LLANSANTFFRAID A VILLAGE OF JD WELSH CUP MEMORIES
Domestic
27 July 2022

LLANSANTFFRAID A VILLAGE OF JD WELSH CUP MEMORIES

A record number of clubs will start to dream of JD Welsh Cup glory this weekend as the 1st qualifying round takes place up and down the country. The New Saints claimed the trophy back in May, but it is neighbouring Tier 4 side Llansantffraid Village FC that will be looking to make the headlines this weekend when they take on Bow Street FC.

Vice-Chairman Ray Jones is a stalwart of the club and offered some infectious enthusiasm as he put his points and his pride in his club across when he spoke to FAW.cymru recently. Jones previously played and managed the club, and as he reeled off a list of titles, it was clear that he has held every conceivable position at the club at some stage. When we caught up with Jones he was keeping a close eye on pre-season preparations. “I'm 62 and I love the club,” he explained. “I've done everything. I'm watching a training session now actually and it's excellent. I've just gone and filled the water bottles up!”

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Llansantffraid Village play their home games at Treflan having returned to the village in 2007 after TNS merged with Oswestry Town and relocated to Park Hall. Prior to the merger, Llansantffraid made JD Welsh Cup history in 1995/96 when they defied the odds to beat Barry Town and lift the trophy. The club would head in a different direction over the course of the next decade, and the rest is history as they became the most successful club in the Welsh domestic game, but bringing football back to the village was a key priority for Jones as a new era began.

“I was reserve team manager when they won the Welsh Cup as Llansantffraid,” Jones added. “I worked with TNS as reserve team manager and helped with the academy, but bit by bit I felt the local people and the people involved with TNS grew apart. We started a new club and we were sharing the Recreation Ground with them before they moved to Oswestry. Then, in 2007, we started at the very bottom with local players. I was manager and my three sons were playing for me. There was a buzz about the village because Llansantffraid were back, and it was a really good and exciting time.

“That buzz has been missing for a few years but I feel like it's back now. Looking forward, we're very positive and very ambitious, but a lot of other clubs are ambitious too and there will be a lot of clubs looking to beat us. We've probably got the best two managers in the league, and the future looks very good. The club is in good hands with a good chairman in Ed Williams, and we're looking forward to the new season, but having watched a few friendlies I think this will be a very competitive league this year.”

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The reason for the optimism at Llansantffraid Village surrounds the appointment of the new management duo in Marc Griffiths and Dan Graham from local rivals Llanrhaeadr, and they have already made their intentions clear with a string of new additions to the playing squad. “The new management team and the new signings have settled in really well,” explained committee member Mark Jones to FAW.cymru. “We're looking good this year and hopefully we can go and win the league and get promoted, and maybe enjoy a couple of cup runs as well.

“The further we go in the JD Welsh Cup the better, but we've got a tough draw against Bow Street away and that's not going to be an easy game. If we could draw TNS in a later round of the Welsh Cup it would be a great local derby! Any prize money we can get does help as we can reinvest it back in the club. We've got good facilities here and having floodlights means that we can play midweek games, so we would like to expand in the near future and reintroduce a reserve team and a youth team, which would be great for us and for the community.”

The community aspect of the village is not lost on Jones either, who has lived in Llansantffraid all his life. “People forget that it was Llansantffraid that won the Welsh Cup and qualified for Europe,” he added. “It was before TNS were taken over, and for the village to do that was something special. I remember that Sky TV came down and the local farmer used to walk his cows through the village to the milking parlour. They couldn't believe it! Villages are losing pubs and post offices and whatever these days, but when we play on a Friday night we get very good crowds because people will come from miles around to watch. Football is massive part of a village community.”

 

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