I had seen football in Wales before but never a Welsh League game so it was with anticipation that I drove along the A55 North Wales dual carriageway. The road is a pleasure except on those manic holiday weekends when queues can often cause frustration. There are some huge vistas, castles, sea views, on a late April day Bluebell and yellow splodges of gorse and to finish off Snowdonia.
Llandudno F.C.’s ground was on the edge of an industrial estate behind the town centre and the game was against Llangefni in the Cymru North League which is the second tier of Welsh football. Only one team is promoted from the Cymru North League along with the winner of the Cymru South League. The game was the last of the season for both teams Langefni sitting near the bottom table and Llandudno in second place but with no chance of catching runaway leaders Airbus UK.
There was ample parking just outside the ground and on entering the brightness of the synthetic pitch hits you first. The pitch was mainly flat with a few undulating areas. The pitch was heavily sanded evident by the amount being kicked up by the players warming up. The weather was glorious with blue skies and a few grey clouds but unless you could shelter from the strong coastal wind it felt chilly.
The OPS Wind Arena has low level seating on three sides with hard standing behind one goal and along the areas where there is no seating. There are one strorey buildings behind the goal and on the sides for changing rooms, administration, bars, food, shop etc. Three of the floodlight poles are also telecommunication antennae which may add to the clubs income along with the multipurpose pitch. The crowd was a good mix of all ages and almost 50/50 males and females.
There is recorded evidence that there was a team in Llangefni in 1882 which like many of the time was born out of religious attendance. The Llangefni Town Football Club was founded 5 years later in in 1897. They initially played in the newly formed Anglesey Football League formed in the same year. nearly 100 years later in 1988 they were promoted to the Gwynedd League. There stay here was nowhere near as long as only two years later after a very successful two years they joined the Tyn Lon Volvo Welsh Alliance League. Their success at this time was emphasised when in 1992 they won the Welsh Intermediate Cup, the only Anglesey club to do so. Keeping up their rapid change saw the advent of the new millennium bring a new ground and another move this time to the Cymru Alliance.
The next highlight for the club was in 2008 when they were promoted to the Welsh Premier league but unfortunately having reached the summit of Welsh football they were relegated the a year later. After nearly getting back into the Premier League by 2012 they were relegated back to the Welsh Alliance and due to organisational problems had to start the 2013 season in the Anglesey league back to where they started. By 2015 their efforts had lead them back to Welsh Alliance Division 1 and 4 years later they went up to the Championship North. So after some very static early years you have to say that more recent times have been quite a roller coaster.
Football in Llandudno started 1878 4 years earlier than Llangefni with a club believed to have been called Gloddaeth Rovers formed out of a cricket club.
A Llandudno team were founder members of the Welsh National League (North) in 1921 but the current team were started in 1988 as Llandudno F.C. moving to their current location in 1991. Since then the team have managed to improve the ground with the seating, covered areas, the floodlights and buildings with disabled access all to Cymru Premier League criteria. All in all a herculean effort topped off in 2014 with the addition of the 3G pitch and a year later promotion to the Welsh Premier League for the first time. The dream continued with a first season 3rd place finish and qualification to the Europa League. Unfortunately ups are often followed by downs and they were relegated to the Cymru North in 2019 where they currently play.
Llandudno F.C. 6 Llangefni F.C. 1
Saturday 22rd April 2022 Kick Off 2.30 pm Last League game of the Cymru North Season
With Snowdonia as a backdrop the teams kicked off and it soon seemed obvious that Llandudno were well on top of the conditions Within 1 minute they were ahead when the Llangefni defence were static appealing for offside that left Toby Jones on his own to easily score past the rooted goalkeeper. I hardly had time to settle in my seat and it was two nil after 9 minutes when Mark Williams deflected a ball into the net despite vociferous appeals from the Llangefni goalkeeper for hand ball.
Players had difficulty taking free kicks or goal kicks as the blustery wind refused to let it stand still. Llandudno showed some skill with long pin point passes often from one side of the field to the other and their defensive dominance enabled their right back to threaten as an extra wide player. On the half hour Llangefni were on the score sheet when Phillips curled a glorious ball into the top left of the net from outside of the goal area. However the home team cemented their dominance when Danny Hughes cut back the ball to the back post for Guto Williams to restore the 2 goal lead. which was maintained until half time.
Llandudno playing against the wind in the second half continued the scoring when 10 minutes into the half their captain stalwart Lee Krusty Thomas who was playing his last game for the club ran on to a pass to smash the ball home. Although
Landudno were already assured of finishing second in the league but they did not sit back and made it five with 15 minutes left when another plyer, Neil Ashton, also making his last game for the club used his left foot to volley a good goal.
Five minutes later Lee Thomas, wearing number 99, was substituted for the last time before his retirement and was clapped off by the crowd of 308.
Marc Williams made it 6 with a few minutes left to end my Welsh League experience.
The chips were cooked to order and were hot, golden and fluffy inside but had a neutral taste gaining a score of 70.