Welsh football, unlike its older brothers England and Scotland, has a considerably less developed football structure despite having a relatively similar degree of passion and culture when it comes to the beautiful game. This is part of the reason why their football has not reached the levels of English football or even the one in Scotland, often having their best players in the Premier League, as it has been the case with the likes of Gareth Bale, Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes, Aaron Ramsey or Daniel James.
In this particular regard, and despite the fact that Wales has world class stadiums of the magnitude of the famous Millennium Stadium, Cardiff City Stadium or Liberty Stadium, it is also worth pointing out that Welsh football mostly has smaller facilities, with a much more traditional approach reminiscent to the old school stadiums at the start of the 20th century, when football was still coming on its own and it was still developing as a professional sport. This is a major issue as to why the growth of football in Wales is not as notorious as England’s, for example.
The most traditional stadiums of the Clwyd Football League met these characteristics because said competition was at an intermediate point between the lower categories and the main division of Welsh football, in addition to the fact that there were cases of clubs whose first steps as football institutions were taken in this league.
The case of the Clwyd Football League is quite interesting because it was created in the mid-70s as a way to amalgamate different divisions, thus creating a Division II status football league and this led to a lot of teams benefiting from this new format, which lasted until the 2008-09 season. And because they were pretty much all small clubs, you can safely rationalize that the vast majority of their stadiums were quite humble in terms of infrastructure and capacity.
Below are some of the major stadiums that were part of the Clwyd Football League, plus some interesting information about them:
It is also known by the people that live in that particular area as the Bastion Gardens. It is a stadium that is located in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, where only football is practiced and it is where the local team Prestatyn Town FC has been playing it at since 1969 due to its previous stadium was sold.
At that time, the stadium had good facilities for the players, especially the dressing rooms, but the bathroom had many deficiencies. While the team participated in the Clwyd Football League, the stadium only had a roof that allowed some spectators to enjoy the game without being affected by weather conditions.
It would be until the end of the 2000s, when the club achieved the promotion to the Welsh Premier League where they began to create the stands for the seated public, which was progressively increased according to the league’s criteria, until reaching the current capacity of 2300 people.
As an interesting fact, Prestatyn Town FC were the first ever champions of the Clwyd Football League in its opening season in 1974-75, with 33 points in 18 games. And as another interesting fact, their reserves team would also win this league in the competition’s last ever competition in 2009, so this is a stadium and a club strongly linked to the Clwyd Football League as a whole.
Gladstone Playing Fields
It is the home of Hawarden Rangers FC since the club’s founding in 1974 and is located in a wooded area of the city of Hawarden. The stadium does not have seats, so the fans who attend the club’s matches are standing and are only separated from the pitch by a fence.
It is one of the youngest football teams in Wales and their stadium is certainly one of the simplest and humblest in the entire country.
The appearance of the stadium, which had a part of it surrounded by houses, made them earn the nickname of Halfway House, during the period in which Connah’s Quay Nomads FC club participated in the Clwyd Football League. Currently, the club plays at Deeside Stadium and before arriving at Halfway Groung they played at Dee Park, which is what led them to the nickname The Nomads.
The Halfway Ground barely had a small covered section where some football fans could gather, although it did not have areas for seated fans. The stadium is currently not used by any football club.
It is a stadium located in the village of Llandyrnog, in Denbighshire, where the local team, Llandyrnog United FC, have played their home games since the founding of the institution. Currently, the Cae Nant has a total capacity of 1000 spectators of which 350 are in a covered area and of which 150 can do it seated.
It is one of the oldest stadiums to be part of the Clwyd Football League due to the fact that it was founded in 1892 and since then it has been the home of Rhyl FC, which is a football team that has had an important participation within the league. It is one of the few stadiums that were in the Clwyd Football League that was also used for different sports.
Since its construction, it has undergone a series of modifications that have brought it to its current capacity of 3000 spectators, of which 1720 can watch the games seated. Additionally, it has a journalists’ booth for broadcasting the matches on radio or television. It is currently a UEFA Category 2 stadium which has allowed it to host some international matches of the youth national team, thus showcasing how significant it is compared to other stadiums in these echelons of Welsh football.
Thus we conclude this section on some of the main stadiums of the now defunct Clwyd Football League, which gave the competition a much simpler, classic and amateur atmosphere than what we may be used to if we compare with the stadiums of the major European and world professional football leagues.