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Wednesday, 04 May 2016 10:08

The Double Treble

MONDAY 2nd MAY. The Glyndwr Racecourse Stadium - hail, rain & sunny intervals.
AIRBUS UK BROUGHTON 0 THE NEW SAINTS 2 (JD Welsh Cup Final)
Back on the northbound train, for the second time in three days, and heading for Wrexham, the chosen venue for this year's Welsh Cup final. I'm ambivalent about the choice, as neither finalist has a huge supporter base, and the locals in Wrexham are indifferent to Welsh football - this means only one side of the Racecourse will be open (the antiquated main stand). The FAW have done everything possible to promote the game via social media, but once again huge sections of mainstream media ignore the occasion - and the potentially historic achievement if the Saints can secure the domestic treble for the second year running.

Before the game, there's plenty of activity in what's left of the Racecourse car park, with a merchandise stall doing reasonably brisk business in a range including friendship scarves, until increasingly heavy showers start to send everyone dashing for cover. We hope the showers will pass...

Inside, as kick off approaches, the atmosphere on the stand side is good, with the lower tiers full - the green TNS supporters to the town end, the blue Airbus fans towards the scoreboard end, and neutrals scattered around. The pre-match formalities (anthem, presentations etc) take place in drier conditions, and the game starts with TNS kicking towards the empty stand at the scoreboard end, although in fact most of the early action takes place in front of the decaying terrace at the other end. Airbus are taking the game to the holders, and are creating - but not taking - chances. [article continues, if not visible click on Read More below]

Published in Football

Two weeks after the final act of the 2014-15 Welsh season - the promotion play off in south Wales - the curtain went up on the 2015-16 season with the much-awaited UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualifying round draws. In between, in the absence of a proper close season, the summer solstice seemed to mark the changing of the football seasons too: as the days begin to shorten, thoughts turn to autumn and winter, but long before that we have some summer action in Europe coming up.

It's an unfortunate feature of the UEFA calendar that the smallest nations in its "family", those who contest these earliest rounds of the two cups, are given barely a week to plan the biggest games of their year, and arrange tricky overseas travel for parties of players and officials. UEFA can of course point to the six-figure distributions to all competing clubs as justification for the demands, but surely it's not unreasonable to ask for just another week or two between draw and action?

Fans too face the challenges of arranging trips into Europe at short-notice, so the days following the draws are typically involve a day or so of uncertainty about dates, venues and kick off times, followed by frantic searching for and booking the best travel options. It's only when all that is in place that we can start to assess our hopes and expectations for the four clubs representing us in Europe's premier club competitions.

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.

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Published in Publication Dates
Sunday, 06 July 2014 07:18

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Thursday 3rd July 2014, The Book People Stadium, Nantporth. Sun, wind and drizzle.
AIRBUS UK BROUGHTON 1 FH HAUGESUND 1 (UEFA Europa League 1st Qualifying Round, 1st Leg)
While most of the football world is watching and talking about the World Cup (although it's a non-match day in Brazil today), in a number of European football outposts the focus is on European competition. Three of our Welsh teams are in action tonight - Aberysywyth Town and Bangor City away and Airbus at home, although as the Broughton side cannot use their own Airfield ground, nor Wrexham's Racecourse, they're actually playing over 60 miles west of home, at Bangor's ground. Inconvenient for their supporters, and in fact for me too: the logistics of arranging trips to these games, at short notice, during the working week are bad enough, but Bangor is a long way both from home and work. Given more notice (longer between draw and games) I might have managed to arrange a trip to Derry for Aberystwyth's away leg, but Bangor's just about possible, by taking the afternoon off and making a hasty getaway after the game.

Published in Football

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