2020 marks 40 years since the birth of Blaenau Amateurs Football Club.
Formed in 1980 amid unrest over long-established CPD Blaenau Ffestiniog not giving enough opportunities to local talent, the Amateurs are now the sole club representing the town.
And these are exciting times at Cae Clyd, with the club now bearing the name CPD Amaturiaid Blaenau Ffestiniog Amateurs FC preparing to participate in tier 3 of the new Welsh pyramid.
Football in Blaenau Ffestiniog dates back to the 1880’s when clubs such as Ffestiniog Town, Blue Stars, Ffestiniog Juniors and Ffestiniog Athletic played regular friendlies.
The year 1906 saw the first appearance of a Blaenau side in the senior leagues when Ffestiniog Town entered the North Wales Coast League, winning it in 1912–13.
Reforming after the First World War as “Blaenau Ffestiniog Comrades of the Great War FC” the club grew and became Blaenau Ffestiniog FC.
Playing in the Welsh National League and North Wales Combination until, on its formation in 1934, joining the Welsh League North, the Quarrymen went on to enjoy numerous successes.
They were crowned Welsh League North champions five times in all, including landing three titles in a row in 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1973-74.
Only Porthmadog (six-time champions) bettered Blaenau’s record in this league until its dissolved in 1984.
Ffestiniog also scooped five Cookson Cups and one Barritt Cup.
The highlight was the 1971-72 season when they won the Welsh League, North Wales Coast Challenge Cup, Alves Cup and Cookson Cup.
The club even competed in the FA Cup for three seasons between 1972 and 1975 the FA Trophy from 1970-76.
However, following the club’s 1980 Welsh League North title and Welsh Amateur Cup (now the FAW Trophy) triumphs, the face of football in Blaenau changed.
Tension between local players and the club led to the formation of Blaenau Amateurs with former West Bromwich Albion star Gwilym Roberts appointed manager.
CPD Blaenau Ffestiniog continued in the Welsh League North until 1984 and then after two seasons in its successor Welsh Alliance League folded.
Blaenau Amateurs (1980 – )
The newly-formed Blaenau Amateurs joined the local Vale of Conwy League in 1980-81, but had to wait until 1987-88 before winning the Section A title.
They were promoted to the Gwynedd League, spending eight seasons there with a highest finish of fourth, before financial difficulties meant them having to resign in 1996.
Blaenau Amateurs returned to the Vale of Conwy League and celebrated their finest achievement yet when being crowned champions in 1998-99.
After nine seasons of more than holding their own back in the Gwynedd League, Blaenau hit new heights in lifting that title in 2008-09.
For the last 11 seasons, the Quarrymen had operated in the Welsh Alliance League before it disbanded in 2019-20.
Blaenau spent most of their time in Division Two, but in a breakthrough 2018-19 campaign they came runners-up after leading the table for a number of months.
This meant their final season as a Welsh Alliance club was spent in Division One.
Cae Clyd has undergone some considerable improvements in preparation for life in Tier Three
Blaenau Amateurs confirmed that Geraint Owen and Mel Roberts will be the co-managers of the first team this season (when or if it starts with COVID-19 still at large).
Both coaches are familiar faces at the club, and have been part of the training team at Cae Clyd with former manager Ceri Roberts.
Having taken the Quarrymen from almost bottom of Welsh Alliance Division Two four years ago into Division One, Roberts leaves a much rejuvenated side, now looking forward to competing in Tier Three.
Two seasons ago, the Amateurs achieved second place in Welsh Alliance Division Two, ending up just two points behind champions Glan Conwy, and securing promotion.
At the completion of the curtailed 2019-20 campaign, they were a solid 12th in Division One, and having met the necessary criteria to compete at Tier Three of the restructured Welsh pyramid, they will operate in the Ardal North West division this season.
While a few familiar faces have left Cae Clyd in pre-season, some promising new names have joined the Amateurs.
Prolific scorer Meilir Williams joined Conwy Borough earlier this summer, while Seb Owen, Dion Rhys Williams and Tom Hughes have also moved on.
However, highly-rated striker Cai Henshaw is back at Cae Clyd, as is former Quarryman Bryn Humphreys after a short stint at Penrhyndeudraeth.
Defenders Joe Soar and Liam Watson have also switched to Blaenau, as well as Iwan Thomas, a midfield maestro who spent many years at Penrhyndeudraeth.
Blaenau Amateurs have one or two famous names in their corner.
Club president is Mici Plwm, a popular Welsh television and stage actor.
He is probably best known as Plwmsan y Twmffat bach Twp, dim-witted side-kick of Syr Wynff ap Concord y Bos in S4C’s Anturiaethau Syr Wynff a Plwmsan show.
Born Michael Lloyd Jones in Llan Ffestiniog, Sir Feirionydd, in 1944, Mici is renowned mainly for appearing in children’s programmes, but also once had a role in BBC’s epic series The Onedin Line.
Back in 1987, in my very early reporting days, I visited Mici in hospital to cover a story on him sustaining a broken leg (I think) during filming.
While there, he was visited by his producer Gareth Lloyd Williams and none other than Wynford Ellis Owen, aka Syr Wynff. And very pleasant they all were too.
Dewi Prysor is Blaenau Amateurs’ social media officer.
A native of Cwm Prysor, near Trawsfynydd, he is a stonemason, a poet, a composer and author.
His first three novels, Brithyll, Madarch and Crawia, formed a trilogy.
His fourth, Lladd Duw (Killing God; Y Lolfa, 2010), was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2011, and won the Golwg 360 People’s Choice Award.
Other more recent novels include Cig a Gwaed (2012), Rifiera Reu (2015) and Ibuprofen S’il Vous Plaît! Mwy Na Stori Bêl-droed (2016).
Dewi is a very popular figure in many areas of Welsh culture.
He has recorded music, written scripts for a number of S4C series and presented the programmes Darn Bach o Hanes and Stori Pêl-droed Cymru.
Blaenau Amateurs – league record since 1980
1980-81: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 5th
1981-82: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 4th
1982-83: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 4th
1983-84: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 3rd
1984-85: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 3rd
1985-86: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 4th
1986-87: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 2nd
1987-88: Vale of Conwy League Section A – 1st
1988-89: Gwynedd League – 10th of 14
1989-90: Gwynedd League – 4th of 13
1990-91: Gwynedd League – 12th of 15
1991-92: Gwynedd League – 11th of 14
1992-93: Gwynedd League – 9th of 17
1993-94: Gwynedd League – 12th of 18
1994-95: Gwynedd League – 4th of 15
1995-96: Gwynedd League – 9th of 16
(club resigned from Gwynedd League due to financial difficulties and returned to Vale of Conwy where they had operated a reserve side)
1996-97: Vale of Conwy League – 14th of 16
1997-98: Vale of Conwy League – 3rd of 14
1998-99: Vale of Conwy League – 1st of 13
1999-2000; Gwynedd League – 8th of 15
2000-01: Gwynedd League – 5th of 14
2001-02: Gwynedd League – 7th of 13
2002-03: Gwynedd League Premier Division – 8th of 13
2003-04: Gwynedd League Premier Division – 8th of 14
2004-05: Gwynedd League – 3rd of 15
2005-06: Gwynedd League – 11th of 16
2006-07: Gwynedd League – 7th of 16
2007-08: Gwynedd League – 6th of 16
2008-09: Gwynedd League – 1st of 15
2009-10: Welsh Alliance League – 12th of 16
2010-11: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 11th of 11
2011-12: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 8th of 12
2012-13: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 9th of 13
2013-14: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 10th of 13
2014-15: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 8th of 16
2015-16: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 12th of 12
2016-17: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 14th of 14
2017-18: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 11th of 15
2018-19: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 2nd of 15
2019-20: Welsh Alliance Division One – 12th of 16
CPD Blaenau Ffestiniog (main football honours)
Welsh League North champions: 1961-62, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1979-80
North Wales Coast League champions: 1912-13 (Ffestiniog Town)
Cookson Cup winners: 1958-59, 1960/61. 1969/70, 1971/72, 1972/73
Barritt Cup winners: 1980-81
Alves Cup winners 1971-72
NWCFA Challenge Cup winners: 1958-59, 1971-72
FAW Trophy winners: 1979-80
Blaenau Amateurs (main honours)
Gwynedd League champions: 2008-09
Vale of Conwy League champions: 1987-88, 1998-99
Welsh Alliance League Division Two runners-up: 2018-19
Frank Tyldesley Trophy winners: 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87
Vale of Conwy League Challenge Cup winners: 1987-88
Gwynedd League President’s Cup winners: 2003-04; 2004-05
Gwynedd Cup winners: 2004-05