moved to left back and was always calm and composed on the ball.

He was my midfield partner throughout my youth days and for a couple of seasons at senior level. Great all-round player and I loved playing with him.

Another very good all-round player. Strong in the air, strong in the tackle, scores goals and will run all day.

By far the most talented and quickest player I have ever played with. He was selected in the Welsh Premier Dream TEAM when he was at Haverfordwest County. Known for his blistering pace as a youngster was always exciting to watch. Gave quite a few right backs nightmares during his career.

Probably better as a striker but can also play on the right. Been at the Bridge for a couple of seasons now and always performs in the big games. Scored twice in the West Wales Intermediate Cup final last year. Adam’s work rate is second to none and he is constantly putting the opposition defence under pressure.

Nabsy's scoring record at the Bridge in his prime was incredible. Very quick off the mark and could create a goal out of nothing. Helped myself and the club win three league titles. Still a good friend and scoring 30-yard goals for me in the seconds.

I managed to sign Joe in my first year as manager and incredibly he scored 50 goals in competitive games. He scored a hat-trick against Angle in the last ten minutes when we were 1-0 down and we won the game 3-1. Incredibly, he scored twice in the last ten minutes of the Senior Cup final year.  He also scored in the Senior Cup final when I was manager to help us lift the trophy.




LUKE HAYWARD – Again very unlucky not to be in the first eleven. He played for the county for a couple of consecutive years which shows how well he is respected by other managers.

MATTHEW PRICE – Unlucky not to be in the starting line-up. One of the best goal scorers in the Pembrokeshire League. He scored the winning penalty in the Jubilee Cup this year at the age of 44, I think.

SEAN JONES – Grew up with Sean and won a lot of trophies with him. He was a very versatile player, loved a tackle and a red card! Captained Newcastle Emlyn under Matthew Price in the Welsh League.

Derek Roberts 

He gave me my debut down the Obs at 16. Every player had so much respect for him - and rightly so because he was a top man!

Nathan added: "There are a lot of names that could have easily made this team.
"Players of the calibre of brothers Wayne and Chris O’Sullivan, Terry McCombe, Mike Preddy and Richard Hughes to name but a few.
"In my humble opinion they did not play long enough for The Wizards to be in contention. I am pretty sure the O’Sullivan brothers would not want to be in the Bridge 11 mind!"

Joe Leahy presses forward for The Wizards at Pennar