NEWI Cefn Druids – a brief history
Cefn Druids was formed in 1992 from the merger of Druids United and Cefn Albion, but the real history of the club lies in both parent clubs, in particular Plasmadoc FC, which was formed in 1869.
In 1872 local Ruabon clubs Rovers and Volunteers were amalgamated to form a new club called Ruabon Druids under the guidance of Llewelyn Kendrick of Wynn Hall Ruabon. In 1876 the newly formed Druids became the first Welsh club to enter the FA Cup, but before their match with Shropshire Wanderers, the Ruabon side withdrew.
The 1877/8 season saw the launch of a new competition to be known as the Welsh Cup. The Druids took part in the first ever match at Newtown on October 13, 1887, just a week after playing Scottish giants Queens Park at Hampden Park.
Druids won the Welsh Cup eight times in 25 years: 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885, 1886, 1898, 1899 and 1904. The beaten opponents reflected the nature of football during those early years: Ruthin, Northwich, Newtown White Star and Wrexham among others. The Welsh Amateur Cup was won in 1903, but the era of success was coming to an end.
The next success was in 1957 when the club reached the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup.
In 1967 Cefn Albion was formed and they won the Welsh National League Third Division in 1970, and then the First Division Championship in 1980 and 1981.
A new chapter in the life of both clubs opened with the amalgamation in 1992. Immediate success followed by winning the NEWFA Cup and Presidents Cup.
As Cymru Alliance Champions in 1999 Cefn Druids, now renamed Flexsys Cefn Druids under a lucrative sponsorship deal with the chemical factory, joined the League of Wales. This success was achieved under the guidance of boss Gareth Powell, a legend in local football, recruited from Lex XI.
Powell gathered together a strong squad of mostly young “local” players. It was a sad day for the club when, in 2001, Gareth decided to step down and he was replaced by Steve O’Shaughnessy.
After indifferent performances over the next few seasons, O’Shaughnessy was replaced in May 2004 by former Tranmere Rovers and Wales Under-21 international Alan Morgan. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out well for Morgan, and he resigned as manager in December 2004, with former Wrexham legend Dixie McNeil taking over the managerial reins.
During the summer of 2003, the club announced an arrangement with NEWI, the Wrexham-based college which saw the name being changed to NEWI Cefn Druids. The arrangement offers NEWI students footballing opportunities whilst carrying on with their studies and increasing the resources available to the club. The club signed a three-year deal with NEWI in 2004 after the previous 12 month arrangement proved a success.
With the introduction of the UEFA Licensing Procedure for all clubs competing in National Leagues throughout Europe by season 2004/05, the club’s strategy for development will focus its aims on ensuring that quality football provision is made available to Cefn Mawr for many years to come.