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End of an era: goodbye to the Welsh Alliance League

Llangefni Town won the Welsh Alliance title for a record fifth time in 2018-19

EIGHTY-FIVE years of football history and 79 seasons of competition came to an end when the final balls were kicked in the Welsh Alliance League in March.

For the first 49 years of its life, the competition was known as the Welsh League North and the final 36 as the Welsh Alliance.

Next season the new-look tier 3 of the Welsh football pyramid will come under the control of the FAW, the same as the higher level Cymru North and Cymru Premier currently are.

The Welsh Alliance and Welsh National (Wrexham Area) League Premier Division will dissolve and form the northern section of the new tier 3, the name of which is not yet confirmed.

Some clubs which competed in the Welsh Alliance in 2019-20 will drop down to the tier 4 and 5 North Wales Coast West and East Football Leagues next season, but exactly who is as yet unknown.

The remainder of the Welsh National League and the old North East Wales League join a new North East Wales League, consisting of a Premier Division, Championship and reserve league.

Welsh League North (1935-84)

At a time when North Wales football was in much need of new direction, the new Welsh League North finally kicked off in 1935 with 11 teams.

The formation of the new league had evoked much debate – some heated – caused mainly through dissatisfaction over the break-up of other leagues operating at the time.

The first season of the Welsh League North was something of a flop with original dissenters Flint Town and Denbigh MH failing to complete their fixtures.

The campaign closed with 14 fixtures unplayed and Llandudno FC taking the title.

As the years went on, however, the league flourished with regional second divisions being formed in 1948 which continued until a single 18-club division format returned in 1960.

The league comprised the cream of North Wales clubs, with the exception of Wrexham, who played in the Football League, and Bangor City and Rhyl, competitors in the English pyramid.

However, City and the Lilywhites – as well as Wrexham for a spell – did field reserve teams in the Welsh League North.

Over the years, the WLN produced some outstanding teams.

South Gwynedd and Llyn Peninsula sides proved to be exceptionally strong, Porthmadog winning the league the most times (6) with Blaenau Ffestiniog landing the title on five occasions.

In the 1960s, Port produced a hat-trick of championship wins, Blaenau doing the same in the 1970s, however Flint Town United were first to achieve the feat in the 1950s.

Holyhead Town produced some fantastic title-winning sides in the Welsh League North

Holyhead Town and Caernarfon Town both won four league championships, while the final years of the league saw Colwyn Bay rule the roost.

The Bay won three of the last four titles on offer, leading to them deciding not to join the new Welsh Alliance League, but instead follow Bangor City and Rhyl into the English pyramid.

Welsh Alliance League (1984-2020)

The Welsh Alliance replaced the Welsh League North in 1984 and Conwy United were the early dazzlers, scooping the first two titles.

The WAL served as the joint top league for North Wales until the Cymru Alliance was formed in 1990, followed by the national League of Wales in 1992-93.

By the mid-1980s the Welsh League North had so reduced in membership that an Auxiliary competition was needed to create sufficient fixtures.

With only 10 member clubs it was clear a re-think was needed for the North Wales Coast area’s senior league.

Hence the new Welsh Alliance League was born in 1984.

The Welsh Alliance Football League (North) was to encompass the whole of North and Mid-Wales – incorporating clubs from the old league, Mid-Wales League and the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area).

It was meant to counterbalance the long-established Welsh League in the south with the intention of both champions playing off for the all-Wales title.

The vision never materialised as far as the Welsh Alliance League was concerned, but the idea eventually bore fruit in 1990 when the Cymru Alliance League was set up, demoting the WAL to the second level.

The WAL continued to act as one of three feeder leagues to the Cymru Alliance until its demise.

With the creation of the League of Wales in 1992, the WAL occupied the third tier of the pyramid.

A Welsh Alliance Division Two was introduced in 2010-11, which became tier 4, along with Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division One.

The Welsh Alliance was the springboard for many fine teams to make their mark at a higher level. This 2005/06 championship-winning Prestatyn Town side kick-started a major rise for the club which has brought three Cymru Alliance titles, eight seasons in the Welsh Premier League, a victory in the Europa League and a first-ever Welsh Cup success

LIST OF CHAMPIONS

Welsh League North

1935/36 Llandudno
1936/37 Llandudno
1937/38 Porthmadog
1938/39 Llandudno
1945/46 HMS Glendower
1946/47 Caernarfon Town
1947/48 Penrhyn Quarry
1948/49 Llandudno Junction; Division Two (Western) – Llanberis; Division Two (Eastern) – Denbigh Town
1949/50 Holyhead Town; Division Two (Western) – Llanberis; Division Two (Eastern) – Flint Town United Res
1950/51 Pwllheli & District; Division Two (Western) – Port Dinorwic
1951/52 Pwllheli & District; Division Two (Western) – Llanberis
1952/53 Holywell Town; Division Two (Western) – Nantlle Vale; Division Two (Eastern) – Denbigh Town.
1953/54 55th R A Tonfannau; Division Two (Western) – no table found; Division Two (Eastern) – Denbigh Town
1954/55 Flint Town United; Division Two (Eastern) – Rhos Rangers
1955/56 Flint Town United; Division Two (Eastern) – 31st T R R A Kinmel Bay
1956/57 Flint Town United; Division Two (Eastern) – 31st T R R A Kinmel Bay
1957/58 Holyhead Town; Division Two (Eastern) – Holywell Town Res
1958/59 Borough United; Division Two (Eastern) – 31st T R R A Kinmel Bay
1959/60 Nantlle Vale; Division Two East – Holywell Town Res
1960/61 Pwllheli & District
1961/62 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1962/63 Borough United
1963/64 Holyhead Town
1964/65 Colwyn Bay
1965/66 Caernarfon Town
1966/67 CPD Porthmadog
1967/68 CPD Porthmadog
1968/69 CPD Porthmadog
1969/70 Holyhead Town
1970/71 Bethesda Athletic
1971/72 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1972/73 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1973/74 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1974/75 CPD Porthmadog
1975/76 CPD Porthmadog
1976/77 Bethesda Athletic
1977/78 Caernarfon Town
1978/79 Caernarfon Town
1979/80 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1980/81 Colwyn Bay
1981/82 Courtaulds FC Greenfield
1982/83 Colwyn Bay
1983/84 Colwyn Bay
(43 seasons)

Championships won (top division)

6 – Porthmadog

5 – Blaenau Ffestiniog

4 – Colwyn Bay; Caernarfon Town; Holyhead Town

3 – Llandudno; Pwllheli & District; Flint Town United

2 – Borough United; Bethesda Athletic

1 – HMS Glendower, Penrhyn Quarry, Llandudno Junction, Holywell Town, R A Tonfannau, Nantlle Vale, Courtaulds Greenfield.

Division Two (Eastern)

3 – Denbigh Town; 31st T R R A Kinmel Bay

2 – Holywell Town Reserves

1 – Flint Town Utd Res; Rhos Rangers

Division Two (Western)

3 – Llanberis

1 – Port Dinorwic; Nantlle Vale

Anglesey has enjoyed some great successes in the Welsh Alliance. This Bodedern side lifted the title in 2004-05

Welsh Alliance League champions

1984-85 Conwy United
1985-86 Conwy United
1986-87 Bethesda Athletic
1987-88 Llanfairpwll
1988-89 Flint Town United
1989-90 Porthmadog
1990-91 Llangefni Town
1991-92 Llangefni Town
1992-93 Cemaes Bay
1993-94 Llangefni Town
1994-95 Rhydymwyn
1995-96 Denbigh Town
1996-97 Glantraeth
1997-98 Holyhead Hotspur
1998-99 Llangefni Town
1999-00 Halkyn United
2000-01 Llanfairpwll
2001-02 Amlwch Town
2002-03 Glantraeth
2003-04 Rhyl Reserves
2004-05 Bodedern
2005-06 Prestatyn Town
2006-07 Denbigh Town
2007-08 Bethesda Athletic
2008-09 Bethesda Athletic
2009-10 Rhydymwyn
2010-11 Division One: Conwy United; Division Two: Caernarfon Wanderers
2011-12 Division One: Holyhead Hotspur; Division Two: Glantraeth
2012-13 Division One: Caernarfon Town; Division Two: Llandyrnog United
2013-14 Division One: Denbigh Town; Division Two: Penrhyndeudraeth
2014-15 Division One: Holywell Town; Division Two: St Asaph City
2015-16 Division One: Trearddur Bay United; Division Two: Greenfield
2016-17 Division One: Glantraeth; Division Two: Llandudno Albion
2017-18 Division One: Conwy Borough; Division Two: Prestatyn Sports
2018-19 Division One: Llangefni Town; Division Two: Glan Conwy
2019-20 Division One: Holyhead Hotspur; Division Two – Y Felinheli
(36 seasons)

Title wins (top division)

5 – Llangefni Town
3 – Holyhead Hotspur; Bethesda Athletic; Conwy United; Denbigh Town; Glantraeth
2 – Llanfairpwll; Rhydymwyn
1 – Flint Town United, Porthmadog, Cemaes Bay, Halkyn United, Amlwch Town, Rhyl Reserves, Prestatyn Town, Bodedern, Caernarfon Town, Holywell Town, Trearddur Bay United, Conwy Borough, Y Felinheli

Division Two

1 – Caernarfon Wanderers, Glantraeth, Llandyrnog United, Penrhyndeudraeth, St Asaph City, Greenfield, Llandudno Albion, Prestatyn Sports, Glan Conwy.

WELSH LEAGUE NORTH/WELSH ALLIANCE CUPS

2015-16 Cookson Cup winners Glantraeth. Pic: Aled Jones

Cookson Cup list of winners

1948/49 Holyhead Town
1949/50 Holyhead Town
1950/51 Pwllheli
1951/52 Pwllheli
1952/53 Flint Town United
1953/54 Pwllheli
1954/55 No competition
1955/56 Borough United
1956/57 Caernarfon Town
1957/58 Borough United
1958/59 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1959/60 Nantlle Vale
1960/61 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1961/62 Bangor City Res
1962/63 Borough United
1963/64 Holyhead Town
1964/65 Llandudno
1965/66 Borough United
1966/67 Holyhead Town
1967/68 Holyhead Town
1968/69 Bangor City Res
1969/70 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1970/71 Bethesda Athletic
1971/72 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1972/73 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1973/74 Colwyn Bay
1974/75 Wrexham Res
1975/76 Porthmadog
1976/77 Wrexham Res
1977/78 Caernarfon Town
1978/79 Pwllheli & District
1979/80 Colwyn Bay
1980/81 Colwyn Bay
1981/82 Colwyn Bay
1982/83 Courtaulds Greenfield
1983/84 Colwyn Bay
1984/85 Bangor City Res
1985/86 Bethesda Athletic
1986/87 Bangor City Res
1987/88 Connah’s Quay Nomads
1988/89 Flint Town United
1989/90 Porthmadog
1990/91 Caernarfon Town
1991/92 Cemaes Bay
1992/93 Cemaes Bay
1993/94 Llangefni Town
1994/95 Llanfairpwll
1995/96 Denbigh Town
1996/97 Halkyn United
1997/98 Loco Llanberis
1998/99 Loco Llanberis
1999/2000 Llanfairpwll
2000/01 Llanfairpwll
2001/02 Bangor City Res
2002/03 Rhyl Reserves
2003/04 Rhydymwyn
2004/05 Bethesda Athletic
2005/06 Denbigh Town
2006/07 Denbigh Town
2007/08 Bethesda Athletic
2008/09 Bethesda Athletic
2009/10 Conwy United
2010/11 Denbigh Town
2011/12 Holyhead Hotspur
2012/13 Caernarfon Town
2013/14 Holywell Town
2014/15 Llanrug United
2015/16 Glantraeth
2016/17 Glantraeth
2017/18 Conwy Borough
2018/19 Llangefni Town
2019/20 ?

Cookson Cup wins

5 – Holyhead Town; Blaenau Ffestiniog; Bangor City Res; Bethesda Athletic; Colwyn Bay

4 – Borough United; Caernarfon Town; Pwllheli; Denbigh Town

3 – Llanfairpwll

2 – Flint Town United; Wrexham Res; Porthmadog; Cemaes Bay; Llangefni Town; Loco Llanberis; Glantraeth

1 – Nantlle Vale, Llandudno, Courtaulds Greenfield, Connah’s Quay Nomads, Halkyn United, Rhyl Reserves, Rhydymwyn, Conwy United, Holyhead Hotspur, Holywell Town, Llanrug United, Conwy Borough.

Barritt/Mawddach Challenge Cup list of winners

Llanrwst United have won the Mawddach Cup a joint record three times

1977/78 Porthmadog
1978/79 Pwllheli & District
1979/80 Colwyn Bay
1980/81 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1981/82 Colwyn Bay
1982/83 Welshpool
1983/84 Colwyn Bay
1984/85 Conwy United
1985/86 Rhos Aelwyd
1986/87 Newtown
1987/88 Llanberis
1988/89 Mold Alexandra
1989/90 Mold Alexandra
1990/91 Llangefni Town
1991/92 Llangefni Town
1992/93 Llangefni Town
1993/94 Llanfairpwll
1994/95 Connah’s Quay Res
1995/96 Halkyn United
1996/97 Conwy United
1997/98 Llanrwst United
1998/99 Llanfairfechan Athletic
1999/2000 Y Felinheli
2000/01 Llanfairpwll
2001/02 Nantlle Vale
2002/03 Bodedern
2003/04 Bodedern
2004/05 Rhyl Res
2005/06 Denbigh Town
2006/07 Rhyl Res
2007/08 Rhydymwyn
2008/09 Llandudno Junction
2009/10 Pwllheli
2010/11 Caernarfon Town
2011/12 Holyhead Hotspur
2012/13 Llanrwst United
2013/14 Denbigh Town
2014/15 Holywell Town
2015/16 Penrhyndeudraeth
2016/17 Llanrug United
2017/18 Llandudno Albion
2018/19 Llanrwst United

Barritt/Mawddach Cup wins

3 – Colwyn Bay; Llangefni Town; Llanrwst United

2 – Mold Alexandra; Conwy United; Pwllheli; Rhyl Reserves; Bodedern; Llanfairpwll; Denbigh Town

1 – Llandudno Albion, Llanrug United, Holywell Town, Penrhyndeudraeth, Holyhead Hotspur, Caernarfon Town, Llandudno Junction, Rhydymwyn, Porthmadog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Welshpool, Rhos Aelwyd, Newtown, Connah’s Quay Reserves, Llanfairfechan Athletic, Y Felinheli, Nantlle Vale, Llanberis, Halkyn United.

Alves Cup

List of winners not available

Take Stock Van Hire Cup Division Two list of winners

2010/11 Bodedern Athletic
2011/12 Glantraeth
2012/13 Penrhyndeudraeth
2013/14 Kinmel Bay Sports
2014/15 St Asaph City
2015/16 Llanllyfni
2016/17 Prestatyn Sports
2017/18 Bodedern Athletic
2018/19 Y Felinheli

Wins

2 – Bodedern Athletic

1 – Glantraeth, Penrhyndeudraeth, Kinmel Bay Sports, St Asaph City, Llanllyfni, Prestatyn Sports, Y Felinheli.

HISTORY MAKERS

Holywell Town

In 2013-14, Holywell Town put the Welsh Alliance firmly in the spotlight when they became the only tier 3 side to reach the Welsh Cup semi-finals.
Johnny Haseldin’s lads knocked out three Cymru Alliance and a Welsh Premier team en route to the last four, where they eventually lost 3-1 to WPL favourites Aberystwyth Town.

Most Welsh Alliance titles

Llangefni Town won the most Welsh Alliance titles (5) and landed many cups along the way too, as well as becoming the only club from Anglesey to land the Welsh Intermediate Cup (now the FAW Trophy) in 1991-92.
Many believe their team of the early 1990s could have won the Cymru Alliance and held its own in the League of Wales.

Cookson Cup

Remarkably, no one club has won the Cookson Cup the most times outright, but FIVE teams have lifted it in 5 occasions – Holyhead Town, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bangor City Reserves, Bethesda Athletic and Colwyn Bay.

Barritt/Mawddach Cup

Llanrwst United, Colwyn Bay and Llangefni Town have lifted this prestigious trophy on three occasions, but like the Cookson, there is no one outright most-times winner.

Thanks

Many thanks to the Welsh Football Data Archive for supplying information for this article as well as the league via its commemorative booklet.

Copyright Dave Jones © All rights reserved. CoverNews by AF themes.
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