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Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:37


SUNDAY 6th MAY: Latham Park, heatwave. 



Although many - okay, probably most - football fans in Wales regard Cardiff City's lunchtime promotion decider as the big game today, for those of us who prefer our football Welsh, the place to be is Latham Park rather than Ninian Park. The JD Welsh Cup final is one of the biggest days in our domestic football calendar and if this year's can deliver half the drama of the 2017 final, it will be well worth the journey.


Yes, the journey: getting to and from mid Wales on a Sunday is a challenge - as difficult in its own way as Bangor was last year, given the limited transport options. I'm fortunate to have successfully begged a lift up to Newtown with one of the broadcasters, and I'm sure I'll get home somehow. That's something to sort out later. The journey by road isn't plain sailing - an accident sends us on a 30-minute diversion east of Brecon - and it's just as well we left Cardiff early. On arrival at Latham Park, the car parks are filling up and there's a festival vibe in the bank holiday heat. Inside the ground, children's football is being staged on the 3G, but as the spectators for the main event begin to arrive this gives way to a music stage over in the far corner. If this passes unnoticed and unappreciated by most people in the 1,455 crowd, the same certainly can't be said of the RAF Falcons' parachute display which delivers half a dozen paras and the match-ball onto the pitch.


After all this, it's time for some football, although it's hardly the weather for it. Blazing sunshine, heat in the mid-twenties, glorious, for sure, but a timely reminder why I abhor the idea of summer football (a conviction that had been wavering during the endless winter and spring months of postponements). But I can't help pondering the contrast from my visit here just a month ago- something in between these extremes would be more comfortable.  Aberystwyth Town and Connah's Quay Nomads enter the stage, with a place in the First Round of the Europa League for the winners.


Logic says Nomads are hot favourites, but Aber manager Nev Powell's Welsh Cup record (with Bangor) is enough to allow a scintilla of doubt. There are conspiracy theorists too, believing it will be in Nomads best interests to lose today and get an easier Preliminary Round opportunity in Europe, but the idea of Andy Morrison not wanting to get a trophy win is preposterous. In pre-match discussions with fellow neutrals, the idea of an early Aber goal is popular. We fear that if Nomads go 1-0 up they'll shut up shop and leave us - and the live TV audience - with less of a spectacle.

Published in Football
Monday, 14 August 2017 08:43


SUNDAY 13th AUGUST. Jenner Park, warm and dry.

A lot has happened since Jenner Park last hosted a Welsh Premier game, especially for the home club: nearly a decade of decline and despair, then crisis and finally a four year phoenix-like rise. Today is the culmination of that rise and the efforts that have made it possible. Fittingly, the S4C team are here to broadcast Barry's big day on live TV, but 902 spectators are here too [later confirmed as Barry's 5th largest ever attendance in the national league]. An impressive number, bearing in mind it's holiday season'; the match is being televised; the odd Sunday tea-time kick-off time deterring long-distance travellers; and the competing attractions of Man United and World athletics on television.

Published in Football
Friday, 15 August 2014 06:21

ISSUE 175 (August 2014)

WF 175 cover

Welsh Football Issue 175 - published 14th August 2014

Contents include:

UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Regions Cup reports

2014-15 previews and fixtures for Welsh competitions

Spotlight on Llandrindod Wells

Stats feature - best & worst records in Wales 2013-14

Footballers from Wales and the Victoria Cross - part 1

Merthyr Football League centenary

Available at reduced price £2.55 inc postage.

Enquire for bank transfer or Paypal options.





Published in Publication Dates
Saturday, 12 July 2014 06:58


THURSDAY 10th JULY: Park Avenue. Warm and sunny.
ABERYSTWYTH TOWN 0 DERRY CITY 5 (Europa League, 1st Qualifying Round, 2nd Leg)
Just like last week, the quest to watch a Welsh team representing their country means a long journey west, to a distant edge of the country from my midweek base in Birmingham. Actually, getting to Aberystwyth from Birmingham is a little bit easier than getting there from within Wales, certainly from home in Cardiff: I'm able to catch a lunchtime train that is heading all the way to the Cambrian coast, although for Aber there's a change of trains in Machynlleth.

And, also like last week, the train journey is one of the most scenic in Wales, through the gentle countryside of Mid Wales, then along the Dovey estuary and the coast to Aber. I don't think I'll ever be able to pass through the final stop, Borth, without thinking of the atmospheric Welsh police drama 'Hinterland' - its magnificent old railway station starred in one memorable episode of the recent series.

Arriving in Aberystwyth by late afternoon, there's time to drop my bags and go for a stroll around the town. The seafront and castle ruins are at their best in this glorious weather, and locals and visitors are enjoying the sun, the beach and ice-creams. Already around town it's easy to spot small knots of Derry fans, resplendent in their distinctive red and white candy-striped shirts. The more sedate of them are exploring Aberystwyth, but the noisiest have turned The Old Station Wetherspoons into an Irish bar for the afternoon; their singing causes a few worried glances from the mostly elderly locals and holidaymakers near the station. I doubt if many even realise there's a match tonight - when I checked into my hotel the owner had no idea.

Published in Football
Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:51


SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER: The Marstons Stadium: dry, sunny and cold
AFAN LIDO 2 ABERYSTWYTH TOWN 1 (Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League)

Time to renew acquaintance with our national league, after weeks of watching cup football: and lo, I'm spoiled for choice today, a grand total of TWO Welsh Premier games in south Wales (well, if you stretch a point and count west Wales as south...).

Published in Football

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