Clwyd Football League history

A proposal was submitted in February 1974 to amalgamate the Halkyn and Dyserth District Leagues. Both these Leagues were operating at Division III level in the North Wales pecking order and the new format was intended to have Division II status, which no league in the area then enjoyed.

The late Elfed Ellis was the prime mover behind this ambitious plan and the leagues, along with the Flintshire Youth League, agreed to meet to discuss the proposal. Ellis commented at the time that “it would go a long way to bridge the gap between the Welsh League (North) Division I and Division III and it would do much to raise the standard of local football.” He wanted to see the new League stretching from Saltney to Colwyn Bay. Not everybody was convinced. Noel Price, then Secretary of the Halkyn League felt there would always be a need for the two district leagues. This was endorsed by a meeting of the three leagues at Mostyn on 29th March 1974 where overwhelming support was expressed for a Premier League to be formed from teams from the Halkyn and Dyserth Leagues but with the retention of the existing leagues. Promotion and relegation between the two and the new league were envisaged.

At the next meeting on the 10th of April concern was expressed about “the mighty taking over”. There was a decline of soccer in towns like Holywell and Flint and a suggestion of a drop in interest by the Halkyn League. In the event the Clwyd Football League was set up in time for the 1974-75 season with 10 clubs being accepted, four short of the ideal figure set by the Management Committee. They were: Prestatyn Town, Point of Ayr, Flint Town United, Connah's Quay Nomads, Rhyl Wanderers, Saltney Social, Denbigh Town, Courtaulds Greenfield, Courtaulds Flint, and Summers Sports. The inaugural season went well and without controversy but at the AGM, held at Courtaulds Flint FC on 19th June 1975, a new plan was put forward by Chairman Elfed Ellis. Ellis was quoted as saying that the inauguration of the new league had created an uneasiness which could be all for the good of North Wales football. The smaller clubs in the Dyserth and Halkyn Leagues were given a new incentive to make their mark within their leagues, with the “big guns” moving up to the Clwyd Premier League. It was suggested by Ellis at this meeting that they go even further. He proposed the amalgamation of the Dyserth, Halkyn and Flintshire Youth Leagues to be embraced by the Clwyd Premier League within four divisions. His vision was to give clubs the incentive of promotion to maintain interest throughout the season, with the threat of relegation providing an equal level of incentive. Mr Ellis said “Now we have started the ball rolling, we must re-structure our system of football in North Wales and I believe the time has come to plan for the future.” The following week at the Dyserth League AGM, held at Pilkington’s St Asaph, Ellis put forward the idea in response to a demarcation argument between the Dyserth and Halkyn Leagues regarding Courtaulds Flint and Flint Town United Reserves. The Dyserth League had accepted the clubs although they clearly fell into the Halkyn’s jurisdiction. Ellis’s judgement was that this sort of “petty isolationism” would lead to the downfall of Saturday football to the gain of rugby and Sunday football, and his proposal to convene a meeting of the four Leagues be convened was accepted.

Events now moved quickly and a meeting was convened at Courtaulds Greenfield FC on 10th July. Of the 30 clubs present, 25 voted for the amalgamation with three against and so the new league was born. Elfed Ellis was elected pro-tem chairman of what was now known as the Clwyd Football League. Concern was expressed about the increased travel costs but Mr Ellis pointed out that with only seven clubs remaining in the both the Halkyn League and Flintshire Youth League there was great danger that these Leagues would collapse and, unless the clubs wanted to follow the same path, membership of the new league was the only way forward. Four divisions were agreed upon with the second and third divisions being made up of clubs from the Halkyn and Dyserth Leagues and the existing Clwyd Premier League clubs forming the top tier. The Flintshire Youth League would form the basis of the fourth division restricted to under-18 players. Meanwhile, approval was then sought from the parent League – the Welsh League (North) – at their AGM on Saturday 12th July and permission was unanimously granted.

At a meeting at Flint on the 24th July to formulate the league the number of clubs prepared to participate in the new League had reached forty-five and they were asked to formally adopt the constitution of the new body. The Clwyd Premier League would become Division II, with the Welsh League (North) being Division I, and limited to 12 clubs. Division III would also be limited to 12 clubs, made up of the top six clubs in each of the Dyserth and Halkyn League, while Division IV would have unlimited membership and comprise of the remaining Dyserth and Halkyn clubs plus new applicants. Division V, the youth division, would also be unlimited with the Flintshire Youth League clubs forming the initial membership plus any new applicants. A recruiting campaign would be carried out to try and persuade member clubs to start under 18 sides and participate in the new fifth level. Dyserth League clubs formally accepted membership of the new league at a special meeting on the 29th July at Rhyl FC. A proposal by Pilkingtons FC, seconded by St Asaph City, that the Dyserth League be formally disbanded was adopted.

The officers elected to run the new Clwyd Football League were: Patron – Mr E J Owen; President – Dr H D McKenzie; Chairman – Mr Elfed Ellis; Vice Chairman – Mr Noel Price; Secretary – Mr B Gough Roberts; Fixture Secretary – Mr P A White; Treasurer – Mr L M Williams; Assistant Treasurer – Mr D Fleming and Registration Secretary – Mr R E M Jones.
The first season was entirely successful and for the second season the divisional titles were changed with the top tier adopting Premier Division followed by divisions 1, 2 and 3. The League enjoys much success to this day and is now a feeder League to the Welsh Alliance League, formerly the Welsh League (North).