Sad demise of Llandudno Athletic – the whipping boys who became cup heroes

Cup joy for Athletic in 2018-19

A football club which transformed from whipping boys into cup-winning heroes are sadly no more.

Llandudno Athletic announced they are folding earlier today.

Formed in 2014-15, Athletic were due to compete in the North Wales Coast East Premier Division at tier 4 of the revamped Welsh football pyramid this season.

The club announced recently it had been forced to move from its previous home The Oval in Llandudno and were due to host games at Victoria Drive, Llandudno Junction, in 2020-21.

Athletic was unable to gain support from the powers-that-be to upgrade The Oval to the standard required to compete at tier 4.

Despite attempts, with support from fellow town clubs Llandudno Albion and Amateurs, Athletic were unable to persuade Mostyn Estates, who hold the covenants on the land, to allow the changes needed at The Oval to take place.

Today Athletic founder and manager Rhys Lane revealed a lack of players had caused the club’s downfall.

“Lack of available players and lack of players able to commit from last season has proved too much,” he said. “The formation of Conwy and Llandudno reserve sides has taken the pool of players I’d normally pick from.”

Life was tough for Athletic when they first entered the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League six seasons ago.

At the end of their first campaign, they finished bottom of Division One, failing to record a win in 18 matches and conceding 166 goals.

Such a nightmare debut season would have caused many clubs to pack in – but not Athletic.

The following season the team got that elusive first win – they managed six in all – and finished seventh out of 10 in Division One.

In 2016-17, there was further improvement with Athletic ending up fifth with 12 wins and an impressive 82 goals under their belt.

The graph continued to show an upward curve in 2017-18 when Athletic won 17 out of 22 starts and claimed runners-up spot to seal promotion to the Premier Division. They were also beaten finalists in the REM Jones Cup.

The 2018-19 season proved to be the club’s finest.

Not only did they finish second in the Premier, they also won their first-ever trophies, landing both the Premier Cup and Presidents Cup, defeating Abergele in the finals at Denbigh Town.

During 2018-19, Athletic beat the champions Llandudno Amateurs twice in the league – 4-1 away and 4-3 at home – and 4-2 in the President’s Cup, but a pair of defeats to Abergele and an unexpected draw versus Cerrigydrudion ultimately cost them the Premier title.

Last season saw Athletic suffer from a lack of fixtures before Covid-19 wiped out the campaign completely in March.

Athletic’s league record

18 0-1-17-14-166
18 6-2-10-53-88 (7th of 10)
22 12-4-6-82-63 (5th of 12)
22 17-3-2-93-30 (2nd of 12)
16 11-2-3-59-32 (2nd of 9 – Premier)
10 3-1-6-17-29 (9th of 11 – Premier)

Played: 106 Won: 49 Drawn: 13 Lost: 44 Goals For: 318 Goals Against: 408

Honours – Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League

Premier Cup winners 2018-19
Presidents Cup winners 2018-19

Premier Division runners-up 2018-19
REM Jones Cup runners-up 2017-18
Division One runners-up 2017-18

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