Welsh Senior League history

The success of the English League caused a plethora of similar combinations to spring up like mushrooms in various parts of the United Kingdom, and it was only natural that Wales, the birth-place of so many famous footballers, should desire to have one, too.

Mr. E. Cotterill, of the Rhos Club, the present energetic secretary of the League, and the writer appear to have taken practical steps in the matter almost simultaneously, but the former gentleman is entitled to all the credit for the success of the movement, and the writer desires to bear record to the assiduity, energy, tact, and extraordinary patience displayed by Mr Cotterill during the most critical of periods, viz., the formation of the League.

The history of the Welsh League dates back to the beginning of the present year, the North 'Wales Press weekly containing short epistles advocating its formation, but the scheme suggested by the writer and published in the football edition of the North Wales Guardian on February 15th last, appears to have been the real starting point, because it provided the very material necessary to make a beginning, and afterwards, in reality, formed the basis of operations. The writer suggested the formation of a purely Welsh League, to consist of twelve of the best clubs in Wales, and to be managed by chairman, treasurer, secretary, and two elected members, to be selected from within the League at the first annual meeting in each year, no club to have more than one of its members selected to fill these offices.

The clubs suggested were Wrexham, Chirk, Druids, Rhostyllen Victoria, Rhos, Newtown, Bangor, Rhyl, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Mold and Corwen. Builth, Ruabon, Westminster Rovers, Flint, Holywell, and Llanrwst were also mentioned as having a claim. It was further laid down that the rules should be few, simple, and effective, and that players should be registered at least fourteen days before taking part in a League match, professional players to be excluded from participation in League engagements, On the 17th of February last, through the medium of the Athletic News, and again in the North Wales Guardian, dated five days later, Mr. Cotterell invited representatives of clubs interested in the Welsh League movement to attend a meeting at the Lion House, Wrexham, on the 27th of the same month, to consider the matter. The meeting was a success, a resolution to form a League being unanimously carried, The following nine clubs were invited to join the League, viz., Wrexham, Chirk, Druids, Rhostyllen Victoria, Westminster Rovers, Rhos, Mold, Rhyl, and Corwen. The meeting was adjourned to March 15th, and Newtown, Bangor, Ruabon, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Flint, Holywell, and St, Asaph, were invited to make application in the meantime for inclusion in the League, this being considered to be the best method of determining the composition of the organisation.

The adjourned meeting took place at the same place on the date agreed upon, and was most encouraging. Bangor, Newtown, Ruabon, Holywell, and Colwyn Bay, wrote, expressing a desire to join the League, while, on the other hand, the Wrexham club declined to have anything to do with it, the inferiority of certain of the selected clubs being put forward as their reason for holding aloof. The Corwen club did not feel that they could fulfil their engagements, and so very honourably withdrew, whilst Chirk sent no intimation of their intentions. It was resolved to again request Wrexham and Chirk to join, and should they consent, the League should consist of Wrexham, Chirk, Bangor, Newtown, Druids, Rhostyllen Victoria, Mold, Rhyl, Westminster Rovers and Rhos. At this meeting a letter was read from Dr A O Davies, the Welsh International player, offering to present a silver cup to the club at the head of the League at the close of the season. And needless to state, those present were delighted, and very gratefully accepted the kind offer.

On the first of May another meeting was held at Wrexham at which it was stated that Wrexham, and Chirk had decided not to join, and that Newtown had withdrawn on account of the travelling difficulty. It was then unanimously resolved to add the name of the Ruabon club to the seven already chosen, the League to consist of eight clubs. Dr. A O Davies was then elected chairman, Mr J Morrison (Druids), treasurer, Mr E Cotterill (Rhos), secretary, and Messrs. J B. Marston (Mold), and H. R. Williams (Ruabon), members of the management committee.

The first annual meeting was held at Wrexham, on the 29th May, all the clubs being represented. The rules were discussed and adopted, list of referees approved, and most of the fixtures arranged for the ensuing season. In the meantime, Dr A O Davies left the neighbourhood of Wrexham, and felt it his duty to resign the chairmanship, and at an impromptu meeting held at Wrexham, on the 15th September Mr. James Davies, Wrexham, was elected in his stead. Since then several League matches have been played, and we are now in the thick of the fight, the result of which will undoubtedly realize the anticipations of the promoters, and make Welsh football once more a. power to be reckoned with, and our International encounters should, as a consequence, result more favourably to the country held so dear by Welshmen in all parts of the world.

Taken verbatim from “The Welsh Association Football Annual” season 1890-91
Published by the Guardian Printing Works, Argyle Street, Wrexham.
The author is simply listed as “the compiler” but was probably Charles Berrie of Rhyl, who succeeded Cotterill as secretary