Cefn Druids A.F.C.

Cefn Druids Association Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed Derwyddon Cefn) is a semi-professional football team based in the village of Cefn Mawr, Wrexham, Wales, who play in the Cymru Premier.

Cefn Druids AFC
Full nameCefn Druids Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Ancients, Druids
Founded1872; 149 years ago (1872)
GroundThe Rock
Rhosymedre
Wrexham
Capacity3,500 (500 seated)
ChairmanDes Williams
ManagerVacant
LeagueCymru Premier
2019–208th
WebsiteClub website

The Club was founded in 1872 by Llewelyn Kenrick who would later go on to found the Football Association of Wales. Following several mergers through the club's history, in 1992 it became Cefn Druids AFC with the amalgamation of Cefn Albion F.C. and Druids United. The club is one of the oldest and most successful in Wales, winning the Welsh Cup 8 times and competing in 14 finals, most recently in 2012. The club has seen a resurgence in recent times with a successful run in the top flight, securing their best ever league finish and winning the European Play-Off, taking them into the Europa League for the second time.

The team's first choice strip is black and white striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. The second choice strip is red shirts, red shorts and red socks for the 2019/20 season. The club's official kit is produced by Italian kit giant Errea with sponsorship by Wrexham Lager and Johnstown Tyre Service.

StadiumEdit

Planning permission for a 3,500 capacity stadium at the Rock, Rhosymedre, was given in March 2009, subject to approval from the Welsh Assembly and Health and Safety Executive. Delays to the beginning of construction put the project back by 12 months and the club moved into the new stadium in August 2010.[1] The club has previously played at Plas Kynaston Lane in Cefn Mawr.

HistoryEdit

For a full history see; List of football seasons involving Cefn Druids and its predecessor clubs

[2] The team take their prolific history from the famous old Welsh team Druids FC who were founded in the early 1870s. They had won the Welsh Cup on no less than 8 occasions and have finished runners-up five times but fell on hard times with the advent of professional football. Druids were ancient mystic men throughout Celtic civilisation and were closely associated with Wales.

It was reported that on October 6, 1872 the opening game of a Football Club for the district was played at Plasmadoc Park. Mr George Hampden Whalley was selected as the captain of the club.[3] Whalley would later become club President.[4]

It is claimed by the later successor club that Druids FC formed in 1872 when Plasmadoc FC merged with Ruabon Rovers and Ruabon Volunteers under the guidance of Llewelyn Kenrick.[5][6]

Contemporary sources refute this version of events, as in January 1873 Ruabon Rovers were still active as they played a fixture against Llangollen. Among the Ruabon Rovers lineup was George Hampden Whalley, Llewelyn Kenrick, David Thomson, George Thomson, and Eban Edwards.[7]

In February 1873 Ruabon Rovers played a fixture against Ruabon Volunteers, which shows these clubs were both still active after the proposed merger date.[8] Ruabon Volunteers were also known as the 2nd Denbighshire Volunteers so were actually a military team.[9]

In September 1873 the club was still known as Ruabon Rovers as evidenced in the annual meeting of the club, where a number of influential people, later associated with Druids were present and held key roles, such as David and George Thomson.[10][11] The issue of the club's foundation is further muddied when Llewelyn Kenrick was present at the founding of a football club in Ruabon in September 1873.[12]

The name of the club appears interchangeable between Ruabon Rovers and Plasmadoc in 1873, and the club was often referred to as the Plasmadoc Club from 1874 up until 1876.[13] The aforementioned Llewelyn Kenrick, David Thomson, and George Thomson all played for Plasmadoc during this period.[14]

The name Druids does not appear in the local press until January 1876.[15] By 1877 the club were commonly referred to as Druids Football Club.

The club were allowed to play at Plasmadoc Park by George Hammond Whalley MP. However following his death in 1878 Druids lost the use of the Plasmadoc Ground.[16] Because of this, Druids were forced to withdraw form the 1878–79 edition of the Welsh Cup. This inconvenience meant Druids could no longer play home games, which resulted in many players, including Kenrick, leaving the club.[17] The club briefly folded and did not play any further games until November 1879.[18][19]

Druids can claim to originate from one of the oldest existing teams located in Wales, thus making it also one of the oldest football clubs in the world outside England. This could be reflected in club's nickname, 'The Ancients', however Druids FC were referred to as 'The Ancient Britons' in multiple historical sources as far back as 1893,[20] so the nickname is actually derived from Celtic history rather than the age of the club.

After World War I, Druids FC ceased to exist when they merged with Rhosymedre to form Rhosymedre Druids. Furthermore Rhosymedre Druids subsequently merged with Acrefair United in 1929 to form Druids United.

In 1992 after many years of discussion the inevitable amalgamation of Druids United and Cefn Albion F.C. took place to end the internal village soccer rivalry in the village of Cefn Mawr. The new look club took the bold step of applying to join the new Cymru Alliance. The joint resources of the clubs could be focused on a revival of football fortunes in the village of Cefn Mawr.

Contrary to the club badge and sign above the club house proclaiming the club to be the oldest in Wales, these claims are erroneous.

The now defunct Oswestry Town claim a formation date of 1860 which predates Druids. Geographically they were located in England, though the team has participated in the Welsh system and were early members of the Welsh FA, and would thus consider themselves a Welsh side (see the New Saints).

When the National Library of Wales digitised its Newspaper Archive in 2012, new evidence was discovered that proved Wrexham AFC were formed in 1864 which pre-dates the formation of the original Druids FC by 8 years,[21] thus making Cefn Druids claims of being the oldest club in Wales erroneous.

Druids can still claim via descent to be the oldest club playing in the Welsh Pyramid.

Season Pos. League
1992–93 7 Cymru Alliance
1993–94 8 Cymru Alliance
1994–95 5 Cymru Alliance
1995–96 8 Cymru Alliance
1996–97 5 Cymru Alliance
1997–98 3 Cymru Alliance
1998–99 1 Cymru Alliance
1999–00 13 League of Wales
2000–01 13 League of Wales
2001–02 14 League of Wales
2002–03 12 Welsh Premier League
2003–04 13 Welsh Premier League
2004–05 17 Welsh Premier League
2005–06 14 Welsh Premier League
2006–07 14 Welsh Premier League
2007–08 12 Welsh Premier League
2008–09 13 Welsh Premier League
2009–10 18 Welsh Premier League
2010–11 3 Cymru Alliance
2011–12 6 Cymru Alliance
2012–13 2 Cymru Alliance
2013–14 1 Cymru Alliance
2014–15 11 Welsh Premier League
2015–16 2 Cymru Alliance
2016–17 8 Welsh Premier League
2017–18 5 Welsh Premier League
2018–19 10 Welsh Premier League
2019–20 - Welsh Premier League

Flexsys Cefn DruidsEdit

In 1999 Cefn Druids became Champions of the Cymru Alliance and were promoted into the League of Wales, finishing a respectable 13th in its first season in the national league.

After the appointment of ex-Rochdale midfielder Steve O'Shaughnessy in the summer of 2001, the Ancients experienced their best results since the halcyon Welsh Cup days of the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The 2001–02 season was a season of consolidation in the Cymru Premier finishing in 14th place. However, in the Welsh Cup after victories over Llangefni-Glantraeth, Ruthin Town, Halkyn United and Welshpool Town, Cefn found themselves in the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup for the first time in 98 years. It was not to be, as a Marc Lloyd-Williams inspired Bangor City won 5–0 at Belle Vue, Rhyl on 6 April 2002.

The 2002–03 season was a financially difficult one with the playing and management staff going weeks without payment at one point in the season. This even forced O'Shaughnessy to resign out of principle during this time. Fortunately, he returned after reassurances were given. On the pitch, Cefn finished in a highly respectable 12th place.

NEWI Cefn DruidsEdit

Before the start of the 2003–04 season, Cefn Druids announced that they had reached an arrangement with the Wrexham-based college, NEWI.[22] The arrangement between college and club gave NEWI students footballing opportunities whilst carrying on with their studies and increasing the resources available to the club.[23]

The 2003–04 season, saw an array of young players join the club like Gareth Evans, who eventually left to join Football League Two club Wrexham. The average age of the team for one match against Caersws on 12 December 2003 was just 21.

As the 2003–04 season came to a conclusion with players and management looking ahead to the future with excitement with a young squad at their disposal. The club signed a three-year deal with NEWI in 2004 after the previous 12-month arrangement proved a success.[23]

However, on the evening of 18 April 2004, O'Shaughnessy was sacked by the club's board. Since then the club has been severely struggling on the pitch with the squad that O'Shaughnessy put together leaving en masse. Amongst the players who left were Aden Shannon, Brett Jefferies, Dave Cunnah and First Team Coach, Jimmy Hunter all to Welshpool Town, who have qualified for the FAW Premier Cup in the last two seasons.

The Ancients should have been relegated from the Cymru Premier in April 2005 after finishing in the bottom two, but were given a last minute reprieve by Cymru Alliance winners Buckley Town, who declined promotion.

Under the stewardship of former Wrexham manager, Dixie McNeil, the Ancients recorded slightly more respectable league positions for the following 2 seasons, namely 14th in 2005–06 and 13th in 2006–07. However, partly due to his media work as a pundit for BBC Wales, McNeil stepped down during this pre season.

The club were quick to appoint a new management duo of former Wrexham teammates, Wayne Phillips and Lee Jones. Both continued to play, with Phillips benefiting from previous managerial experience at Caernarfon Town. The partnership got off to the best possible start with a shock 1–0 opening day home win against Champions Total Network Solutions.

Phillips and Jones kept the club in the Cymru Premier by finishing 12th and 13th in seasons 2007–08 and 2008–09 respectively.

RebrandingEdit

However, with delays to the construction of the new stadium and the overhaul of the Welsh Premier League the 2009–10 season, a reduced playing budget saw the club field a mainly young squad for the entire season and finished bottom of the table and be relegated to the Cymru Alliance. In addition Phillips and Jones departed the club with former player and Technogroup Welshpool manager Huw Griffiths appointed as the new manager. The club went on to finish 3rd place in their first season back in the 2nd tier of Welsh football since 1998–99, Andrew Swarbrick being the club's top scorer of the season getting an impressive 18 in all competitions.

Cefn Druids now have a Ladies team, formed in summer 2011. The Ladies will be playing in the North Wales Women's Football League along with teams such as Wrexham Ladies, Caenarfon and Llandudno Junction, for the first time in 2011–12.

Cefn Druids reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup during the 2011–12 season. They claimed big scalps on the way to the semis by defeating teams away from home such as Connahs Quay Nomads and Cymru Premier teams Prestatyn Town and Aberystwyth Town. On Monday 28 Feb Welsh team manager Chris Coleman and assistant Kit Symons made the draw at the Wales team hotel which saw Cymru Premier side Airbus UK Broughton drawn against Cefn Druids for a place in the Welsh Cup final.

On Saturday 31 March 2012 Cefn Druids defeated Airbus at Rhyl's Belle Vue 4–1 to reach their first Welsh cup final in 108 years. Andrew Swarbrick got a hat trick and Tony Cann netted once to complete the rout. Druids were defeated 2–0 by the New Saints in the final, but qualified for the UEFA Europa League as a result. The club were delt a shock, with the departure of Manager Huw Griffiths, due to the club and management being unable to agree a budget for the up-and-coming season. John Keegan then took over as manager, before departing later that season.[24] In May 2015, Huw Griffiths returned to the club following an absence of 12 months.[25]

The 2017–18 season saw Cefn achieve their highest ever top flight finish as they ended the season in 5th place.[26]

Club HonoursEdit

Druids (1872–1927)/ Druids United (1927–1992)/ Cefn Druids A.F.C. (1992–present)Edit

LeagueEdit

CupsEdit

  • Welsh Senior Cup
  • Welsh Amateur Cup
    • Winners: 1903
    • Finalists: 1904, 1957
  • Welsh Youth Cup
    • Winners: 1958, 1959
  • North East Wales FA Challenge Cup
    • Winners: 1980, 1998–99, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2018–19
  • Welsh National League Division 2 Cup
    • Finalists: 1988
  • North East Wales Presidents Cup
    • Winners: 1998–99
  • WPL Europa League Play-off Final
    • Winners: 2017-18

Cefn Albion (1967–1992)Edit

LeagueEdit

CupEdit

  • North East Wales FA Challenge Cup
    • Winners: 1978
    • Finalists: 1976, 1989
  • North East Wales FA Horace Wynn Cup
    • Winners: 1977
  • Welsh National League Division 1 Cup
    • Finalists: 1984, 1991
  • Welsh National League Division 2 Cup
    • Winners: 1974
    • Finalists: 1971
  • Welsh National League Division 3 Cup
    • Finalists: 1969, 1984

European recordEdit

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
2012–13 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round   MYPA 0–0 0–5 0–5
2018–19 UEFA Europa League Preliminary round   Trakai 1–1 0–1 1–2

Current squadEdit

As of 16 March 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   ENG Michael Jones
3 DF   WAL Naim Arsan
4 DF   ENG Josh Green
5 DF   ENG Phil Mooney
6 DF   WAL Aaron Simpson
7 MF   ENG Ethan Cartwright (on loan from Chester F.C.)
8 MF   ENG Harry Brazel
10 FW   WAL Alex Darlington
12 DF   WAL Jake Buckle
13 GK   POL Dawid Szczepaniak (on loan from Wrexham AFC)
14 MF   WAL Sam Phillips
15 MF   ENG Niall Flint
16 MF   WAL Iwan Cartwright
17 DF   ENG Ben Barratt
18 MF   ENG Tom Reilly
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 FW   CAN Cody Ruberto
20 FW   WAL Jonny Taylor
21 MF   AUS Joe Faux
22 DF   WAL Kieran Smith
23 MF   WAL Ben Davies
24 MF   WAL Harry Fuller
25 FW   WAL Josh Hughes
26 FW   WAL Jaden Jones
27 FW   GER Christophe Aziamale
28 MF   WAL Ryan Kershaw
29 DF   ENG Jacob Wise
31 GK   WAL Ben Edwards
33 DF   WAL Stef Edwards
39 FW   WAL Charley Edge

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Druids are ready to rock in Rhosymedre". Welsh Premier League. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ NEWI Cefn Druids F.C. Knowledgeruch.com Archived 21 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  3. ^ "CEFN.|1872-10-11|The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  4. ^ "DRUIDS' FOOTBALL CLUB ATHLETIC SPORTS.|1877-05-12|Wrexham Guardian - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  5. ^ https://www.cefndruidsafc.com/our-history
  6. ^ "NEWI Cefn Druids - a brief history". Official NEWI Cefn Druids. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  7. ^ "LOCAL & DISTRICT NEWS.|1873-01-03|Llangollen Advertiser Denbighshire Merionethshire and North Wales Journal - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  8. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3343184/3343190/92/
  9. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3343204/3343210/85/
  10. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3343505/3343509/28/
  11. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/4588846/4588852/44/
  12. ^ "Wrexham Advertiser - Saturday 04 October 1873".
  13. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3853838/3853841/7/
  14. ^ "FOOTBALL.|1875-01-16|Wrexham Guardian - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  15. ^ https://newspapers.library.wales/view/4581944/4581948/23/
  16. ^ "THE WELSH CHALLENGE CUP.|1878-10-19|Wrexham Guardian - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  17. ^ The History of the Welsh Cup 1877–1993 by Ian Garland (1991) ISBN 1-872424-37-6
  18. ^ https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000496/18781026/034/0005
  19. ^ https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000496/18781228/038/0008
  20. ^ "——- FOOTBALL.|1893-09-16|The Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-Wales Advertiser - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  21. ^ Trust, Wrexham Supporters. "Wrexham FC Oldest Club in Wales!". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) cefndruidsafc.co.uk Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  23. ^ a b [1] official.sportnetwork.net NEWI Cefn Druids – Fan site Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  24. ^ "Keegan departs from Cefn Druids". Sgorio. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "DRUIDS FINISH STRONG!". Cefn Druids AFC - Home. Retrieved 30 January 2019.

External linksEdit