1896 GRAND SLAM WINNERS
NORTH WEST WALES’ FIRST SUPER CLUB
Bangor Football Club were the first winners of the North Wales Coast Senior (later the Amateur) Cup in 1895. The following season, the club not only retained the trophy, but went three steps further, winning the North Wales Coast League Championship, the NW Welsh Challenge Cup and, most importantly, the Welsh Cup. Their achievements consigned them to the history books not only as one of the first Grand Slam winners in Welsh football, but also as one of the greatest-ever Bangor teams. With the bulk of the team staying on from the previous season, and containing no less than 4 Full Welsh Internationals, Bangor FC dominated the North Wales football scene in 1895-96.
In the North Wales Coast League, Bangor competed against Carnarvon Ironopolis, Flint, Llandudno, Holywell and Rhyl. All clubs were situated close to railway stations, and although expensive, train travel was the only way to guarantee that league fixtures were fulfilled. Bangor finished their league campaign unbeaten in all matches, and finished well clear of second-placed Flint. The Final of the North Wales Coast Senior Cup was played at Bangor’s then home stadium Maes y Dref, located near Hirael Bay, and cheered on by vociferous local support, Bangor won by two goals to nil. Bangor saved their best performances for the Welsh Cup. At the semi-final stage, Bangor travelled to Newtown, where the 60 supporters who accompanied the team on the train down to mid-Wales went virtually unnoticed amongst a crowd of over 4000. After a 1-1 draw, a replay was held at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, which Bangor comfortably won 3-0. The final was held at Llandudno, and 2000 Bangor fans amongst a record Cup Final crowd of 7000, saw their team beat favourites Wrexham 3-1, thereby consigning the name of Bangor FC to the record books.
ROLL OF HONOUR
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KONICA LEAGUE OF WALES CHAMPIONS
WELSH FA CUP WINNERS
WELSH FA CUP RUNNERS UP
1928, 1961, 1964, 1973, 1978, 1985
GILBERT LEAGUE OF WALES CUP RUNNERS UP
1994, 1997, 1998, 2000
NORTH WALES COAST LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
1896, 1900, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1919
NORTH WALES COAST CHALLENGE CUP WINNERS
1927, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1947, 1952, 1958, 1965, 1968, 1993, 1999
NORTH WALES COAST SENIOR (AMATEUR) CUP WINNERS
1895, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1912
NORTH WALES COMBINATION LEAGUE RUNNERS UP
NORTH WEST WALES CHALLENGE CUP WINNERS
ALVES CUP WINNERS
COOKSON CUP WINNERS
1962, 1969, 1985, 1987
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE RUNNERS UP
FA TROPHY RUNNERS UP
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE CUP WINNERS
NPL PRESIDENTS CUP WINNERS
NPL CHALLENGE SHIELD WINNERS
LANCASHIRE COMBINATION LEAGUE RUNNERS UP
LANCASHIRE COMBINATION CUP WINNERS
CHESHIRE LEAGUE RUNNERS UP
THE LEAGUE OF WALES
WELSH FOOTBALL’S FLAGSHIP COMPETITION
The League of Wales was established by the Welsh Football Association in the summer of 1992. The purpose behind the setting up of the League was to develop the game in Wales at both grass-roots and club level, and to ensure that Wales could continue as an independent nation on the world's footballing stage. Although there had been "national" leagues at amateur and semi-professional level throughout the game’s history in Wales, the creation of the League of Wales meant that, for the first time in the history of Welsh football, a truly National League, fully recognised by UEFA, European football’s governing body, had been established.
The inaugural League of Wales comprised of a combination of the best teams from the various Welsh regional leagues, such as Cwmbran Town and Aberystwyth Town, and Welsh clubs who had been operating in the English non-League system, such as Bangor City and Newtown. At first, Barry Town, Rhyl and Caernarfon Town refused to leave the English non-League system, but seeing the potential that the League of Wales had to offer, they too joined in subsequent seasons. At first, the standard of football and facilities in the League left a lot to be desired, but in less than a decade, standards have risen dramatically. Clubs operating in or entering into the League now have to meet strict stadium criteria, and clubs have spent large sums of money redeveloping their facilities in order to meet these criteria, and also to expand on their existing facilities, thanks to the lure of European football.
Prior to the setting up of the League of Wales, the only route into European football was by winning the Welsh FA Cup. The League of Wales now offers places in European cup competitions for four Welsh clubs every season, i.e. the European Champions League, two places in the UEFA Cup, and the Inter-Toto Cup. The prize of representing Wales in Europe, and the financial rewards that it brings, is one of the main reasons why the standard of football in the league has risen so dramatically in such a short space of time. Comparisons are always being made between the League of Wales and the English non-League, but as a national league, the LoW needs to be compared to other European national leagues in order to judge the standard that it is are currently at. In the 1998-99 season, the UEFA rankings saw the League of Wales placed in 43rd position out of 50 European leagues. Most significantly, the LoW was placed higher than the Republic of Ireland, which, in such a short space of time, is a phenomenal achievement.
The growing status which the League of Wales now enjoys is reflected in some of the major sponsorship deals which clubs have attracted over the past couple of seasons. The 1998-99 season, in particular, saw many of the top clubs in the league attracting bigger sponsorship deals than some clubs operating in the English Nationwide League, including Cardiff City, who are always regarded as the premier club in Wales. At a time when the League of Wales enjoys considerable TV coverage, and when its clubs play against the likes of Dynamo Kiev, Glasgow Celtic, Widzew Lodz and National Bucarest on a regular basis, it’s easy to see the attraction.