Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon. The country lies within the temperate zone and has a changeable. Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Llywelyn ap Gruffudds death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of Englands conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism, Welsh national feeling grew over the century, Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, two-thirds of the population live in south Wales, mainly in and around Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, and in the nearby valleys. Now that the countrys traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales economy depends on the sector, light and service industries. Wales 2010 gross value added was £45.5 billion, over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the land of song, Rugby union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Celtic Britons in particular, the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales and these words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning fellow-countrymen. The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, in particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to the Welsh. The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century and it is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh, until c.1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of names, Cambrian, Cambric and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales, Welsh
Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1886 and was elected to the Football League in 1950 and it has also competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it six times, a record for an English team. From 1910 onwards, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn, since 2007, they have played at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury Town were formed at a meeting on 20 May 1886 at the Turf Hotel in Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury. This was following the demise of first Shropshire Wanderers and later indirectly after Castle Blues, the Blues were a rough team, leading to their demise after several games were marred by violence. The new team hoped to be as successful but without the notoriety, press reports differ as to the date the new club was formed, The Eddowes Shropshire Journal of 26 May 1886 reported the birth of the club at The Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Chronicle reported the clubs being formed at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill and it may be both accounts are true, with a get-together at The Lion being finalised at the Turf. In 1910, Shrewsbury looked to move to a new ground, having spent early years at locations across the town, the club moved to Gay Meadow on the edge of the town centre, within sight of Shrewsbury Abbey, and stayed 97 years. Shrewsburys Birmingham League days were mostly mid-table, with a few seasons challenging near the top, a move to the Midland Champions League in 1937–38 saw the club enjoy one of its most successful seasons, winning a league and cup treble. Shrewsbury were league champions, scoring 111 goals, in addition, the Welsh Cup was won following a replay, the team enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, and won the Shropshire Senior Cup. After a run of seasons in post-war years, Shrewsbury were admitted to the old Division 3 of the Football League in 1950. Shrewsbury Town were elected to the Football League Division 3 North for 1950–51 following the decision to expand from 88 to 92 clubs, Shrewsbury were then promoted to the Third Division in 1958–59. They remained in the third tier 15 years, slipping back to Division Four at the end of 1973–74, 1960–61 season saw Shrewsbury Town reach the Semi Final of the League Cup. After beating Everton in the quarter-finals, they narrowly lost over two legs 4–3 on aggregate to Rotherham United and this era was also remembered for Arthur Rowley. He arrived from Leicester City in 1958, the clubs first player/manager, during his playing and managerial career, he broke Dixie Deans goal-scoring record, scoring his 380th league goal against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 29 April 1961. Retiring from playing in 1965 he remained manager until July 1968, Shrewsbury were promoted to the Third Division in 1974–75 as runners-up, before another successful season in 1978–79, when they were league champions under Ritchie Barker and later Graham Turner. Over 14,000 fans packed Gay Meadow on 17 May 1979 to see Shrewsbury seal promotion with a 4–1 win over Exeter City, in addition, the club had their first run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before a replay defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Turner is the teams most successful manager, winning the Third Division Championship in 1978–79 – his first season in charge – to take the club into the Second Division for the first time and they remained for ten years, although Turner departed for Aston Villa in 1984
Wrexham Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Wrexham, Wales. Based on the clubs recorded formation date of 1864, they are the oldest club in Wales, since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club. As of May 2015, the club has 4,129 adult members, Wrexham are perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over reigning English Champions Arsenal in 1992 and a 1–0 victory over FC Porto in 1984 in the European Cup Winners Cup. Wrexhams home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the worlds oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games, the record attendance at the ground was set in 1957, when Wrexham hosted a match against Manchester United in front of 36,445 spectators. Their first game was played on 22 October 1864 at the Denbigh County Cricket Ground against the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, as the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at the time, early matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side. In these early years Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to having just 11 players on the pitch at any one time. C, in the 1877–78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park, Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids F. C. 1–0, with James Davies being credited with the goal. Because of a lack of money at the fledgling FAW, Wrexham did not receive their trophy until the next year. 1883 also saw Wrexhams first appearance in the FA Cup, when receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 3–4 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club being expelled from the Football Association, Olympic was dropped from this clubs name in 1888. In 1890 Wrexham joined The Combination league, playing their first game against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, Lea played for the club despite only having one arm as did playing colleague James Roberts. Wrexham finished the second from bottom in eighth place in the first season. Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before an increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League in the 1894–95 season. The club then remained in the Combination league until 1905, by time they had managed to win the league four times. After several unsuccessful attempts Wrexham were finally elected to the Birmingham, Wrexhams first ever match in this league was at home against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, and two thousand spectators witnessed Wrexham win the match 2–1. Wrexham finished sixth in their first season in this league, during their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times, in 1908–09, 1909–10, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1914–15, and 1920–21. They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a time in the 1908–09 season before losing a replay 1–2 to Exeter City after extra time. In 1921 Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League and their first League game was against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators
The Welsh Cup is a knock-out football competition contested annually by teams in the Welsh football league system. The Football Association of Wales is the body of this competition. The winning team qualifies to play in the following seasons UEFA Europa League, until 1995, Welsh clubs playing in the Welsh or English leagues were invited to play in the Welsh Cup. On occasion some English clubs, mostly those from border areas such as Shrewsbury, Hereford, however, in the event of an English club winning the Welsh Cup, they were not allowed to progress to the European Cup Winners Cup. Instead, the best placed Welsh club in the Welsh Cup competition would take the European place, from 1996 to 2011, only clubs playing in the Welsh football league system were allowed to enter the Welsh Cup. This rule excluded the six Welsh clubs who played in the English football league system, Cardiff City, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil Town, Newport County, Swansea City and Wrexham. On 20 April 2011, the Football Association of Wales invited these six clubs to rejoin the Welsh Cup for the 2011–12 season, between the 1961–62 and 1984–85 seasons, the final was played as a two-leg match, originally on a points basis rather than aggregate score. In the 1985–86 season, it reverted to a game, to be decided by extra time. The last English winner of the Welsh Cup was Hereford United in 1990, for a list of Welsh Cup finals including venue and attendance information see List of Welsh Cup finals
Holywell Town F.C.
Holywell Town F. C. is a Welsh football club from Holywell, Flintshire. They are nicknamed The Wellmen, and play their games at Halkyn Road. Holywell Town were founding members of both the Cymru Alliance and the League of Wales and enjoyed their best period in the top flight in the mid-1990s. For the 2015-16 season, they will be playing back in the Cymru Alliance after a gap of nine due to winning the Welsh Alliance League Division 1 the previous season. The history of football in Holywell can be traced back to a club that was known as Holywell. There is evidence of a Holywell team existing way back in 1881, back in March 1893, Holywell became one of the seven founder members of the North Wales Coast League, and had 58 players registered with the club within six months of the league commencing. Holywell would finish 4th in the season of the North Wales Coast League. This was followed by three seasons of fifth-place league finishes, ending in 1897–98, when the finished in sixth place. This would be the worst position the club would end up during their time in the Coast League, the club reached their first cup final in 1898, when they faced Bangor City for the North Wales Senior Cup, but would lose the final 3–0 to Bangor City. However, after being engulfed by the Baron Corvo episode of 1899, the left the North Wales Coast League at the end of the 1900–01 season. After three years absence, football returned to Holywell in 1905, with the formation of a new club and they would later rejoin the North Wales Coast League for the 1912–13 season. Holywell United was to enjoy a run during the next few years. In the 1913–14 season, they achieved the North Wales Coast League and Amateur Cup double, winning 15 of their 17 league games and it was during this period when Holywell United hosted their biggest game at that time, playing an Everton XI at their Ffordd Fer ground. The Merseysiders included at least five players with English First Division experience within the team and they also reached the final of the North Wales Coast Amateur Cup for the fifth time, but would lose to Holyhead 3–1. In 1929–30, the club first appeared under the new name of Holywell Arcadians, for the following three seasons, Holywell Arcadians competed in the Welsh Football League, which ran alongside the North Wales Football Combination, and was the forerunner of the Welsh League. Holywells social and football history came together and combined to establish the club as it is known today, in 1946 former soldiers that were returning home from World War II established the club at Halkyn Road, where it has played its home games ever since. It was also around this period that the moniker of The Wellmen was adopted by the club, the Wellmen beat Barmouth 2–0 in the final at Llandudno. More success came to Holywell when they joined the Welsh League in the 1949–50 season and they finished a highly creditable fifth place, but went on to become the Welsh League champions in the 1952–53 season
Caernarfon Town F.C.
Caernarfon Town Football Club is a football team. The club is nicknamed The Canaries because of its yellow and green strip, Caernarfon Town plays at The Oval, Caernarfon, Gwynedd. The first football club in Caernarfon, known as Caernarvon Wanderers, was formed in September 1876, on 30 October 1886, Wanderers were the first team from north west Wales to enter the FA Cup and lost 10–1 away to Stoke City. Five years later, however, that club went out of existence but, in 1894. That club competed in the North Wales Coast League, winning the championship on two occasions and reaching the semi-final of the Welsh Cup in 1900 and again in 1902, unfortunately, following a dispute with the league, Ironopolis folded in 1903. The demise of the resulted in some of the players forming the Caernarvon Colts while others affiliated to the Caernarvon RWF. In 1906, the clubs amalgamated to form Caernarvon United and in 1909 the new club won both the Welsh and North Wales Amateur Cups. After the Great War, the demobbed United players formed a new club which, until 1921, played in the North Wales Coast League and thereafter the Welsh National League Division Two, with mixed fortune. In 1926, however, a company was formed and a full-time manager. In 1930, however, the club went into liquidation but two later a re-formed team won the Welsh Combination before quitting over problems in using the Oval. In 1937, a group of local soccer enthusiasts began Caernarfon Town F. C. a 39-year unbroken membership of the league was begun and Caernarfon Town won the championship in 1946–47 and 1965–66 and finished runners-up in both 1956–57 and 1957–58 and once again in 1972–73. In 1976 internal problems led to the withdrawal from the league after just six matches but, within a matter of months. Astonishingly, the club proceeded to win the league championship in each of the next two seasons. The club went on to win the Combination Cup in 1981 and then the league championship in 1981–82, the following season, Caernarfon moved into the newly created North West Counties League and achieved promotion, along with Radcliffe Borough, at the first attempt. In 1985, Caernarfon Town were runners-up in the first division and were elected to the Northern Premier League, despite a poor start, new manager John King turned playing affairs round and the club enjoyed its most successful FA Cup run in 1986–87. The Canaries finished third in the NPL and felt that, if not for the FA Cup run, a revival in the latter half of the 1987–88 campaign lifted Caernarfon up to third place and they also reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup before losing out to Cardiff City. Thus, Caernarfon were welcomed into the League of Wales in August 1995, the 1995–96 season was very successful with Caernarfon achieving sixth place in the league table and reaching the semi-finals of both the League of Wales League Cup and the North Wales Coast F. A. Cup. The Canaries also progressed to the final of the North Wales Coast F. A, Cup before going down 2–1 to Porthmadog
Rhyl Football Club is a Welsh football club from Rhyl in Denbighshire, playing in the Welsh Premier League. The club was founded in 1879 and the team plays its matches at Belle Vue. Football in Rhyl dates from the late 1870s and at one time there were several Rhyl clubs in existence, Rhyl F. C. became founder members of the Welsh League, formed in 1890, but withdrew the following year. They reformed as Rhyl Athletic in 1893 and became members of the North Wales Coast League. Rhyl Athletic joined forces with Rhyl Town in 1898 and in an ambitious move switched to the Anglo-Welsh competition known as The Combination, despite financial crises, they remained in membership until the league disbanded at the end of the 1910–11 season. Rhyl won the title in 1925–26 and became a company in 1928 as Rhyl Athletic. In 1929 Rhyl applied to join the Football League but York City became the only non-league team elected to the Third Division North, with North Wales football in turmoil in the early 1930s, Rhyl sought to realise their ambitions elsewhere. Another unsuccessful application to the Football League was made in 1932 before joining the Birmingham, in a post-war purple patch, Rhyl won the league title twice – in 1947–48 and 1950–51 – and the Welsh Cup twice in succession. In 1952, they beat Merthyr Tydfil 4–3 and became the first non-league side in the era to retain the trophy. Rhyl had been losing finalists to Cardiff City in 1930 and Crewe Alexandra in 1937, but did not feature in the final again until 1993, between 1948 and 1972 Rhyl appeared regularly in the first round proper of the FA Cup. In 1957 Rhyl reached the fourth round proper, losing 3–0 away to Bristol City, in the Cheshire County League, success eluded them for several years before they won the title in 1972. On the dissolution of the Cheshire County League in 1982, Rhyl became members of the North West Counties League, in 1993–94, they won the title by six points and gained promotion to the League of Wales. Rhyl completed a quadruple by rounding off the season with a 6–0 win against Halkyn United in the Final of the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup. However, these feats were later tainted by the revelation that leading scorer Andy Moran had been taking the banned stimulant Nandrolone throughout the season, Rhyl won many games with late goals, leading to widespread rumours that other players were also taking the drug. Moran was stripped of his Golden Boot as a result, although the results were allowed to stand. Rhyl could not reproduce their quadruple heroics in 2004–05, the club finished runners-up in the Welsh Premier League to TNS and also fell to the same team in both the Welsh Cup semi-final and Welsh Premier Cup quarter-final. In 2005–06, Rhyl recorded their first-ever win in European competition when they defeated Lithuanian side FK Atlantas 2–1 in the leg of the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. Rhyl lost the away leg 3–2, but progressed on the away goals rule and they lost in the second round against Norwegian club Viking F. K
Bangor City F.C.
Bangor City Football Club are a semi-professional Welsh football club from the City of Bangor, Gwynedd. The club compete in the Welsh Premier League, being ever present since the league was founded in 1992. Bangor City F. C. is one of Wales older football clubs, and has an history of competition in European football. In the 1961–62 season, Bangor City won the Welsh Cup, in the first round, Bangor was drawn against the Italian Cup winners, Napoli, at the time one of Europes greatest football teams. In the first leg, played at Farrar Road, unexpectedly Bangor won 2–0, world superstar Bobby Charlton guested for the Blues in the 1978 Anglo-Italian Tournament. At the end of 1977–78 when Southport was relegated from the English Football League Fourth Division, Bangor City, Boston United, due to Wigan Athletic having installed crush barriers, Bangor missed out on promotion. In 1979–80 Bangor City was invited to compete in the Alliance Premier League, on 12 May 1984 Bangor became the first Welsh club to play at Wembley since Cardiff in 1927, when reaching the FA Trophy final against Northwich Victoria. The match finished 1–1, with local boy Paul Whelan scoring for Bangor, the replay was played in Stokes Victoria Ground, and despite a goal from another Bangor lad, Bangor lost 2–1 conceding in the last minute. In 1985 Bangor City was back in the ECWC, in the first round drawn against the Norwegian cup winners, Fredrikstad. Interestingly, captain of Bangor that season was midfielder Mark Palios, against Atletico, Palios shaved the post with a header in the first minute that would have given Bangor an unlikely lead in the first leg at Farrar Road following a cross by Phil Lunn. In 1994 as League of Wales Champions, Bangor City entered the UEFA Cup, akranes won the leg in Bangor by 2–1, while Bangor lost the match in Iceland by 2–0. Łódź were a powerful side, But Nick dominated throughout the game. Having played Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United in earlier campaigns, manager at the time was Nigel Adkins, now in charge of Championship side Reading. Unsurprisingly Bangor were beaten, 2–0 at home, and 1–0 in Finland, in 2006 the club made it to the Welsh Cup final where they were beaten by Rhyl 2–0 at Wrexhams Racecourse ground. The club managed to win back the Welsh Cup in 2008, defying the odds and defeating league high fliers Llanelli 4–2 after extra time at Latham Park, Newtown. An injury time equaliser saw an invasion by celebrating Bangor fans before the Blues were able proceeding to defeat their expensively-assembled opponents during the additional period. Victory in the Welsh Cup meant that Bangor had again qualified for Europe, the first leg was held at the Racecourse ground, Wrexham, saw Bangor beaten 6–1 by a talented Danish side. Despite this early setback Bangor ended the 2008–09 season with yet more silverware as they retained the Welsh Cup by defeating Aberystwyth Town 2–0 in a match held at Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli
Colwyn Bay F.C.
Colwyn Bay Football Club is a football club based in Old Colwyn in northern Wales. Despite being a Welsh club, the plays in the English leagues and are currently members of the Northern Premier League Division One North. Nicknamed the Seagulls, but also known as The Bay, their ground is Llanelian Road in Old Colwyn. The club played its first match in January 1881 and joined the North Wales Coast League in 1898. The club were forced to resign from the league during the 1900–01 when they could not find a ground to play at. However, they returned to the league the following season, from 1907, the club became known as Colwyn Bay United. After the league folded in 1921, they joined the Welsh National League, in 1927–28 the club finished as runners-up in the league and won the League Cup. They won the cup for a time in 1929–30, also reaching the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup. The league folded at the end of the season and the club were founder members of the North Wales Football Combination. Following their title, the joined the Birmingham & District League. However, the team struggled in the new league, and after finishing bottom in 1935–36 and 1936–37, Colwyn Bay finished as Welsh League runners-up in 1945–46, the first season after World War II. They were runners-up again in 1963–64, and were champions the following season, the early 1980s saw the club enter a period of success, as they were champions for a second time in 1980–81. In 1982–83 the club won the league and reached the Welsh Cup semi-finals, after retaining the league title in 1983–84, the club returned to the English football league system, joining Division Three of the North West Counties League. They finished as runners-up in their first season in the league and were promoted to Division Two, a fourth-place finish in Division Two 1986–87 saw the club promoted to Division One. In 1987–88 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, the following season saw the club win the League Cup, beating Warrington Town 3–0 in the final at Gigg Lane. After finishing as Premier Division runners-up in 1990–91, they were promoted to Division One of the Northern Premier League and they won the division at the first attempt and were promoted to the Premier Division. The season also saw them win the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup and reach the Welsh Cup semi-finals for a third time, losing 4–2 to Hednesford Town. However, at the end of the 1991–92 season, a dispute with the Football Association of Wales led to Colwyn Bay being ordered to join the League of Wales or cease playing in Wales