Countdown to 2019/20: JD Cymru Premier
The New Saints celebrate their eighth title in a row. Picture: FAW

The name of the league may have changed but most expect the title to end up in exactly the same place it has resided for the past eight seasons.

Can anyone realistically stop The New Saints making it nine championships in a row?

Since having to beat Bangor City on the final day of 2011/12 to reclaim the crown off the Citizens, Saints’ title-winning margins have been: 22 points, 14, 18, 7, 27, 14 and 12.

They have been every bit as dominant in our national league this decade as Celtic have in the SPL.

Last season, it appeared we finally had a title race, with TNS and Connah’s Quay Nomads virtually neck-and-neck at the end of phase one.

However, a title is won over 32 games – not 22 – and in the second part of the campaign Scott Ruscoe’s side were unstoppable. In the end, it wasn’t even close – 12 points between first and second.

The full-timers from Park Hall continue to play the slick, trademark flowing football which has served them so well over the years.

It would be a major surprise if they didn’t end up top of the pile again and be hailed champions of the newly-named JD Cymru Premier.

For Connah’s Quay to push Saints harder this term, they will need an even higher level of consistency than they managed in 2018-19.

The Nomads have worked wonders in less than four years under Andy Morrison – twice WPL runners-up, Welsh Cup winners, Irn-Bru Cup finalists and Europa League glory.

If anyone can challenge Saints’ supremacy, it will be them, but are they considerably stronger this season than last?

Callum Roberts and Jamie Insall look very good signings, but can they transform a gallant runner-up into a major title contender?

Elsewhere, Barry Town United should come on even better for last season’s excellent effort, while for the rest it is likely to be a battle to finish as high as they can.

That is not being disrespectful or dismissive of anyone – it is simply based on the facts of one team having devised the ideal formula to win league titles over a long period.

And they are showing no signs of stopping yet.

JD CYMRU PREMIER 2019-20 (12 TEAMS)

Aberystwyth Town
Airbus
Bala Town
Barry Town United
Caernarfon Town
Cardiff Metropolitan
Carmarthen Town
Cefn Druids
Connah’s Quay Nomads
Newtown
Penybont
The New Saints

OPENING FIXTURES

Friday, August 16 (7.45pm unless stated)

Aberystwyth Town v Carmarthen Town
Airbus UK Broughton v Bala Town
Newtown v Cefn Druids
Penybont v Barry Town United (8pm)
The New Saints v Caernarfon Town

Saturday, August 17 (2.30pm)

Connah’s Quay Nomads v Cardiff Metropolitan

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