Welsh Football League

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Welsh Football League
150px
Country  Wales
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)
Website League Website
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 Cymru Alliance and feeder leagues to the Cymru Alliance are its equivalent in North Wales and Mid 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.

It also has its own knock-out competition, the Nathaniel Car Sales Welsh Football League Cup. Cardiff City Reserves has the record of trophies won with 7 titles.

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.[1]

Interest in the new league was high and the formation of three divisions attracted no fewer than 25 clubs, including Corinthians from Cardiff.

Seven clubs formed the new top division and Aberdare were crowned as the inaugural champions, four points clear of Ebbw Vale following the round of 12 matches.

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

Structure

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.

Current Leagues

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.

Seasons Winner
Rhymney Valley League Division 1
1904–05
Aberdare
1905–06
Rogerstone
1906–07
Cwmaman
1907–08
Ton Pentre
1908–09
Aberdare
Glamorgan League Division 1
1909–10
Treharris
1910–11
Merthyr Town
1911–12
Aberdare
Welsh Football League Division 1
1912–13
Swansea Town Reserves
1913–14
Llanelli
1914–15
Ton Pentre
1915–1919
Not played due World War I
1919–20
Mid Rhondda
1920–21
Aberdare
1921–22
Porth
1922–23
Cardiff City Reserves
1923–24
Pontypridd Town
1924–25
Swansea Town Reserves
1925–26
Swansea Town Reserves
1926–27
Barry Town Reserves
1927–28
Newport County Reserves
1928–29
Cardiff City Reserves
1929–30
Llanelli
1930–31
Merthyr Town Reserves
1931–32
Lovell's Athletic
1932–33
Llanelli
1933–34
Swansea Town Reserves
1934–35
Swansea Town Reserves
1935–36
Swansea Town Reserves
1936–37
Newport County Reserves
1937–38
Lovell's Athletic
1938–39
Lovell's Athletic
1939–1945
Not played due World War II
1945–46
Lovell's Athletic
1946–47
Lovell's Athletic
1947–48
Lovell's Athletic
1948–49
Merthyr Town Reserves
1949–50
Merthyr Tydfil Reserves
1950–51
Swansea Town Reserves
1951–52
Merthyr Tydfil Reserves
1952–53
Ebbw Vale
1953–54
Pembroke Borough
1954–55
Newport County Reserves
1955–56
Pembroke Borough
1956–57
Haverfordwest County
1957–58
Ton Pentre
1958–59
Abergavenny Thursdays
1959–60
Abergavenny Thursdays
1960–61
Ton Pentre
1961–62
Swansea Town Reserves
1962–63
Swansea Town Reserves
1963–64
Swansea Town Reserves
Welsh Football League Premier Division
1964–65
Swansea Town Reserves
1965–66
Lovell's Athletic
1966–67
Cardiff City Reserves
1967–68
Cardiff City Reserves
1968–69
Bridgend Town
1969–70
Cardiff City Reserves
1970–71
Llanelli
1971–72
Cardiff City Reserves
1972–73
Bridgend Town
1973–74
Ton Pentre
1974–75
Newport County Reserves
1975–76
Swansea City Reserves
1976–77
Llanelli
1977–78
Llanelli
1978–79
Pontllanfraith
1979–80
Newport County Reserves
1980–81
Haverfordwest County
1981–82
Ton Pentre
1982–83
Barry Town
Welsh Football League National Division
1983–84
Barry Town
1984–85
Barry Town
1985–86
Barry Town
1986–87
Barry Town
1987–88
Ebbw Vale
1988–89
Barry Town
1989–90
Haverfordwest County
1990–91
Abergavenny Thursdays
1991–92
Abergavenny Thursdays

Performance by club

  • 22 Clubs won Top Division of the Welsh League (1904–1992) in South Wales.
Club Wins Winning Years
Swansea Town / City Reserves
12
1912–13, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1950–51, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1975–76
Lovell's Athletic
7
1931–32, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1965–66
Barry Town & Reserves
7
1926–27, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89
Cardiff City Reserves
6
1922–23, 1928–29, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1971–72
Llanelli
6
1913–14, 1929–30, 1932–33, 1970–71, 1976–77, 1977–78
Ton Pentre
6
1907–08, 1914–15, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1973–74, 1981–82
Newport County Reserves
5
1927–28, 1936–37, 1954–55, 1974–75, 1979–80
Aberdare
4
1904–05, 1908–09, 1911–12, 1920–21
Abergavenny Thursdays
4
1958–59, 1959–60, 1990–91, 1991–92
Merthyr Town & Reserves
3
1910–11, 1930–31, 1948–49
Haverfordwest County
3
1956–57, 1980–81, 1989–90
Merthyr Tydfil Reserves
2
1949–50, 1951–52
Pembroke Borough
2
1953–54, 1955–56
Bridgend Town
2
1968–69, 1972–73
Ebbw Vale
2
1952–53, 1987–88
Rogerstone
1
1905–06
Cwmaman
1
1906–07
Treharris
1
1909–10
Mid Rhondda
1
1919–20
Porth
1
1921–22
Pontypridd Town
1
1923–24
Pontllanfraith
1
1978–79

Welsh Football League Division One (1992–present)

In 1992 it became level two of the Welsh Football Pyramid following the creation of the Welsh Premier League.

Seasons Winner
Welsh Football League Division 1
1992–93
Ton Pentre
1993–94
Barry Town
1994–95
Briton Ferry Athletic
1995–96
Carmarthen Town
1996–97
Haverfordwest County
1997–98
Ton Pentre
1998–99
Ton Pentre
1999–00
Ton Pentre
2000–01
Ton Pentre
2001–02
Ton Pentre
2002–03
Bettws
2003–04
Llanelli
2004–05
Ton Pentre
2005–06
Goytre United
2006–07
Neath Athletic
2007–08
Goytre United
2008–09
Aberdare Town
2009–10
Goytre United
2010–11
Bryntirion Athletic
2011–12
Cambrian & Clydach
2012–13
West End
2013–14
Monmouth Town
2014–15
Caerau (Ely)
2015–16

Performance by club

Club Wins Winning Years
Ton Pentre
7
1992–93, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2004–05
Goytre United
3
2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10
Barry Town
1
1993–94
Briton Ferry Athletic
1
1994–95
Carmarthen Town
1
1995–96
Haverfordwest County
1
1996–97
Bettws
1
2002–03
Llanelli
1
2003–04
Neath Athletic
1
2006–07
Aberdare Town
1
2008–09
Bryntirion Athletic
1
2010–11
Cambrian & Clydach
1
2011–12
West End
1
2012–13
Monmouth Town
1
2013–14
Caerau (Ely)
1
2014–15

External links

References

  1. "South Wales League History". Welsh Football Data Archive (WFDA). Retrieved 19 June 2011. 

See also