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A LOOK INTO HISTORY 143 – The Official Website Of The Essex Senior Football League


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Formed in 1896, Llanelly’s first honour was the Welsh League division one title claimed in 1914. Llanelly made several attempts to join The Football League, in 1922, 1923, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1947, 1950 and 1951. Despite making an effort to turn professional, the club was not elected. The closest they came was in 1933, where the club received 20 votes compared to 26 for Newport County and 45 for Swindon Town who were both re-elected to the Football League Third Division South.

At the end of World War II with league football returning to normality, Llanelly AFC returned to the 1st Division of the Welsh League for 1945–46 season and continued in this vain until the 1950 season when Llanelly AFC once again gained a place in the prestigious Southern League of whom they bad been members before WW2, together with an influx of Scottish League footballers including John (Jock) Stein who was to find fame with Glasgow Celtic as a player and manager. Their immediate impact was again one of success gaining FA Cup prowess verses Bristol Rovers in a Third round tie replay in 1950–51 season and before losing in a second replay and a Second Round encounter with Colchester United in 1952–53 season and Northampton Town in the next, but as ever problems were to beset the club once more. Falling gates, indifferent seasons meant fewer people through the turnstiles and by 1957 they had to seek re-election to the Southern League. They were granted a stay in the Southern League but a shock to the system was to be suffered when the Welsh FA refused to sanction that continuation in the Southern League and they were left in limbo with an all-time low for their future for the 1957-58 season. Despite immediately winning Division Two West their achievements and an upsurge in their finances and an open door to Southern League once again the Welsh FA spurned their pleas after being accepted and they remained ‘in situ’ in this league until the advent of the League of Wales in 1992–93 season when, as Llanelli FC they became a founder member finishing 14th of 20 with Cymbran Town champions.

Our Match programme is for that final season with the name Llanelly. The spelling Llanelly was an anglicised form used until 1966, when it was changed to Llanelli in January 1966 after a local public campaign. It remains in the name of a local historic building, Llanelly House and on some signs in the area.  The team as it is now named is still based at Stebonheath Park from 1920, having previously playing at the Halfway athletics ground The programme is for a 3rdRound Welsh Amateur Cup game with a division below, Pontardawe Athletic on 30th October 1965 just three months before the name change. There were no notes or league table but as they had only one draw and seven losses, maybe understandable. Things must have looked up as they finished 8th which was exactly mid table in the Welsh Premier League won by the Newport toffee factory side Lovells Athletic. A further programme I have is for their first season as Llanelli FC against Ton Pentre on 18th March 1967 and this time had notes praising the team for beating Lovells Athletic 2-1 the previous week.

After one promotion and relegation, 2002–03 saw the team demoted only to return to the top-flight for the 2004–05 season. In 2005 a wealthy business man and his consortium, The Jesco group bought the club. Since then, the club’s fortunes have transformed remarkably on the pitch. They have played in Europe for 7 consecutive seasons, they won the Welsh premier league and won the Welsh Cup in 2011. The next season was difficult financially with three petitions to wind the club up presented by HM Revenue and Customs. The club was wound up on 22 April 2013 at the High Court in London following a petition presented by HM Revenue & Customs and a new club, reformed later that year as Llanelli Town AFC  Llanelli Town formed and they played in the Cymru South for the 2019–20 season.


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