According to experts, there are 108 towns, villages or hamlets on the Isle of Anglesey and Holy Island.
I asked myself the question the other day – how many of these places have had football teams?
It is difficult to get a totally accurate answer, as there are only full Anglesey League tables dating from after World War Two onward on the excellent Welsh Football Data Archive website.
The league, which says its fond farewells this year, goes back to 1895, but many tables between then and 1946 are unavailable.
So some places listed as never having had a football team may well have had one at some point.
But being as accurate as possible, it appears 38 towns, villages or hamlets on the island have been represented by football teams and 70 have not.
Those figures apply to Saturday football only and of course some towns and villages have produced more than one club.
Some of those places without Saturday football teams may well have played Sunday League over the years.
There have also been a number of Anglesey League sides, most of them short-lived, which have represented factories or tourist attractions.
Examples include: Babcock & Wilcox, Bailey, Fryars (Beaumaris), Plasnewydd, Saunders Roe, Silver Bay Caravan Park, Whessoe and Wylfa.
Bro Goronwy and Glantraeth, both of whom have enjoyed relative longevity and success in North Wales football, are not places, but the former represents the villages of Moelfre and Benllech, while the latter is a restaurant and farm-based tourist draw carrying a Bodorgan postmark.
So let’s weigh up the yes’s and the no’s.
Yes – they have or have had a football team (38)
Current club formed in 2008 after Sunday League successes and finished last season in tier 4 Welsh Alliance Division Two.
Previous Aberffraw sides won the Anglesey League in 1952-53 and 1963-64.
Appeared in Division 3 (or the second division as it was) in 1978-79.
They were actually featured in three league tables that season.
Perhaps they played too much football and got tired out, as by the next season they were gone! Still play/played Sunday League and charity games though.
After winning the Welsh Alliance title in 2001-02, Amlwch Town spent two seasons at the highest level they have reached – the tier two Cymru Alliance.
Town have won nine Anglesey League titles and one Gwynedd League crown.
Ended 2019-20 in Welsh Alliance Division Two.
Beaumaris currently do not compete in Saturday football having last been seen in the Gwynedd League in 2017-18.
In the past, Beaumaris Town have won three Anglesey League titles, Beaumaris lifted two and Beaumaris St Mary’s one.
Beaumaris and Beaumaris Town have both scooped the NWCFA Junior Cup once.
First appeared in an Anglesey League table in 1921-22. Lifted the Division Two title in 1981-82.
Bodedern Football Club won the Welsh Alliance in 2004/05 and spent two seasons in the second-tier Cymru Alliance before resigning in October 2007 due to a shortage of players.
The club changed its name to Bodedern Athletic and took its reserves’ place in the Gwynedd League.
Formed in 1946, the club did not win a major honour until 1978, but have done extremely well since, landing five Anglesey League titles (3 top division & 2 second division), the Gwynedd League twice and Welsh Alliance.
They were Welsh Alliance Division One runners-up in 2018-19.
First sight of them was in the Anglesey League in 1973-74, but by 1981-82 they were gone.
No success to speak of, but they did produce Osian Roberts and Meinir Thomas, so they still qualify as a footballing hotbed.
By the end of the 1940s/early 1950s, everyone wanted a go at this fun lark called football. Boom time for the island!
Bodorgan entered the Anglesey League in Division 3B (or division two) in 1950-51. They lasted just two seasons. The club returned for 2011-12 and 2012-13 but finished bottom on both occasions. They gave it another go in 2015-16 and were last again. In 2016-17 they became known as Bodorgan Juniors, finishing seventh (of 8), the same position they occupied the following season (7th of 9) when they dropped the Juniors title. Tenth in 2018/19, Bodorgan achieved their highest-ever placing of sixth last season.
They came from nowhere!
This one got me. Until today I had never heard of Bodwrog.
The GENUKI site did not help a lot: “BODWROG, a parochial chapelry in the hundred of Llyfon, in the county of Anglesey, North Wales, 4 miles to the S. of Llanerchymedd. The Holyhead railway runs to the south of this place.”
From the map, it doesn’t seem too far from Gwalchmai, but I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, these bad boys appeared in the Anglesey League in 1980-81, playing in Division 3 (second division) and a League Cup competition.
After one season, they disappeared! They weren’t rubbish – won 5 games out of 20.
Did anyone out there play for them? I am hooked now. Who were Bodwrog? This isn’t the dark ages, it was 1980-81…I was 15-16 years old. I should know.
History was in my lap and I missed it. Let me know if you can shed any light on these one-season wonders please.
In 1991-92 a Bryngwran Bulls appeared in the Anglesey League and finished rock bottom.
They kept at it for seven seasons, but didn’t pull up any trees, ending up at the basement three times.
By 2016-17, after a good spell in Sunday League, the Bulls were back and on the charge.
They finished third, second and then champions of the Anglesey League in 2018-19.
Last season they amalgamated with Trearddur Bay United to form Trearddur Bay Bulls and came runners-up in the Gwynedd League.
Just as Beatlemania gripped the UK in the early 1960’s so did Brynsiencyn rock Anglesey football to its foundations.
Unheralded Siencyn won back-to-back Anglesey League titles in 1961-62 and 1962-63 and landed three Elias Cups on the bounce between 1961-63.
Unlike The Beatles they did not become worldwide megastars, Brynsiencyn called it a day while they were ahead and disbanded before the 1963-64 campaign.
Founded in 1976, Cemaes Bay went on to become the legends Brynsiencyn could have been.
The School Lane outfit are one of just two Anglesey teams to play in the national Welsh Premier League and stayed there the longest – three seasons.
They have also won the Cymru Alliance, Welsh Alliance and in 2019-20 fittingly became the final team to top the disbanding Anglesey League.
We first said hello to Dwyran when they joined Anglesey League 3B (division two) in 1947-48.
After finishing bottom in 1949-50 they resigned.
I once knew a lad from Gaerwen called Glanfor. He ended up working for the Garda Síochána (police force) in Ireland.
I’ve never known anyone called Glanfor since. In fact, I’ve never heard the name anywhere else.
Glanfor was certainly not around when Gaerwen took their Anglesey League bow in 1929-30 and finished up winless and bottom.
Things got better in 1937-38 as they claimed third place.
They reappeared in 1946-47 as Gaerwen Institute before dropping the second bit of the name the following season. All this while Glanfor was still a Cox Pippin in his mother’s eye.
Fast forward to 2004-05 and with Glanfor now presumably catching criminals across the sea, Gaerwen lifted the Anglesey League title.
The club were one of the strongest competitors in Welsh Alliance Division Two last season.
One of Anglesey’s most successful clubs.
Gwalchmai have won nine top division Anglesey League titles (plus two second division crowns), the Gwynedd League and the NWCFA Junior Cup on five occasions.
They have won a magnificent 40 honours in all since the late 1950s and were part of a good standard Welsh Alliance Division Two last term.
The port has been represented by so many teams over the years.
The best known are Holyhead Town – four-time Welsh League (North) champions and NWCFA Challenge Cup winners twice – and Holyhead Hotspur, three-time Welsh Alliance champions and Cymru Alliance runners-up in 2008/09.
Others Holyheaders include: Caergybi, Holy Isle, Holyhead Mountain Rangers, Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic, Holyhead United Juniors, Holyhead Railway Institute and Morawelon.
Another one which floored me. I thought Llanbedrgoch was somewhere else in Wales, not a hamlet and post town, a mile south of Benllech and west of Red Wharf Bay.
History runs deep here but sadly football success doesn’t (to be fair though, it’s a pretty small place).
They joined the Anglesey League in 1949-50, finished bottom, ended next to the basement the season after, stepped down, then returned in 1954-55, producing an improved third-from-last placing, but they decided that was enough.
Can’t look at this name without thinking of the No 1 hit by 10cc.
I don’t really think about Madonna or Maradona at all.
They signed up for the Anglesey League in the first season after the war in 1946-47, and had Holyhead Liberals, Llanfairpwll and future immortals Brynsiencyn below them in the final standings.
By the end of 1948-49, Llanddona were a goner. Same scene, finished bottom and resigned. Some teams didn’t have any bouncebackability in those days it seems. Still, it wasn’t long after the war, times were tough and food was still on rations.
Although this team has not had the best of fortunes on the field in recent times, they possess a really good history.
Winners of the Anglesey League twice, they have also raised all three chief cups – the Dargie (2), Megan (4 times) and the Elias (4).
They also claimed the NWCFA Junior Cup in 1974-75.
Llandegfan appeared in the first ever Anglesey League table available in 1897-98.
Okay, here we go again, my Unclassified grade in geography lets me down once more. Where is Llanelian, I ask?
Llaneilian is a village and community in Anglesey located in the north east of the island, 2.2 miles (3.5 km) east of Amlwch.
Many new clubs emerged in the early 1950s, a fair few did not last long, Llaneilian being one of them.
They joined in 1953-54 and competed for just two seasons, losing many more than they won.
The Welsh Football Data Archive lists Llannerchymedd as one of the Anglesey League’s competing clubs in 1912-13, but no stats are available.
By 1921-22, the Medd were definitely up and running.
The Tan Parc club began to really make their mark in the 1980’s, picking up four Anglesey League titles – two top division and another pair in division two.
They went on to land a Gwynedd League treble in 2013-14 and are currently strengthening for the 2020-21 campaign.
LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWYLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH (or Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG if you wish)
Long name, long list of success.
Llanfairpwll have creamed 35 honours in their proud history, including seven Anglesey League and two Welsh Alliance League titles, six Dargie Cups, five Megan Cups, plus four Elias Cups.
One of the earlier members of the Anglesey League, they are back at that level now, but aim to start climbing the pyramid again after the imminent reshuffle.
Mainly represented through the magnificent Llangefni Town, who have won 38 main honours over the decades.
Town’s finest feat is landing the second-tier Cymru Alliance title twice, but they have also been crowned Welsh Alliance champions a record five times, claimed seven Anglesey League and two Gwynedd League championships.
They remain the only Anglesey team to win the FAW Intermediate Cup (now the FAW Trophy) and just they and Cemaes Bay have represented the island in the Welsh Premier.
CPD Cefni of the Anglesey League also fly the flag for the town.
Brilliant achievements over the years for a small village club.
Llangoed (or Llangoed & District as they are also known) have won two top division Anglesey League titles and two second division championships.
They have also secured numerous cups, including the NWCFA Junior Cup in 2003-04.
Building something really good under Mark Thomas, having impressed in the Gwynedd League this season.
The club first appeared in the Anglesey League in the late 1940’s.
Three things I know Llangristiolus best for – Dafydd Jones (Ynys Môn gold medalist and Conwy Borough midfielder), Ceri Slaney (Ynys Môn silver medalist and Amlwch Town league champion) and a story I wrote for a newspaper about 33 years ago regarding snails eating letters in the village post box.
Now I also know Llangristiolus once played in the Anglesey League!
They turned up in 1947-48 in Division 3B (second division) and won 11 and lost 11 (not bad at all – finished sixth out of 12. A 50-50 season if ever there was one).
The village was the childhood domicile of Hollywood actress Naomi Watts, later to become president of Glantraeth, as well as current home to Rhun ap Iorwerth, AM for Ynys Môn (whose name was once famously pronounced Roon Eyeworth by the BBC).
Llangristiolus football team stayed in the island league for six seasons.
When the league reverted to a one-division competition in 1953-54, they pulled out.
Record eight-time winners of the NWCFA Junior Cup, the Bridge have also snared four Anglesey League titles and were 2018-19 Gwynedd League champions.
Menai were the first recorded champions of the Anglesey League back in 1897-98, so they hold a huge slice of history on their CV.
Unlike most Anglesey League clubs, Moelfre made their Saturday football debut relatively late – 1987-88 when they finished fifth out of eight in Division Two.
After eight fairly steady seasons in the league, they were visible no more in 1995-96.
The village is now represented by the outstanding Bro Goronwy, who have proved a tremendous advert for island football in recent years.
More than 30 honours won and at their peak they were virtually unstoppable, setting goal records which will probably never be broken.
Newborough were at their most dominant in the 1950s and 60s when they won the vast majority of their trophies at Anglesey League level.
They hold the joint record for the most Anglesey League top division titles (9).
One of their greatest achievements was winning the North Wales Amateur Cup in 1960-61, beating Denbigh Town in the final. They also scooped two NWCFA Junior Cups.
Perhaps their most famous player was Myrddin Hughes, who topped the Anglesey League goal charts season-after-season, scoring 135 in one campaign and receiving a gold watch as reward.
Newborough made a brief return to the league in 2012-13, but lasted just the one season.
The 1929-30 Anglesey League table was the first to feature Penmon.
Part of the community of Llangoed, Penmon appeared in second place the following season, but the table looked incomplete.
They were never seen again after 1930-31, but said farewell that season by winning the Dargie Cup. Yes Penmon!
Really strong club in recent years, winning the Anglesey League in 2008-09 and 2012-13 – and they have landed the Megan Cup five times.
The islanders have spent the last six seasons in Welsh Alliance Division Two and have also built a solid reserve side which has held its own in the Anglesey League.
Joined the Anglesey League in 1949/50 and were crowned Division 3B (second division) champions in their first season.
Also won the Elias Cup in 1952/53 and 1953/54.
Always good, solid competitors in the Anglesey League, but have not played in it since 1992/93.
Represented by Silver Bay Scimitars in 1985-86. They failed to win a game, finished bottom, and were never seen again.
First sighting of Rhosneigr in the Anglesey League was in the 1921-22 table when they ended up third from bottom.
They seemed to have remained in the league until 1929-30, but were not seen again in any table before the war.
However, they reappeared in 1947-48, finishing runners-up in the second division.
Promoted to the top division, they stayed there before being relegated back to the second in 1952-53.
When the league returned to a one-division competition in 1953-54, Rhosneigr were no longer there.
Most clubs that leave never come back, but Rhosneigr did! In 1993-94 they returned – but for one season only.
Another team that appeared briefly and were unable to secure any trophy.
Rhosybol entered the league in Division 3 (second division) in 1980-81 and departed in 1984-85.
A team representing Trearddur Bay features in the 1933-34 Anglesey League table.
They finished level on points with champions Llangefni but lost out on the title due to goal difference (was it goal difference then? or goal average?).
Bay were back in the first league standings after the war.
It was not until 2008/09 that we saw Trearddur’s return as a Saturday football side – after years of Sunday League involvement. They won the NWCFA Junior Cup. In 2010-11 they celebrated a quadruple, scooping the Anglesey League title and three domestic cups.
Trearddur Bay United went on to lift the Gwynedd League title undefeated in 2012-13 and then the Welsh Alliance Division One crown in 2015-16 at the first attempt. They disbanded at the end 2017-18, but re-emerged last season as Trearddur Bay Bulls following amalgamation with Bryngwran Bulls.
Ty Croes RA celebrated Anglesey League second division titles in 1947-48 and 1952-53, as well as the Dargie and Elias Cups in the same period.
Left the league in 1962-63, reappeared for one season in 1970-71 and resigned again.
Joined Division 3B (second division) of the Anglesey League in 1948-49.
Promoted to 3A (top division) in 1950-51, but were relegated after a single season.
Left the league at the end of 1952-53 before it reduced to a single division.
Tynygongl has run a great junior section for many years and next season the club will amalgamate with CPD Pentraeth under the latter’s banner.
The first team representing Valley the village (not RAF) was Valley Juniors in 1994-95. They stayed in the Anglesey League until 2001-02.
Valley FC joined the league in 2007-08, but lasted just two seasons after propping up the table in 2008-09.
In 2013-14 the village tried again, this time with Valley Athletic. This time it all came good as Athletic were crowned 2014-15 champions, making it a treble with the IPP Cup and Assist-a-Claim Cup triumphs. The Elias Cup followed in 2016-17.
The club became known as simply Valley, then CPD Y Valley, then in 2019-20, CPD Y Fali. It is hard to keep up, but football is still alive in Valley.
No football team to our knowledge (70)
Four Mile Bridge
Llanfihangel Yn Nhywyn
This article was written at the end of the 2019-20 season, which was brought to an early conclusion due to a coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020-21 season was set to see a revamp of the Welsh football pyramid. The Anglesey League, Gwynedd League and Welsh Alliance League were dissolved at the end of 2019-20.