Vale of Conwy League history

In 1921 the Welsh National League was established by the FAW to bring some semblance of order to League football in Wales and to try and bring to fruition the vision of a Welsh champion.
A meeting of the Divisions II and III West clubs and administrators at Bangor on the 8th of July 1922 was informed of the intention to establish a Vale of Conwy League under the auspices of the Village Hall Societies similar to the Anglesey League established soon after the end of the Great War.
The initial meeting took place at the Memorial Institute in Llanrwst where it was “unanimously decided to form a league …..and affiliate with the Welsh FA. It was decided to invite old players to undertake and qualify for the refereeing of matches and also invite any club in the valley to join.”
The proposed League desired to become members of the National League set up and it was agreed after some discussion that they could affiliate if they paid their subscriptions to the WNL. They did not seem to have been obliged to do this, but the League began in the 1922-23 season with the following clubs in membership:
Dolgarrog, Glan Conway, Llandudno Junction Reserves, Llanrwst Reserves, Old Colwyn FC, Penmaen Celts, and Penmaenmawr Reserves
Old Colwyn were expelled in April 1923 for “non-fulfilment of fixtures and their general attitude towards the League” and their record was expunged. Penmaenmawr Reserves took the title.
The League expanded for its second season and started with the following line-up:
Conway Reserves, Dolgarrog United, Dolwyddelan, Glan Conway, Llandudno Reserves, Llandudno Junction Reserves, Llanfairfechan Reserves, Llanrwst Reserves, Penmaen Celts, Penmaen Swifts and Penmaenmawr Reserves.
Coverage is sparse in the press and the champions for this season have yet to be isolated as the last table found thus far is from late February. Penmaen Celts beat Glan Conwy in the final of the Jack Owen Cup.
1924-25 saw the season begin with seven members including the strangely named Llandudno Junction Favourites with Conway Res., Dolwyddelan, Llandudno Res and Llanfairfechan Res missing to be replaced by Llandudno Rovers, Betws-y-Coed and Great Orme Amateurs
By the end of the season Llanrwst Reserves and Penmaenmawr Reserves had dropped out and with the last table found, dated 23/04/25, showing 19matches remaining it is unlikely that fixtures were completed – for example Llandudno Junction Reserves had only played five out of their fourteen matches to that date! 
By then Dolgarrog United were clear champions but lost in the League’s Jack Owen Cup by 2-1 to Conwy at Llanrwst.
At the end of this season the League seems to have closed down as no reports have been found of its existence in subsequent seasons, but no formal record has been found of the final meeting either. Given poor press coverage at the time it could well be that the League did continue so the jury’s still out on this one. It would seem that five years would elapse before the valley saw organised league football again.
The Station Hotel, Llandudno Junction was the venue of the first meeting held proposing the re-establishing of a Junior League covering the Conway Valley and the estuary area. It took place on Thursday August 1st 1929 and was chaired by Mr Jones of Mochdre.
Turnout of interested clubs was good with representatives of Llanddulas, Betws-y-Coed, Rhyd-y-foel, Mochdre Sports, Colwyn Bay YMCA, Colwyn Bay Celts, Colwyn Bay Comrades, Penrhyn Bay and Dolgarrog being present. The already existing Vale of Conwy Schools League was also represented.
The discussion followed the idea to set up another division under the Western Section of the Welsh National League.
The responsibilities required of members of a new League were stressed – purchase of kit, coverage of travelling expenses, rental of playing fields etc but concern was expressed that any fees required by the WNL set-up would possibly be beyond the clubs’ financial means.
It was resolved that Mr H R Williams, secretary of the WNL Div II, would be contacted for clarification and should the costs prove prohibitive then the League would be set up independently.
Interest was very positive and the meeting adjourned until all relevant facts were made known.
In the North Wales Weekly News reports on the inaugural meetings mentioned above, the following comments were made:
"Mention was made that there was a sum of money lying dormant to the credit of the Vale of Conway League which is now defunct. Several attempts were made to find out where the money is, but without avail.” 
This second meeting was held at the same venue on Thursday 28th August with Col. Williams, secretary of the North Wales Coast FA presided and clubs present were Betws-y-Coed, Glan Conwy, Conwy FC, Royal Blues, Mochdre, Colwyn Bay YMCA, Colwyn Bay Comrades, Rhyd-y-foel and Llanddulas.
Mr H R Williams was also present at this meeting and clarified the situation regarding membership of the Welsh National League. Clubs would place a deposit of two guineas (£2.10p), returnable when the club completed its fixtures, and a membership fee of ten shillings and sixpence.
He suggested that the League become Division 4 (Vale of Conway Section) and, having been proposed by Mr Jones of Mochdre seconded by Mr Evans of Glan Conwy, the League was officially formed under the suggested title.
Mr R J Hughes of Penmaenmawr was elected President and Mr Hugh Parry – Conway’s Town Clerk – became chairman of the Management Committee which consisted of a representative of each member club. Mr W Battersby took on the role of Secretary whilst the Treasurer’s post went to Mr Glynne Jones, Secretary of the Vale of Conway Schools League.
Col. Williams offered to pay for the initial season’s League and clubs’ affiliation fees to the North Wales Coast FA in order that member clubs could take part in the NWCFA Junior Cup. The offer was gratefully accepted.
The initial trophies were adopted at this meeting, namely the Comrades Cup – donated by Colwyn Bay Comrades club and the Jack Owen Cup – mentioned above during the League’s earlier incarnation.
A third meeting, the first under the new management team was held on September 5th where League President R J Hughes expressed his hopes that the League would become a feeder for the National League for both clubs and up and coming players.
The final membership list for the first season was:

Betws-y-Coed FC
Llanrwst Town
Colwyn Bay Comrades
Llysfaen FC
Conwy Casuals
Mochdre FC
Craigydon FC
Penmachno FC
Dolgarrog FC
Pentregwyddel FC
Glan Conwy FC
Rhyd-y-Foel FC
Llanddulas Juniors
Royal Blues FC Llandudno

The full season’s fixtures were arranged at this meeting and it was ruled that players signed would have to reside within six miles of his club’s ground with his parents’ home providing qualification if he worked away during the week. Clarification was to be sought regarding the eligibility of players who had signed for Division II clubs playing in the League.
“ Mr Gordon Field, the chairman of the defunct Vale of Conway League, offered the cup given by Mr Jack as the trophy for the championship. It was accepted with thanks. Mr Field also mentioned that there was a sum of money lying to the credit of the old league somewhere. If it could be obtained and the clubs in the old League were in agreement, it could be handed over to the new league. The Secretary was instructed to ascertain the whereabouts of the fund and also to try and get the old minute book of the league.” 
So the Vale of Conwy League was under way but the initial interest did not last the full length of the season as seventy-six fixtures were not fulfilled. Conwy Casuals were declared champions as the official season ended.
Of the initial fourteen members, five withdrew at the end of the season: Llanddulas, Llysfaen, Rhyd-y-foel, Penmachno and Royal Blues.
The addition of Llandudno Junction FC ensured an even ten in membership for the second season and the League then continued to stabilise until the outbreak of war in 1939 although a group of four clubs continued for 1939-40.
Following the end of the war the League restarted in 1945 with seven member clubs: Llanddulas FC, Llandudno Junction FC, Conwy FC, Penmaenmawr FC, Llanrwst Town, Colwyn Bay Reserves and Dolgarrog FC and the League grew in strength from then on.
Despite a drop to seven members in 1954, membership was so popular that by the mid-sixties two sections were formed to handle the numbers. Highest membership on record was attained in 1970-71 with a total of twenty-six clubs which included only six reserve sides.
The two-section format – in effect a Division 1 and 2 – lasted until the 1991-92 season when the League reverted to a single division to accommodate seventeen members.
A decline then set in and sadly with only five clubs remaining following the 2001-02 season the League ceased to operate. It is now officially in abeyance hopefully awaiting a renaissance of football in the Conwy Valley.
Mel Thomas – July 2005