What unique achievement do the former Rhyl FC hold as their own ?

Rhyl celebrate their 2003-04 Welsh Premier title win. Picture supplied by Rhyl FC

Which is the only North Wales football club to win a championship at every level of the pyramid it entered since our national league was first formed in 1992-93?

The answer to the question is tinged with sadness because the club as we all knew it does not exist any more.

Rhyl FC won the top-flight Welsh Premier League in 2003-04 and 2008-09, plus the tier-two Cymru Alliance title in 1993-94 and 2012-13.

Rhyl Reserves were crowned tier-three Welsh Alliance League champions in 2003-04, while Rhyl Thirds topped the fourth-tier Clwyd League Premier Division in both 2002-03 and 2003-04.

A great achievement made all the more poignant by the fact the club founded in 1879 dissolved this year. Rhyl FC were wound up on April 21, 2020.

A phoenix club was set up the following month with the new name of CPD Y Rhyl 1879.

The new club has secured the use of the Belle Vue stadium where its predecessor played for more than 100 years.

Rhyl FC won other leagues in their proud existence, the Cheshire County and the North Wales Coast among them.

But when the League of Wales was born in 1992-93, a new-look pyramid began and Rhyl won a championship in each competition they entered a team.

The Titles

Welsh Premier 2003-04

John Hulse was the Lilywhites’ manager in a truly remarkable season for the club.

As well as lifting the Welsh Premier title for a first time, Rhyl also scooped the Welsh Cup, League Cup and NWCFA Challenge Cup. They also made it to the FAW Premier Cup final, losing 4-1 to Wrexham.

Andy Moran, Lee Hunt, Tim Edwards, Steve Walters and Marc Limbert were among the star players.

Welsh Premier 2008-09

Allan Bickerstaff and future Wales national team technical director Osian Roberts led a star-studded Rhyl outfit to a second title.

Ex-Wrexham and Wales aces Neil Roberts and Gareth Owen, defensive giants Greg Strong and George Horan and goal king Jamie Reed were just some of the class operators on show.

Cymru Alliance 1993-94

In 1992, Rhyl reluctantly decided to join the League of Wales, but because their application was received too late, they were placed instead in the Cymru Alliance, the second level of the pyramid system.

In 1993–94, they won the title by six points and gained promotion to the LoW.

Stars of that Cymru Alliance championship side included goal-getters Adie Jones, Stuart Manders and Tony Livens.

Local lads, such as goalkeeper Mark Fairhurst, defender Chris Espley and the versatile Scott Millington all played a big part.

Cymru Alliance 2012-13

The invincibles of 2012-13

This Lilies team achieved something that will never be matched, winning the former Cymru Alliance (now known as the Cymru North) without losing a single game.

Wins 24, draws 6, losses 0, goals scored 100, conceded 24 were their final stats, Cefn Druids the nearest challengers nine points behind.

It was very much a squad effort, but the goals of Steve Lewis, Marc Evans, Paul McManus, Dave Forbes, Tom Rowlands and James Gambino were a major factor, while John Leah and Mark Powell provided the experience and Russell Courtney was an inspirational skipper.

Welsh Alliance 2003-04

Dave Fuller guided a cracking Rhyl Reserves side to a first and only Welsh Alliance championship.

The Lilywhites finished 13 points clear of runners-up Llandyrnog United.

Top marksman was Stewart White, who netted 24 goals and went on to play for Connah’s Quay and Caersws.

Jon Fisher-Cooke, later a success at Prestatyn Town, scored 16 times, and Mike Walsh, who went on to land the Welsh Cup twice with Bangor City, bagged 12 goals from midfield.

Gary Roberts, who later shone in the Football League, featured in three matches.

Clwyd League Premier Division 2002-03 and 2003-04

Gavin Parry led the short-lived but very impressive Rhyl Thirds team to back-to-back Premier titles.

Mike Roose, one of the most prolific marksmen in North Wales football at the time, led the goals charge.

When Dave Fuller stepped down at the end of 2003/04 to concentrate on playing, Parry took on the reserves manager’s role.

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