AN EX-Colwyn Bay player and manager has released his autobiography, chronicling his time at the club, at his boyhood side, Liverpool, his battle with an incurable heart condition, and much more.

Jon Newby joined Colwyn Bay before the start of the 2010-11 season, following the club’s promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

He went to score the goal which secured a second successive promotion for the Seagulls in May 2011, in a 1-0 win against FC United of Manchester which sealed the club’s place in the Conference North.

Jon, who was also part of the Colwyn Bay side which won the North Wales Coast FA Challenge Cup Winners, then become player-manager in November 2011 following boss Dave Challinor’s departure to AFC Fylde.

He spent 15 months in the job, and has spent the last seven years back at Liverpool, working for the club’s academy initially as a coach and now in its player recruitment department.


He has now penned his autobiography, “Addicted to Football: A Journey from Anfield to Almost Everywhere”, which was released on Monday (March 28).

Looking back on his time at the club, Jon said: “I remember reading a non-league paper on the way to North Ferriby, our first away game that season, and we were favourites to go down.

“But in the dressing room, we knew we had really good players and team spirit. We wanted to prove people wrong.

“We probably gained 10 to 12 points that season on team spirit alone; we were so prepared to fight for each other because we all got on so well.

“Fortunately, it was me that got the goal against FC United. It was such an enjoyable season to play in. The challenge cup was just after we got promotion as well, so it was a bit of a party week for us.”

Making the transition to player-manager, Jon added, was difficult, not least because of the lack of resources at non-league clubs, but it certainly whetted his appetite for coaching.

He went on to reunite with Dave Challinor at AFC Fylde, who he worked under as a first team coach, before taking on a coaching role with Liverpool’s academy before transitioning to the recruitment department.

He said: “At non-league clubs, you don’t have a backroom staff of 10 people doing things for you; you’re doing everything because that’s what your budget allows.

“I always remember my first game, away at Blyth Spartans: I had no assistant manager or physio, and we were 1-0 down after two minutes to an own goal.

“That sums up the way it was as manager of a club like Colwyn Bay. It was enjoyable at times, but it was tough; you were too immersed in the whole situation.

“It was a real eye-opener for me going into management at that level. I’d have loved to stay in the job, or to have had a go at managing somewhere else. But when an opportunity comes to work full-time at a club like Liverpool, it was too good an opportunity for me to turn down.”

It was a return to the club where he started his playing career, who Jon joined as a nine-year-old, and the first of 15 sides he went on to represent.

Yet despite living a childhood dream of playing in front of the Kop, Jon, who made four first team Liverpool appearances including one in the Premier League, was unsentimental about leaving Anfield behind as a player.

He said: “It’s the club I supported all my life, and then all of a sudden, you’re running out in front of the Kop.

“It was like a dream come true. There were some really memorable highlights- playing for the first team, winning the FA Youth Cup. But eventually, you have to move on to go and earn a living in the game somewhere else.

“It was the right time for me to go. I was maybe 21, and I wasn’t emotional about leaving, because I knew that, to play for Liverpool every week, you’ve got to be unbelievably good.

“I was just short of that. I was a good player, but not quite at the level to play in the Premier League every week. it was the right time for me to leave Liverpool.”

Jon also writes about living with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), which causes irregular heart rhythms with could potentially be life-threatening.

Now, Jon is fitted with an internal defibrillator, and though he says he considers it more of a mental battle than physical, he stressed just how crucial it showed the equipment which “saves my life” to be.

Indeed, statistics have shown that, if a defibrillator is used within the first minute of a victim collapsing, the survival rate can be as high as 90 per cent.

For every minute it takes for the defibrillator to reach someone and deliver a shock, their chances of survival reduce.

He added: “I was playing for Warrington and had a few dizzy spells during training. Eventually, I moved into amateur football and started collapsing on the pitch during games.

“No-one could find anything wrong with me for about three of four years and eventually, I was sent to a specialist in London who deals with cardiac conditions within athletes and sportspeople.

“Eventually, I was diagnosed with ARVC and had heart surgery, and was fitted with an internal defibrillator. That will be something that I’ll live with for the rest of my life.

“It’s tougher mentally than it is physically. I’m used to having the defibrillator in my chest. There are people far worse off than me; I’ve never been the type who’s going to sulk about it.

“You’ve got to adjust and get on with things. If I could play football, I’d go and play tomorrow.

“It shows how important defibrillators are – when it shocks me, it saves my life, or prevents me having a cardiac arrest. It’s the difference between life and death, without doubt.”


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“Addicted to Football: A Journey from Anfield to Almost Everywhere” is available now via Pitch Publishing.

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