Naomi Watts and Osian Roberts backing Anglesey's island games

Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts has starred in Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams and The Impossible

Osian Roberts has been lauded as the unsung hero of Wales' achievements in reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Roberts has been a key member of Wales' coaching staff under Gary Speed, Chris Coleman and current boss Ryan Giggs.

He is also the Football Association of Wales Trust's technical director.

But before his work with the national side, Roberts was manager of Anglesey's Island Games football team between 1993 and 2007.

The Island Games are an international multi-sports event and Roberts returns to his native island this week as it plays host to 16 men's and women's teams from across the globe.

"The people of Ynys Mon are going to see a fantastic, competitive tournament," Roberts said.

"Our players won't just be representing Ynys Mon - they'll be representing Wales too."

Gibraltar will host this year's multi-sports Island Games in July, but football, which has been a fixture of the Games since its first edition in 1985, has been dropped.

Lack of venues meant Gibraltar could not stage the football tournaments, so Ynys Mon will be hosting an Inter Games football tournament.

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Island teams ready for home tournament

Tournament ambassador Roberts has spoken fondly of his time in charge and his impact on football on the island is still appreciated to this day.

"When Osian came in he was like a breath of fresh air," said current men's team manager Campbell Harrison, a member of Ynys Mon's 1999 winning team.

"It culminated in the gold medal in 1999. We had a fantastic group of lads and we beat the Isle of Man 1-0 in the final.

"But we'd won silver in Jersey two years before that and we won another silver two years later in the Isle of Man.

"He made a big impact. He has shown you can go from that level all the way right to the top and being involved in the Welsh squad and being the Welsh FA's technical director.

"He's inspired a lot of people to become coaches and put a pathway in for people to be able to climb up the coaching ladder."

The Hollywood star

Support for the tournament has also come from a more unlikely source, two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts.

Watts spent part of her childhood on the island and attended school in Llangefni and is president of Glantraeth Football Club, one of the 11 clubs hosting games in the tournament.

"I just wanted to wish everyone the best of luck and I hope the games go well and everyone has fun," Watts said.

"Wales is just such a special place in my heart."

'12th man'

Harrison's side kick off the competition against the Western Isles in Holyhead on Sunday, 16 June before group games against Orkney and Jersey.

"The main thing is to do as best as we can," Harrison added.

"If we have a little bit of luck along the way you never know what can happen.

Ynys Mon men's team
Ynys Mon's men's team finished in eighth placed at the 2017 Island Games

"But we will be prepared, work hard and with the 12th man of the Anglesey people behind us that we might be able to medal. That would be a real great achievement.

"The top teams are the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey and they're playing regularly in representative games that we don't.

"Our preparations have been as good as can be, but they have a little bit more of an advantage than us at this stage."


Karen Williams was a member of the Ynys Mon side which played in the first women's tournament at the 2001 Island Games in the Isle of Man.

Williams is manager of a team which includes Wales international goalkeeper Nicola Davies and they face the Western Isles and the Norwegian island of Hitra in their group.

Gibraltar, Jersey and the Isle of Man are the other teams in the competition.

"Being the home island everyone is going to be looking at us to do well," Williams said.

Ynys Mon women's team
Ynys Môn women's team have appeared at the Island Games on four previous occasions

"We've selected the best squad that we can this year. We've been in a privileged situation that we've had a large number of girls to select from.

"Selection has been tougher, but we've got the best squad that we can put out and we're hoping we can go out, do what we do and do quite well from there.

"We haven't done too well in previous games for various reasons so this is the opportunity for us to bring all those good players together."

Williams hopes the tournament and the current Women's World Cup finals in France will inspire aspiring young footballers on the island.

"The timing has been perfect with the World Cup and the TV coverage is going to give us a boost in terms of spectators for our fixtures," Williams added.

"Hopefully we will get a lot of youngsters coming to have a look and seeing some of these girls playing they can see there are opportunities out there for them.

"There's a lot of interest and a lot of players that want to play."