AS THIS is my first column of 2019, I would like to wish you all a happy new year, and what a great start is has been thanks to Newport County AFC’s fantastic giant-killing win over Leicester City.

I was privileged to be there, having been kindly invited by the club, along with several colleagues who are regular attendees.

Congratulations must be given to the team for putting up such a fine performance and holding their nerve during a nail-biting game.

All those who watched the game were incredibly proud of their efforts and well done to the crowd who gave such sterling support.

Once again Newport proved itself an excellent host for a big sporting occasion and I want to wish them all the best for the next round of the FA Cup.

This time of year tends to be a time of reflection on the 12 months just gone and looking forward to what is to come over the next 12.

While many challenges for the city remain, there are clear signs of confidence in Newport with considerable investment and new industries being established in the city.

Just a few of the positive stories for last year included the establishment of the IQE foundry in Newport, part of a semi-conductor cluster in the region, and the expansion of Cardiff University’s prestigious National Software Academy.

Both these projects, and others, are contributing to our projective of making the city a digital hub.

I’m sure we will see more exciting projects being announced, progressed and completed over the coming year including the opening of the International Convention Centre Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort, due this summer.

As a council, we will be doing all we can to encourage development and investment in the city as that will benefit those who live and work here.

I would also like to see a kinder, more thoughtful dialogue, especially on public platforms such as social media.

Constructive criticism is fine, calculated cruelty is not.

We don’t always get it right but the person who never made a mistake, never made anything.

The important thing is that we learn from those things that don’t go as well as we hoped and build on our many positive achievements.

The good of the city, its residents and businesses are at the heart of everything we do.

I hope that, despite the financial restraints we still face as well as turmoil and uncertainty nationally and internationally, that this year is a good one the City of Newport.