Welcome to the second part of our look at football clubs based on the coastlines of the Shipping Forecast areas. We start today along the UK’s south west….
Plymouth Argyle currently play in League Two and have flirted with going out of business, entering administration in March 2011.
Since turning pro in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles (one Division Two and two Division Three), five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the club’s 42nd in the second tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the third tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once and the Second Division once.
The Pilgrims’ original ground, Home Park, was destroyed during the Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. After a post-war rebuild, Home Park was largely demolished as part of an extensive process of renovation, and the first phase of a new stadium was completed in May 2002.
Towards the end of the 2005–06 Championship season, the club decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council, releasing the ground from a 125-year lease.
In December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should England’s bid be successful. Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010. However, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the stadium back to the council in late 2011 for £1.6 million, the building project was shelved and the club was in financial difficulty.
The club was then taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand and a leisure complex. Planning permission for the project was granted in 2013. GM
Cobh Ramblers Football Club (CRFC) (Irish: Cumann Peile Chóstóirí Chóbh) play in the League of Ireland First Division. The club, founded in 1922 and elected to the league in 1985, hails from Cobh, County Cork and play their home matches at St. Colman’s Park. The club’s colours are claret and blue.
CRFC was formed from a field hockey club as, until the British withdrawal from Ireland, many hockey club members also played football with the soldiers who were stationed at Cobh.
Cobh Ramblers joined the League of Ireland in 1985, after many successful years as a Munster Senior League side. The team of 1983 got to the semi-final of the FAI Cup, humbling many senior clubs on the way. They drew crowds of over 20,000 to Flower Lodge for the home games as St Colmans Park was too small to accommodate the number of fans attending. There were three replays until Sligo finally won 3-2 and went on to win the Cup.
Cobh won promotion to the Premier Division in 1988 but lasted just one season in the top flight. They won promotion again at the end of the 1992-93 season, and retained their Premier Division status at the end of the 1993-94 season. The club was relegated the following year, and attendances started to dwindle as a result.
The attendance at home matches is now between 600 and 1000, but those fans are loyal and take part in fund-raising events to ensure the club stays in business. As with the non-league in England and Wales, it’s hoped that a new younger generation of supporters keep the clubs going, both from a revenue perspective and volunteering to help run the club. GM
Barry Town’s history dates back to 1892 when Barry and Cadoxton District were formed. In 1912, the club became Barry AFC (the ‘Town’ suffix was added in 1931).
The club (known variously as the Linnets and then the Dragons) has had around 50 internationals on its books, while numerous others have left to pursue successful careers in the Football League.
One of the club’s most turbulent times occurred in 1992, when Barry Town were exiled from Welsh football because they decided not to join the newly-formed League of Wales (now the Welsh Premier). As part of a group of rebel clubs, known as the ‘Irate Eight’, they were forced into non-league football as Barri Dragons FC. However, the club’s owners announced a surprise u-turn and brought the club back into the Welsh football pyramid in 1993.
In their first season back in Welsh football (1993-94), Barry earned immediate promotion to the top flight, whilst winning the quadruple – Welsh League championship, Welsh League Cup, FAW Trophy and the Welsh Cup. After one season in the League of Wales, Barry became the league’s first fully professional club and won their first league championship in 1995-96. The next year saw the Dragons create history as the first League of Wales side to progress beyond the opening round of a European competition.
Barry clinched a first ever treble of League of Wales championship, League of Wales Cup and Welsh Cup. The championship was claimed with a record 105 points and a goal difference of more than +100. Then, from March 1997, the Dragons became the “invincibles”, going 51 matches undefeated in the league.
Whilst the last few years have been turbulent and troubled financially, there is an enduring hope that glory days can return to this former giant of Welsh football once again. GM
Rhyl F.C. was founded in 1879 (though a new limited liability company was formed in 1991) and the team plays its home matches at The Corbett Sports Stadium, Rhyl.
They play in the Welsh Premier League, and have won the league title (season 2003-04).
No strangers to cup success, The Lilywhites have won the Welsh League Cup (2002-03 and 2003-04), The Welsh Cup (1951–52, 1952–53, 2003–04, 2005–06), the Cymru Alliance Cup (1992–93, 2011–12), the North Wales FA Challenge Cup (1927–28, 1929–30, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1938–39, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1969–70, 2003–04, 2005–06), the Welsh Amateur Cup (1972–73), the Cheshire League Challenge Cup (1970–71), and the Northern Premier League President’s Cup (1984–85).
Rhyl have faced several European sides, including Latvians Skonto Riga and FK Suduva, FK Atlantas of Lithuania, Roy Hodgson’s FC Viking of Norway, well-known Finish team FC Haka, Bohemians of Ireland in the Intertoto, and Partizan Belgrade.
Partizan cruised to a decisive 12-0 win on aggregate, but bonds of friendship were formed between fans of the two teams and well-known Rhyl fan Gareth Hughes even bought a Partizan season ticket!
Rhyl share a fierce rivalry with coastal neighbours Bangor City F.C., the two towns being less than 35 miles apart. Games between them often draw crowds of 1,000 – 1,500+ spectators, which is a rarity in the Welsh Premier League.
Rhyl also play a local derby match with near neighbours Prestatyn Town F.C., with only 3 miles separating them. GM
The coastal town of Ayr in Scotland is home to Ayr United, who play their home games at Somerset Park, are nicknamed ‘The Honest Men’ after a line from the poem ‘Tam o’Shanter’ by Ayrshire-born poet, Robert Burns. Major honours have eluded Ayr during their 104 year existence but they have been champions of Scotland’s lower divisions on multiple occasions.
They have been managed on three separate occasions by Ally MacLeod, who, when in charge of the national team, famously boasted his Scotland side could win the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. In 1988, they were almost bought by Sir David Murray, the businessman who eventually ended up taking over at Rangers where his financial muscle secured a period of incredible success from the late 1980’s to the early 2000’s.
The club has been in the headlines recently thanks to striker Michael Moffatt. The striker was found guilty of betting on six matches involving his own team and received a six-match ban for contravening league rules on gambling. MG
Ness FC were formed in 1933 and are based in Port of Ness, Isle of Lewis; their home ground being on Fivepenny Machair. They are one the Highlands and Islands most successful clubs, but have failed to win the Lewis and Harris League since 1999 (they had been champions 13 times between 1979 and 1999).
During the glory days from the late seventies to the late nineties, Ness also won the Highland Amateur Cup four times, the Jock Stein Cup eight times and the Lewis Cup ten times along with numerous other assorted cup triumphs.
Interestingly, between 1978 and 2012, five different ‘Donalds’ (Donald J Smith, Donald ‘Dolaidh Ban’ Murray, Donald MacSween, Donald ‘Bleach’ MacLeod and Donald J ‘Saggy’ Smith) were named as the club’s Senior Player of the Year; an award also won on five occasions apiece by people with the surname Thomson and Morrison. MG
TB Tvoroyri are a club from the Faroe Islands, currently playing in the top tier of Faroese football. Their full name is Tvoroyrar Boltfelag. They are the oldest in the Faroe Islands, having formed in 1892. They’ve won the Premier League title seven times in their history, although not since 1987. They also have won the Faroe Islands Cup, five times, but not since 1977. They’re heyday was the mid-1970’s when they won back-to-back titles in 1976 and 1977, doing the League and Cup double in 1977. They play in black & white stripes and play at a really picturesque ground, Sevmyri, which has a capacity of just 4000.
They’ve just been relegated from the Meistaradeildin – the Faroes Premier League – with the season finishing in October 2013. They’ve had a tough time of late with a couple of relegations. There has even been talk of merging with another club.
They’ve had their fair share of managers too, down the years. Currently Pall Guolaugsson is the 27th since 1990. A list which has included the wonderfully named, Oddbjorn Joensen.. Although, one man, Jon Johannesen has hadfive different stints in the role. Rather intriguingly, they currently have two players from Senegal in the squad. One can only imagine how they feel about the contrast in surroundings from their homeland. PS
Stromness Athletic are the only amateur football club based in the town of Stromness; the second most populated in the Orkney Islands, situated in the south west of Mainland Orkney. The club were founded in 1894 and play their home games at the picturesque Market Green.
The town of Stromness boasts a population of just over 2,000 and its history and present is inextricably linked to its position adjoining the town’s natural harbour; the focal point of business in the area. The port grew from the late 17th century onwards, trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company and operating as a base for the whaling fleet.
The club play in the Orkney Cheese OAFA ‘A’ League, finishing fifth of ten teams in the 2013 season. They were also runners-up in the Heddle Cup, going down 5-1 to league champions Rovers in the final. MG
Tomorrow, we move down the North Sea…..