League competition formed at a meeting held in Manchester in May 1890 and intended to cater for clubs in Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and the border area, although representatives from north Wales were present. At the meeting it was decided "that the following clubs should be admitted to the new league: Chester, Birkenhead, Blackpool South Shore, Witton, Halliwell, Burslem Port Vale, Northwich, and possibly Ardwick, Kidderminster, Bury, Heywood Central, Gorton and Leek who will be asked to join". The original founder members were: Burton Swifts, Chester, Denton, Derby St Luke's, Gorton Villa, Hyde, Leek, Macclesfield, Northwich Victoria, Staffs County, Witton and Wrexham. In the early days the league was particularly strong and largely an English competition. In the late 1890s the Combination underwent something of a metamorphosis as English clubs departed for fresh pastures. Liverpool and Everton wanted sterner tests for their reserve sides, while other clubs found life more congenial elsewhere.
By the 1899-1900 season the league had taken on a definite Welsh character and only two English clubs remained in membership. This did not last and in the period between 1900 and 1910 the league can best be described as Anglo-Welsh in makeup, with a fair share of clubs from both countries. In the opinion of one journalist, writing in December 1901, the advantages for north Wales clubs of playing in the Combination were doubtful: "the number of supporters on the coast of the respective clubs is not large and however good the Combination's attractions - Easter excepted - one only gets the usual enthusiastic crowd. Bangor and Rhyl's exchequers are not nearly as good as they were when they were in the Coast League. The best gate achieved by Llandudno Swifts was £30 for their match against Bangor. In contrast the cost of travelling to Aberystwyth in 1900-01 had been £15." Nevertheless, the league remained a magnet for the ambitious, in 1908 Flint were keen to join but the plan was dependent on the level of financial support that would be forthcoming from the town. Similarly in March 1908 a Combination team from Holywell;/Greeenfield area was proposed.
By the early 1910 it was apparent that all was not well with the Combination and interest in the league was on the decline; at the end of the season the competition was wound up. A far-sighted correspondent, using the term 'Football Well Wisher', suggested in the columns of one local newspaper the formation of a Welsh Football League of three divisions to cover North Wales.
Attempts to revive the Combination at the start of the 1912-13 season came to naught.
Welsh clubs in membership
Aberystwyth Town 1899-1900
Broughton United 1903-06
Brymbo Victoria 1909-10
Chirk 1891-93, 1897-1910
Connah’s Quay 1907-10
Druids 1897-1900, 1904-10
Llandudno Swifts 1898-99
Wrexham 1890-94, 1896-1905, 1906-10
Wrexham Victoria 1906-07
Welsh clubs that won the championship
Chirk in 1900
Wrexham in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1905