Newtown AFC

NewtownTHE club was formed in 1875 as Newtown White Star and, on Saturday 13th October 1877, Newtown took part in the first ever-Welsh Cup-tie, losing to Druids of Ruabon (now NEWI Cefn Druids). The following season they went on to win the trophy, beating the favourites Wrexham 2-1 at Oswestry. Newtown was the first club to receive this now famous trophy, the cup having been purchased only a few months earlier.
Over the years, the club played on a number of different grounds in the town initially at the Cunnings field, now the Bowling Club site. In the late 1940s, however, the decision was taken to construct new playing headquarters at a site to be called Latham Park. The first competitive game to be staged at the new ground took place on 25th August 1951 when Newtown beat Aberystwyth Town 4-0 in the Central Wales League before over 1,500 spectators. Floodlights were installed and officially unveiled on 24th September 1979 when Second Division Wrexham were the visitors. Again a crowd well in excess of 1,000 was recorded.
Latham Park is so named in honour of a local sporting hero, Captain George Latham, who played soccer for Liverpool, Stoke City and Cardiff City and represented Wales a dozen times at the start of the century. He joined Cardiff City as a player in 1911 and played a major role in the development of the club. He later became Cardiff’s trainer and held this position when Cardiff City took the FA Cup out of England for the first, and only, time beating Arsenal at Wembley Stadium in 1927.

Newtown White Star
Newtown White Star - the second-ever winners of the Welsh Cup [wfda.co.uk].
Another outstanding Newtown footballer was Max Woosnam who played in the period before the Great War and went on to captain Manchester City, winning an international cap for England against Wales. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal (for tennis) at the Antwerp games in 1920, was a Wimbledon doubles champion in 1921 and captained the British Davis Cup team in America three years later. At Cambridge he gained a Blue in six different sports!
Over the years Newtown has played many Football League teams and has produced a host of Welsh internationals. In December 1895 as Welsh Cup holders, Newtown travelled to play Manchester City and shocked the City team by winning 3-2. The famous Billy Meredith was prominent for City, but the hero of the day was Newtown’s W. Parry, who scored all three goals.
In 1896/97, Newtown competed in the Welsh League and finished runners-up to Druids. In 1899/1900 they played in The Combination, along with Chirk, Wrexham, Druids, Bangor, Birkenhead, Aberystwyth Town, Oswestry United and Rhyl Athletic, though, thereafter, no further record can be found of the club competing regularly with North Wales teams until recent times.
During the early part of the century, Newtown played in the Shropshire League and also the Montgomeryshire League, which was the base for today’s Central Wales League. The Robins were also playing in the English F.A.Cup as long ago as the 1890s.
The club’s move into the English pyramid system in 1988/89, reflected the progressive spirit at Newtown. The Robins entered the HFS Loans (formerly Northern Premier and now Unibond) League and regular participation in both the F.A.Cup and the F.A.Trophy opened up new challenges.
The largest crowd to witness a game at Latham Park (5,004) congregated there on 28th January 1956 to see Newtown play a star-studded Swansea Town team in the Welsh Cup. The Football League side won 9-4 with internationals Ivor Allchurch and Cliff Jones playing a starring role.
Latham Park
Picturesque Latham Park regularly stages domestic finals and European ties.
Winners of the Welsh Amateur Cup in 1955, Newtown were beaten finalists in the same competition (by now titled the Welsh Intermediate Cup) in 1986 and 1988. In addition to the two Welsh Cup wins in 1879 and 1895, Newtown have twice won the Mid Wales League (1976 and 1979) and have taken the Central Wales League championship on three occasions, all in the 1980s.
Founder members of the League of Wales in 1992, having left the English non-league pyramid system, the Latham Park side were runners-up in 1996 and represented Wales in the UEFA Cup, losing on aggregate to Latvian champions, Skonto Riga.
Though missing relegation by just one place in 1992/93, Newtown have steadily become one of the league’s top teams, finishing successively in 6th, 4th, 2nd, 5th, 2nd, 6th, 8th and 4th between 1994 and 2001.
In 1998/99, the club had its second taste of UEFA Cup football and performed superbly in holding Polish side Wisla Krakow to a goalless draw at Latham Park. Despite an eventual defeat in the second leg, the Robins are keen to get back into European competition and are disappointed that their subsequent league form has kept them out of the limelight for longer than anticipated.
The departure of manager Brian Coyne in the summer of 2003 saw the appointment of former Wrexham and Chester City midfielder Roger Preece as manager. While the Robins did not view this as a quick fix, preferring to develop youth talent from mid-Wales, they lost patience after three mediocre seasons when they accepted Preece's resignation in October 2006 and appointed Darren Ryan as manager.

Club histories and stats based on information compiled by David Rapson.