The first 100 years 1873-1973

By Alec Cunningham - February 27 2005
The first 100 years 1873-1973
 
Druids History 1873 - 1973 (The first 100 years)
The story of the Druids Football club's first 100 years of competative football is one of mixed fortunes and provides a fascinating account of the triumphs and disappointments of what was virtually a village football club.
 

Unquestionably the oldest football club in Wales, the formation of the Druids followed the introduction of the game in the Cefn Mawr district on Plas Madoc park known locally as Whalley's Park now the site of a large council estate. After moving on to Wynnstay Park to a ground kindly leased by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn the Druids really came to the forefront and began to make it's name known far beyond the confines of the principality.

The halcyon days lasted for many years in the last decade of the 19th century and until the outbreak of the first World War. During this period the Druids provided more than 40 international players for Wales and a host of well known administrators of the game.  Included in these is Mr Llewelyn Kenrick who not only captained Druids and Wales, but was also the first secretary of the Welsh FA.

Runners up to Wrexham in the first Welsh Cup Final in 1877-78, the Druids were finalists in the first six years of the competition and by winning the trophy on three consecutive occasions between 1880 and 1882 became the first of only three clubs to hold that distinction, the others being Wrexham and Cardiff City.

In 1876 Druids entered the English FA Cup for the first time with little success until 1882-83 when they shocked the football world by defeating the famous Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round, only to lose to eventual winners Blackburn Olympic in the quarter finals. In all Druids won the Welsh Cup eight times and were runners up no fewer than eleven times.

After many years competing in the Welsh League and the Football Combination, Druids became the first Welsh club to join the Birmingham & District League in the company of teams such as West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Small Heath (now Birmingham City). By the onset of the First World War Druids had struck a bad patch, having lost many players to Football League sides such as Bolton Wanderers, Newton Heath (Manchester United), Stoke and Northampton Town, and by 1918 were back playing in the North Wales Alliance League.

The rise of professionalism in North Wales compounded the demise of the club and it was not until the 1930's that they began to restore the reputation of the club in North Wales amateur football circles but without the success of the previous century.

The 40's and 50's continued the club's tradition, Druids losing to Portmadoc in the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup in 1956 and also defeating Swansea City to win back to back Welsh Youth Cups in 1957 and 1958.

One of the most noteable accomplishments of the post 2nd World War years was the acquisition and development of derelict land in the centre of Cefn Mawr at Plaskynaston which provided dressing rooms and ground facilities which at the time were unsurpassed in by any amateur club in Wales, a ground still occupied today.

The opposition for the official opening of the ground was provided by a Manchester United Youth team containing the name of one George Best among many soon to be familiar names.