This is an unofficial guide to the Cymru Alliance. All photos are my own (of which some are a few years old and may not reflect the ground now). Please let me know of any inaccuracies or missing details.
The Cymru Alliance has been going 27 seasons. It is the northern section of second tier football in Wales. Welsh Second Division North (or Championship North if you’re under 30). The other second division is The Welsh Football League, based mostly on the south coast. The early regionalisation is due to the difficult geography of Wales combined with the size of the country and clubs. It’s not feasible to expect (say) Flint Town United to travel down to the likes of Haverfordwest County on a regular basis.
While the South-based Welsh League is fed from its second division, the Cymru Alliance is fed by three leagues; the Welsh Alliance, spreading across the northern coast from Anglesey to Flintshire; the Welsh National League, centred around Wrexham; and the Mid Wales League – from around Welshpool to the Brecon Beacons.
The Cymru Alliance has 16 teams, with the champions promoted to the Welsh Premier (providing their ground is up to standard) and three teams relegated to the three feeder leagues. However, a strange quirk which happened in 2016-17, is that if two Northern based teams are relegated from the Welsh Premier; rather than transfer the most southerly side (Rhayader Town in this instance) to the Welsh League, they relegate four clubs from the Cymru Alliance.
The unfortunate victims of this rule were Llanfair United, who finished fourth bottom, as Rhyl and Airbus UK Broughton were relegated from the Welsh Premier. Joining Llanfair United in relegation were Buckley Town (16th), Conwy Borough (15th) and Mold Alexander (14th). Coming up were Llandudno Junction from the Welsh Alliance, FC Queen’s Park from the Welsh National League and Rhayader Town from the Mid Wales League.
Facts about the grounds
- FC Queen’s Park normally play at ‘The Dunks’, a pitch outside the Queensway Athletic Stadium in Wrexham. However, in order to play in the Cymru Alliance they are sharing with Lex XI at Stansty Park, also in Wrexham.
- I believe Caersws have a new stand since the picture was taken on the other long side of the ground.
- Denbigh Town have extended their stand and are to put 470 seats in, ready for the 2017-18 season.
- I believe Penrhyncoch have another stand behind the goal, since the picture was taken.
- Guilsfield have two new stands since the picture was taken.
The Cymru Alliance is one of my favourite leagues. In terms of value for money you’d struggle to find better. The grounds at step two haven’t yet descended to the level of roped pitch, most have floodlights and stands and a lot have spectacular views. This is combined with usually great games at low prices. Denbigh Town, for 2017-18 are charging £6 for adults, £3 concessions and free for children. I think this is about standard.
Clubs without floodlights are Gresford Athletic, Llandudno Junction and Ruthin Town. I think the best ground for views are Caersws, Denbigh Town, Penrhyncoch and Porthmadog. My personal favourites would include those four along with Rhyl, Holyhead Hotspur and Rhayader Town.
Previous winners and runners-up of the Cymru Alliance
Airbus UK Broughton my visit
Founded: 1946 as Vickers Armstrong
Former Names: de Havillands, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, BAE Systems, Airbus UK
Ground: The Airfield, Chester Road, Broughton, Flintshire, CH4 0DR, capacity 1,600 (500)
Ground: The Oval, Marcus Street, Caernarfon, LL55 2HT, capacity 3,000 (500)
Caersws my visit
Founded: 1887 as Caersws Amateurs
Ground: The Recreation Ground, Caersws, SY17 5EN, capacity 4,000 (500)
Ground: Central Park, Denbigh, LL16 3EW, capacity 2,000 (470)
FC Queen’s Park
Former Names: none
Ground: Stansty Park, Summerhill Road, Wrexham, capacity 1,000 (50)
Flint Town United my visit
Founded: 1886 as Flint FC
Former Names: none
Ground: Cae-y-Castell, Marsh Lane, Flint, CH6 5PJ, capacity 1,000 (250)
Gresford Athletic my visit
Ground: Clappers Lane, Gresford, Wrexham, LL12 8PS, capacity 1,000 (52)
Guilsfield my visit
Ground: Community Centre Ground, Guilsfield, SY21 9ND, 1,000 (100)
Holyhead Hotspur my visit
Ground: The New Oval, Holyhead, LL65 2YE, 1,000 (100)
Holywell Town my visit
Founded: 1881 as Holywell FC
Former Names: Holywell United, Holywell Arcadians
Ground: Halkyn Road, Holwell, CH8 7TZ 2,000 (200)
Founded: 1975 as Hotpoint FC
Former Names: Llanfairfechen Athletic
The Junction, The Railwaymen
Ground: The Flyover, Victoria Gardens, Llandudno Junction, 1,000 (50)
Penrhyncoch my visit
Ground: Cae Baker, Penrhyncoch, SY24 5BL, 800 (100)
Ground: Y Traeth, Porthmadog, LL49 9PP, 2,000 (500)
Rhayader Town my visit
The Thin Red Line
Ground: Y Weirglodd, Water Lane, Rhayader, 2,200 (435)
Rhyl my visit
Former Names: Rhyl Athletic, Rhyl Town, Rhyl United
Ground: Belle Vue, Grange Road, Rhyl, LL18 4BY, 3,000 (1,720)
Ruthin Town my visit
Ground: Memorial Playing Fields, Ruthin, LL15 1PH, 2,000 (40)