Porthmadog
CPD Porthmadog FC
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Cynghrair Undebol Huws Gray Alliance League


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Talking Point - from Porthmadog match programme - 13/10/12

Dave Jones’s column in the Daily Post (05/10/12) posed an interesting question in the very first sentence, “What does the Welsh Premier League need?” The first answer that came to my mind was -16 clubs. Others would say substantial investment in the clubs or improved pitches or summer football or any number of small incremental improvements that will improve the League in a piecemeal and sustainable way.

Not any of these laudable suggestions for Mr Jones, no the answer to the League’s problems for him is more north Wales clubs. Apart from this being a rather parochial and casting to one side many areas of Wales with the largest populations there is more. Only clubs with perceived large attendances need apply.

Low attendances are a problem for the League and one that will be a problem forever. Wales is positioned right next to the most popular football league in the world –the English Premier League. Fans from across north Wales travel to support various clubs in this League week in week out and this must have a massive detrimental effect on football in Wales. Swansea are also in the Premier League and sell outs at the Liberty must be affecting attendances at Llanelli, Port Talbot, Afan Lido and even Carmarthen.

Add to that the fact that we are in the throes of the worst economic downturn in living memory, which has effected Wales worst of all and the prospects for the Welsh Premier are not good.

As Dave Jones quite rightly says only Bangor City can attract attendances of 500. He goes on to state the obvious that well supported clubs would make a difference. He highlights Rhyl and Caernarfon as well supported north Wales clubs who would improve the Welsh Premier League. Rhyl were relegated from the Welsh Premier back in 2010 when they were refused a Domestic Licence due to financial problems. Rhyl as previous champions and with excellent facilities would be good for the League but even die-hard Rhyl fans would accept that the step down has given them a chance to get their house in order and they can now plan for the future. A future they hope will see Welsh Premier League back at Belle Vue.

The other club Mr Jones highlights, at some length is Caernarfon Town. He seems to be the founder member of the newly established Caernarfon Town FC Appreciation Society, going as far as to suggest that “if they can return to the Huws Gray Alliance next season could the Welsh Premier not introduce some fast-tracking system to promote them one notch higher.” I have to say that this is the most ridiculous hair-brained suggestion I have ever heard in my 20 year involvement in football in Wales and I can assure you that it has competition. Yes Mr Jones let’s throw out our whole pyramid system and get the Cofis back in the promised land, yes let’s forget about all the deserving clubs who may want to get into the “Not so Super 12” and who do so by winning games and developing good players. I think not.

And any way Caernarfon have a less than sparkling record of success in the Welsh Premier League. The last time they were in the in the League in 2008/09 they finished bottom with 20 points from 34 games. They were relegated because they were the worst team in the League and not as many others have been because the FAW wanted to reduce the size of the League to save itself some money. Their attendance average that season was 204 while even in the moderately more successful previous season 2007/08 it was only 237. Hardly earth shattering. Possibly the reason they are getting large crowds now is that they are playing local derbies against Llanrug and Llanberis and because they are winning. Would Caernarfon get 500 for the visit of Port Talbot or Newtown? I don’t think so.

Caernarfon have a great tradition and would love to be back in the top tier but they have to do it in the same way as every other club. By winning football games and finishing ahead of the 15 other teams in their League and then do it again next season. There are rules and a regulation regarding promotion and relegation in Welsh football and fast tracking one club over all others is not an option and I hope it never will.

Gerallt Owen





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