WELSH PREMIER FOOTBALL

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IT is nearly 50 years since Borough United represented Wales in Europe after lifting the Welsh Cup.

The club was only in existence for 15 years, but the name will always hold a special place in Welsh football history and now, there are hopes of tracking down as many of the players as possible to organise a reunion.

The club's European adventures in 1963 became a cause celebre in British football.

After winning four trophies, Borough spent the summer fund-raising for the European adventure - despite the 1962-3 season’s successes, the club had made a £73 loss. 

A lottery was held with the first prize a bungalow being built by Borough supporter Cifford Ogle. 

The first round pairing with fellow minnows Sliema Wanderers of Malta was a kind one, but the logistics of the journey were less straightforward 50 years ago than they would be today. 

The United party took 31 hours to reach the Med – their plane diverting to Marseilles because of engine trouble – and they took to the pitch just four hours after arriving, a request for postponement having been refused. 

The match took place at the National Stadium in Gzira before 15,000 spectators and, in the circumstances, Borough did well to hold out for a 0-0 draw on an unfamiliar sandy surface.

Back home, the second leg was played at Wrexham on 3rd October 1963, with 17,613 fans in attendance. 

The Maltese visitors found playing on grass as alien as sand had been to the Borough party and a goal in each half, from Gerry Duffy and 19-year-old Mike Pritchard, sent United through.

The second round didn’t take place until December, with Borough drawn against Czech cup-winners Slovan Bratislava, who had reached the previous season’s quarter-final and fielded five internationals. 

Strangely, only 10,196 turned out on 11 December 1963 for the first leg at Wrexham, but they saw a close and fiercely contested game, Molnar’s goal early in the second half giving the visitors a 1-0 lead to take into the return, played only four days later. 

This time the Borough part-timers had to contend with an icy, snow-covered pitch and despite a brave attempt to contain the home side, Borough conceded three goalsand went out 4-0 on aggregate.

Mike Pritchard is now hoping to reunite as many of the players as possible.

Recently club captain Frank Harrison and Brian Clowry came over from Stoke to seek the whereabouts of two banners which had been presented to him and the club by Sliema Wanderers and Slovan Bratislava. 

They were believed to have been presented to the then Mayor of Conwy and displayed for some time in the Conwy Guildhall. 

If anyone can shed some light on the whereabouts of these banners and some of the players, then please contact Mike Pritchard on 01492 878322, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ex Borough United players

Sadly, the Borough United story ended in 1967 when they were evicted from their Nant-y-Coed home.

Relocating to Conwy's Morfa was ruled out as unfeasible, mergers with Llandudno or Colwyn Bay mooted but ultimately scuppered by the FAW’s refusal to sanction an application to the Cheshire League. 

In July 1967 the club resigned from the Welsh League (North) and though they soldiered on for two seasons in the Vale of Conwy League, they folded in 1969.

Photo: Brian Clowry, Frank Harrison and Mike Pritchard.

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29 May 2017

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