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Showing posts with the label Welsh Football

When Wrexham AFC Stunned Europe | @AFCFinners

The story of North Wales' historic side, Wrexham AFC, has captured the footballing world in recent months. Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and  Rob McElhenney took control of the football club officially in February 2021  and proffessed their ambitions of taking Wrexham to heights they had not seen for decades. Finlay Stanley ( @AFCFinners ) has written for us about one previous time that Wrexham stunned football... We all love a good cup upset. Seeing a team from the lower leagues defeat one of the best teams in the country is one of the sport’s favourite pastimes. But one of the greatest cup upsets in Welsh football history came from Wrexham AFC. And this wasn’t in the FA Cup, nor the league cup. Fourth-tier Wrexham produced an incredible upset on the European stage. In the 1980s, they qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and would face FC Porto in the competition. It was the ultimate David VS Goliath encounter, that has gone down in history.  In 1984, Wrexham AFC had to ap

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | British Home Champions, 1907

In the early decades of international football the Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish would regularly slug it out with each other in annual fixtures. The history books show that the British Home Nations Championships were founded in 1883/84, a chance to officially record one of these teams as  'international champions'. With world football still developing in the latter part of the Victorian period, these games were really one of the most prestigious events a player could win. Finally, in 1907, with superstar 'wing wizard' Billy Meredith returning from a controversial ban, and at the 24th time of asking, Wales would win a maiden title. The Welsh were always playing something of 'catch up' as association football began to grow within the British Isles. The English FA was founded in 1863 as they sought to codify football and bring a uniformity to the local differences that existed across the country. This seismic moment was followed by the first ever international

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | England 0-1 Wales, 1977

Wales versus England is a favourite fixture for every Welsh football fan. The truth is, the joys are fewer and farther between than we all would like. From Wales' mighty 1907 British Home Championships  victory, the competition was a firm favourite for all British football fans. In 1977, Wales travelled to Wembley, and in an extract from his book:  " Born Under a Grange End Star: The Life, Loves and Many Frustrations of a Cardiff City Fan ", David Collins takes us through his personal, eventful experience of that fine fixture: It was 1977. The punk-rock scene was setting the world alight as my beloved Wales ventured to the twin towers of Wembley to take on England. "Do anything you want to do", they yelled. This was the Modern World. Like a fool, I went along with it.  The decision to embark on this fateful venture was taken whilst passing from The Horse and Groom public house to The Cottage sometime around Christmas 1976. The air was festive, the world was brig

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | Andorra 1-2 Wales, 2014

Why is this one of Welsh football’s greatest moments? Let’s rewind to the beginning of my support for Welsh football, an evening at the Racecourse in 1976 and a 1-2 loss to England in a friendly. Carry on via Yugoslavia in 1976, Anfield 1977 and there have been so many hopes crushed. Move to the 80s, 90s and 2000s and the promise of the qualifications that never materialised. Positivity therefore was overflowing once more for Euro 2016, this had to be the one, especially with the exciting squad Wales now boasted. Following the qualification draw and fixtures being released, the first task was finding Andorra! I had been to Andorra once before, en-route to the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres, so to fly there should have been a doddle. All of this meant that I could begin to plan an epic journey to the European Championships beginning in Andorra and culminating in Paris, 2016. Maybe by train, the trans-Europe express? Although I’m probably barred since the 1978 incident that no-one talk

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | Wales vs the World, 2002

Growing up in the 1990s and early 2000s, Welsh football was rarely thrust into playground conversation. At both club and international level, the game was falling increasingly behind its British and Irish rivals. Cardiff City and Swansea City were yo-yoing between Division Three and Four (League 1 and 2) and on the international scene, our proud nation failed to break into even the top 60 in FIFA's World Rankings. Failure to compete in both 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 qualifying would mean a change was needed to push the side on to where it needed to be. Following Paul Bodin's penalty miss in 1993 and defeat to Romania at the National Stadium, Welsh football would fall into disarray. John Toshack and Mike Smith would do little to boost morale before the enigmatic Bobby Gould took charge. A disappointing qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup saw Wales finish only above San Marino in Group 7. Despite scoring an impressive 20 goals in just 8 games, the 21 conceded demonst

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | Wales 4-2 England, 1938

“ENGLAND TROUNCED BY WALES” One of the most infamous incidents in international football occurred in May 1938, when, under orders, the England team gave the Nazi salute prior to the friendly international against Germany in front of a 100,000 spectators in Berlin. This was a propaganda triumph for Hitler’s Germany but its football team had no answer to the skills of the English, who won convincingly by six goals to three. England could at least claim superiority on the football field and the English press considered its team, with its usual hyperbole, to be the finest in the world. However, a few months later and despite being referred to as ‘the best England team for years’, they were found wanting against Wales in a thrilling international played at Ninian Park, Cardiff, on 22 October 1938. In many ways, the Welsh victory by 4-2 that day should not have been a great surprise. After all, Wales had already won the British Home International Championship on three occasions during the 19

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | The 58-Year Wait is Over

It’s three minutes to 5 on a warm summer afternoon in Bordeaux and we are singing our national anthem like we haven’t sung it before. We are singing our national anthem at a major football tournament. For the first time in 58 years. Our time has come, we are out of the wilderness, we are here right now and it is actually happening. As we roar through Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau , raw emotion is flying around, and grown men and women stand, some with tears, some defiant, some lost in thoughts and prayers. At its conclusion I look up into the pale blue sky and say a quiet message to a beloved and recently departed. It is actually happening. For most Wales football fans it has become a lifetime’s ambition to see their national team at a major tournament and we have had plenty of giddy moments, only to horribly fail at the final hurdle. The Joe Jordan penalty ending our World Cup 1978 ambitions. The 1982 World Cup campaign failing on goal difference after a final game three nil defeat to USSR.