Welsh Football League
|Founded||1904 (as Rhymney Valley League Division 1)|
|Number of teams||48 (16 in each division)|
|Level on pyramid||1 (1904–1992)
2, 3 and 4 (1992–present)
|Promotion to||Welsh Premier League|
|Relegation to||Carmarthenshire League Premier Division
Gwent County League Division One
Neath & District League Premier Division
Pembrokeshire League Division One
South Wales Amateur League Division One
South Wales Senior League Division One
Swansea Senior League Division One
|Domestic cup(s)||Welsh Cup
Welsh Football League Cup
|Current champions||Caerau (Ely)
| 2014–15 Welsh Football League Division One
2014–15 Welsh Football League Division Two
2014–15 Welsh Football League Division Three
The Welsh Football League (also known as the Nathaniel Car Sales Welsh Football League for sponsorship reasons) is a club football league in Wales. Division One of the Welsh Football League is at Level 2 of the Welsh football league system, immediately below the national Welsh Premier League.
The Welsh Football League's history stretches back to 1904 when the competition was first formed and Aberdare were crowned first champions of a seven-team First Division. Abergavenny were champions of Division 2 and Trelewis the winners of Division 3.
Its current title was adopted in 1912 when it changed from the Glamorgan League. Prior to that it was known as the Rhymney Valley League (1904–1909).
During the early days of the Rhymney Valley and Glamorgan League's there was also the South Wales League (1890–1911) but this competition had no connection with the origins of the Welsh Football League.
Despite its name, the Welsh Football League covers only South Wales.
The Welsh Football League Division Three is above the Level 5 leagues: Carmarthenshire League, Gwent County League, Neath & District League, Pembrokeshire League, South Wales Amateur League, South Wales Senior League and the Swansea Senior League.
The first season in 1904–05
In April 1904 the Merthyr Express newspaper reported that a new football league would be formed in addition to the South Wales League which had been in existence since 1891.
This new competition would be named the Rhymney Valley League and the reason for its creation was due to the South Wales League being 'overly dominated by Cardiff clubs, though the number of teams from Cardiff barely numbered more than a couple in any one season.
Interest in the new league was high and the formation of three divisions attracted no fewer than 25 clubs, including Corinthians from Cardiff.
Competing clubs in the first Rhymney Valley League Campaign:
- Division One
- Aberdare - 1st
- Ebbw Vale - 2nd
- Treharris (Merthyr Tydfil) - 3rd
- Rogerstone (Newport) - 4th
- Barry District - 5th
- Llanbradach (Caerphilly) - 6th
- Cardiff Corinthians - 7th
- Division Two
- Abergavenny - 1st
- Treharris Reserves - 2nd
- Pontlottyn (Caerphilly) - 3rd
- New Tredegar (Caerphilly) - 4th
- Gilfach (Caerphilly) - 5th
- Abertysswg (Caerphilly) - 6th
- Bedlinog (Merthyr Tydfil) - 7th
- Ebbw Vale Reserves - 8th
- Rhymney (Caerphilly) - 9th
- Bargoed (Caerphilly) - 10th
- Dukestown (Blaenau Gwent) - 11th
- Division Three
- Trelewis (Merthyr Tydfil) - 1st
- Pontlottyn Reserves - 2nd
- Bedlinog Reserves - 3rd
- Quakers Yard (Merthyr Tydfil) - 4th
- Bargoed Reserves - 5th
- Llanbradach Crusaders - 6th
- Brithdir Reserves - 7th
The league is made up of three divisions (named the Welsh Football League Division One, the Welsh Football League Division Two and the Welsh Football League Division Three) each having 16 clubs. There is promotion and relegation between the divisions, with the top three teams in each division being promoted to the one above and the bottom three being relegated to the one below. The winner of the First Division may be promoted to the national Welsh Premier League (subject to ground facilities), the highest level of Welsh football.
The bottom three teams in the Third Division may be relegated to the appropriate parallel regional league running below the Welsh Football League, subject to champions of the feeder leagues being promoted, again assuming ground criteria being met. This number totalled four in 2011, despite only two teams being promoted, in order for the three divisions to number 16 clubs.
Normally, the top clubs from each of the two feeder leagues (the Welsh Football League and the Cymru Alliance) are promoted subject to an application for membership of the Welsh Premier League being received and accepted and the stadium and infrastructure safety criteria of that League being met.
Neath Athletic were promoted as champions in 2007 while Afan Lido made their return in 2011, despite finishing as runners-up to Bryntirion Athletic. Goytre United (in 2008 & 2010) and Aberdare Town (in 2009) were champions in recent years but didn't move up.
- Welsh Football League Division One
- Welsh Football League Division Two
- Welsh Football League Division Three
Top Division of the Welsh League (1904–1992)
Since its inception in 1904 it has always been the top flight of the Welsh League for the teams located in South Wales.
This division has changed its name on numerous occasions.
Performance by club
- 22 Clubs won Top Division of the Welsh League (1904–1992) in South Wales.
|Swansea Town / City Reserves||
||1912–13, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1950–51, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1975–76|
||1931–32, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1965–66|
|Barry Town & Reserves||
||1926–27, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89|
|Cardiff City Reserves||
||1922–23, 1928–29, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1971–72|
||1913–14, 1929–30, 1932–33, 1970–71, 1976–77, 1977–78|
||1907–08, 1914–15, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1973–74, 1981–82|
|Newport County Reserves||
||1927–28, 1936–37, 1954–55, 1974–75, 1979–80|
||1904–05, 1908–09, 1911–12, 1920–21|
||1958–59, 1959–60, 1990–91, 1991–92|
|Merthyr Town & Reserves||
||1910–11, 1930–31, 1948–49|
||1956–57, 1980–81, 1989–90|
|Merthyr Tydfil Reserves||
Welsh Football League Division One (1992–present)
||Briton Ferry Athletic|
||Cambrian & Clydach|
Performance by club
||1992–93, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2004–05|
||2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10|
|Briton Ferry Athletic||
|Cambrian & Clydach||
- "South Wales League History". Welsh Football Data Archive (WFDA). Retrieved 19 June 2011.