Gafyn Buckland recalls when Llangefni Town hit the skids – only to bounce back gloriously

Gafyn Buckland (yellow) in action for Llangefni Town. Picture: Nionyn Williams

Since the turn of the 1990’s Llangefni Town Football Club have known very little else than success.

A record five Welsh Alliance League titles, two Cymru Alliance championships, becoming one of only two Anglesey clubs to feature in the top flight Welsh Premier and rejoicing at being the sole island team to lift the Welsh Intermediate Cup/FAW Trophy.

It has been quite a ride for Cefni over the past 30 years or so, but it was not that long ago that things turned sour.

After winning the 2009-10 Cymru Alliance title, Town were set for another stab at the Welsh Premier – their previous stay in 2007-08 lasted just a season – but the FAW denied the islanders promotion on ground criteria issues.

This proved a big blow to Cefni, who finished just 10th in the tier two league the following season before being relegated in 2011/12.

After a disastrous return to the Welsh Alliance, finishing rock bottom of Division Two, Llangefni found themselves back in the Anglesey League in 2013-14.

However, the appointment of Chris Roberts saw the tide turn and Town are now back in the second tier Cymru North.

Current Llangefni Town Reserves manager Gafyn Buckland was a Cefni player in that 2010-11 campaign where the club had to accept staying in the Cymru Alliance. He recalls there being a deflated atmosphere at Lon Talwrn, which was to get worse before it got better.

But Gafyn has been proud to see Cefni pick themselves off the floor and become Anglesey’s joint-highest ranked club again.

Grahame Austin (dark blue) wins a header for Llangefni against Rhos Aelwyd in the 2010-11 season

Recalling that 2010-11 season, Gafyn said: “Llangefni were managed by Allan Bickerstaff and Gus Williams at the time and the squad was full of talented players including Darren Thomas, Mark ‘Loggs’ Evans, Kevin Roberts, Grahame Austin and Steve Kehoe.

“We were denied promotion to the Welsh Premier the previous season due to issues with the ground, so due to this I think the team definitely lost focus and momentum which resulted in a mid-table finish.

“From a personal point of view it was definitely my best season as a player. I started the season at Gwalchmai and was involved in the impressive Welsh Cup run that eventually came to an end against Port Talbot.

“I was in and out of the team so I decided to move back to Llangefni in January and was looking forward to playing regularly for the reserves.

“To my surprise I was immediately called up to the first team squad and ended up being a regular in the side at right back or right wing.

“Our last game at Guilsfield was bittersweet as we ended the season on a high, winning 2-0 and I even got on the scoresheet. But this turned out to be the final game for the management and players as most of the squad left for Porthmadog in the summer.”

Gafyn (background – left, dark blue and yellow) in action for Llangefni during 2010-11

There then followed a dramatic slump in Cefni’s fortunes.

Gafyn said: “The next 3 years proved to be a very difficult and challenging time for the club on and off the field, which eventually saw us being relegated to the Anglesey League.

“I was proud to be part of the side managed by Vince Williams and Dave Roberts that won the Dargie Cup in 2014 and this definitely kick started Llangefni’s revival.

“Chris Roberts became first team manager the following season and thankfully the club have gone from strength to strength since he took over.

“The challenge is for the club to continue to grow and compete at a high level every season.

“Peter Davies, Alwyn Jones and other committee members are working very hard behind the scenes and lessons have been learned from what happened to the club after the 2010/11 season. Hopefully this will never happen again.”

Llangefni Town FC – recent league history

Llangefni manager Chris Roberts celebrates winning the 2018/19 Welsh Alliance title

1988-89: Gwynedd League – 1st of 14 (CHAMPIONS)
1989-90: Gwynedd League – 1st of 13 (CHAMPIONS)
1990-91: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 15 (CHAMPIONS)
1991-92: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 15 (CHAMPIONS)
1992-93: Welsh Alliance – 3rd of 17
1993-94: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 18 (CHAMPIONS)
1994-95: Welsh Alliance – 6th of 18
1995-96: Welsh Alliance – 8th of 15
1996-97: Welsh Alliance – 13th of 14
1997-98: Welsh Alliance – 5th of 14
1998-99: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 19 (CHAMPIONS)
1999-2000: Cymru Alliance – 9th of 17
2000-01: Cymru Alliance – 2nd of 17
2001-02: Cymru Alliance – 2nd of 17 (as Llangefni & Glantraeth)
2002-03: Cymru Alliance – 4th of 17 (as Llangefni & Glantraeth)
2003-04: Cymru Alliance – 5th of 17
2004-05: Cymru Alliance – 3rd of 18
2005-06: Cymru Alliance – 5th of 18
2006-07: Cymru Alliance – 1st of 18 (CHAMPIONS)
2007-08: Welsh Premier – 18th of 18
2008-09: Cymru Alliance – 3rd of 17
2009-10: Cymru Alliance – 1st of 17 (CHAMPIONS)
2010-11: Cymru Alliance – 10th of 16
2011-12: Cymru Alliance – 15th of 16
2012-13: Welsh Alliance Division One – 15th of 15
2013-14: Anglesey League – 7th of 11
2014-15: Welsh Alliance Division Two – 2nd of 16
2015-16: Welsh Alliance Division One – 3rd of 16
2016-17: Welsh Alliance Division One – 3rd of 16
2017-18: Welsh Alliance Division One – 2nd of 15
2018-19: Welsh Alliance Division One – 1st of 15 (CHAMPIONS)
2019-20: Cymru North – 13th of 16

CLUB HONOURS (38)

League titles

Anglesey League 7 (2 by reserve team – 6 top division, 1 second division); Welsh Alliance 5; Cymru Alliance 2; Gwynedd League 2.

Cups

Dargie Cup 6; Elias Cup 2; Megan Cup 1; Thomas & Williams Cup 1; Cookson Cup 2; Mawddach/Barritt Cup 3; FAW Trophy 1; NWCFA Junior Cup 1; Alves Cup 1; Eryri Shield 3 AEEU Cup 1.

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