Thursday, 22 April 2010

Elements Cefn Druids AFC (Wales)

Cefn Druids have a direct lineage from the historic old Welsh team Druids FC, who founded in the 1860s. As such they claim to be the oldest club in Wales, which also makes them the world's oldest club outside of England. The present day Cefn Druids, though, were formed in 1992 after a merger between Cefn Albion and Druids United. Their name since then has depended on who is sponsoring them. Initially they were Flexsys Cefen Druids, then NEWI Cefn Druids (after the initials of the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education), and most recently Elements Cefn Druids.

They are a Welsh Premier League team from the village of Cefn Mawr on the outskirts of Wrexham, and ply their trade at the splendidly named Plaskynaston Lane ground in the village, which can hold 2000 punters at a push, 300 of them seated. But there's is a long and nomadic history.

The original Druids FC, formed in 1869, hailed from the nearby village of Ruabon, but were briefly known as Plasmadoc FC, before adopting the Druidic mantle in 1872. They were the first Welsh Club to enter the English FA Cup, and have won the Welsh Cup on eight occasions. They originally played on a ground in the Wynnstay Estate, but after WWI merged with Rhosymedre FC to become Rhosymedre Druids, moving their ground to Rhosymedre village. This was a good arrangement for a small number of years until, fearing insolvency in 1923, they merged with Acrefair United FC to form Druids United - the club that lasted until 1992.

Back to the nineties, and the newly club took the bold step of applying to join the second tier of Welsh Football - the Cymru Alliance, and in 1999 were promoted to the Welsh Premier League, where they have played ever since. They nearly took the dive back to the Alliance after finishing in the bottom two in 2005, but were reprieved when the winners of the second flight Buckley Town chose not to take up their promotion.

Briefly managed by former Wrexham manager Dixie McNeil, The Ancients achieved a string of respectable league positions, but after he left to concentrate on TV punditry, their fortunes have dived, and at the time of writing sit plumb last in the Welsh top flight. Let hope this historic club survive though and soon bounce back to the top table - whatever name they happen to go under next year!

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