JD Cymru Premier 2022/23 Season Club-by-Club Guide
The year 2022 is a historic one for football in Wales: our first World Cup since 1958, our Women’s team set to break their attendance record next month in a vital World Cup qualifier and participation is growing on grassroots pitches from Ynys Môn to Ynysybwl.
The 30th anniversary season of the JD Cymru Premier, Wales’ top league in men’s football, kicks off this weekend, and there has never been a better time to support the clubs at the heart of our communities.
Nation.Cymru hears from each club below as fans, volunteers, players and managers tell us what they love about Welsh domestic football and what they expect from the season ahead.
Aberystwyth Town FC
Nicknames: The Seasiders, Black and Greens
Having played more JD Cymru Premier games than anyone else (they lead Newtown AFC by one on account of games played when the 20/21 season was curtailed because of the pandemic), Aberystwyth Town are about to embark on a 31st consecutive season in the top-flight.
Anthony ‘Taff’ Williams, first team manager: “We’ve all got to strive for the top six and then build from there. I don’t see why we can’t be there or thereabouts. Starting the season well is massively important and then who knows. It’s an exciting season, there’s a number of boys I am really looking forward to working with. We are going to strengthen a little bit more, then we are going to be very competitive and hopefully be in the top six come January 7th.”
Tomos Mereds, Aberystwyth Town fan.
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: I will say beating Haverfordwest 2-0 last year which was the 1,000 league game in the JD Cymru Premier for the club. That was a special and memorable night.
One to watch: Charlie Edge – He’s been my MOTM in each of the pre-season games. He reads the game well and is always one step ahead of other players. I’m sure there will be a song about Edge before long!
Best away day: It has to be one of the clubs down south because of the extra support we have from the Cardiff boys and Aber Sole Crew (Town’s infamous ultras), therefore I will say Cardiff Met because of our results in recent years down there.
Matchday bar: Without a shadow of doubt the John Charles lounge at the football club. Always a familiar face in the club and great place to meet the opposition supporters.
Matchday food: Before KO – Always cheese burger and chips. Half Time – Cup of tea and a mars bar. Full time- McFlurry (Only if we get a positive result).
Did you know? Having come through the youth system at Aber, Wales’ Rhys Norrington-Davies became the first ‘Aber’ player to score for Wales since 1908 with his goal against the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League in June. Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw also cut his teeth at Aberystwyth but is yet to score in his three caps to date.
Ground: Aberystwyth University Stadium, Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, SY23 1PB.
Capacity: 5,000 (1,500 seated).
Tickets: £8 for Adults, £5 for Concessions / Students, £2 for Secondary School age children and free entry for Primary School age children.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @AberystwythTown
Airbus UK Broughton FC
Nicknames: The Wingmakers or Planemakers.
Established in 1946 as Vickers-Armstrong, Airbus UK Broughton F.C. have been something of a yo-yo club in recent years. Promoted last season as Cymru North champions, Airbus’ golden age featured consecutive JD Cymru Premier runners up finishes in 2012-13 & 2013/14.
Steve O’Shaughnessy, Manager: “As a club we are looking forward to getting going back in the JD Cymru Premier. We have a lot of unfinished business after 2019/20. It’s going to be a tough campaign, but this club should be in the league and hopefully now we will stay in it for a long time.”
Michael Mayfield, Chairman
Club legend: Mark Allen, current assistant manager and former player has been with the club for over 15 years. He is now the number two in the management team alongside Steve O’Shaughnessy.
Matchday food: Our burger van or the on-site Wings club behind the main stand.
Did you know? Three of the floodlights at Airbus’ ground need to be retracted when not in use as it is adjacent to a fully operational airfield.
Ground: Hollingsworth Group International Airfield (known as ‘The Airfield’), CH4 0TJ.
Capacity: 1,600 (500 seated).
Tickets: Adults £8 Concessions £4.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @airbusukfc
Bala Town FC
Last year’s runners-up, Bala will be hoping to earn another crack at European football this time around, having been knocked out by Ireland’s Sligo Rovers on penalties despite winning the second leg in Sligo.
Colin Caton, manager: “It’s going to be a fight for top six this season, be one of the toughest season’s yet, with many teams pushing the boat out for European Football. I think TNS will win the league, but after that there’s nine teams that could finish in the top six. We’ve more or less got our squad assembled now, possibly one or two more and that will be us ready. Hopefully we can put in performances throughout the season like we did in Sligo.”
Ruth Crump, secretary
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: It would either be winning the European play-off at Port Talbot in 2013 or winning the Welsh Cup against TNS five years ago.
Matchday food: Every home game I’ll either be having Jackie’s curry & chips or a sausage & chips from the Maes Tegid burger van.
One to watch: Either Daniel Clark, our goalkeeper, or Steff Williams the defender, both of whom came through our academy.
Matchday pub: We always head to the Plas Coch Hotel in Bala.
Did you know? Newport County’s Will Evans was signed from Bala Town this summer, having notched up more than 150 appearances for Bala and Cardiff Met, and scoring twice in Wales C’s 4-0 victory over England in April.
Ground: Maes Tegid, LL23 7UY.
Capacity: 3,000 (504 seated).
Tickets: £7 for Adults, £4 for over 65’s, £1 for school children.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @BalaTownFC
Caernarfon Town FC
Nicknames: The Canaries, Cofis.
Probably responsible for the best atmosphere in the league (home and away), Caernarfon’s Cofi Army have lit up the JD Cymru Premier since their promotion in 2018. Having finished comfortably in the top six last season, they’ll be hoping for a first taste of European football at the end of 2022/23.
Huw Griffiths, manager: “The lads and coaching staff can’t wait to get started. The recent signings of Josh Tibbetts and Osian Evans, together with the signing of Ben Wynne earlier in the summer, will certainly strengthen the squad and we look forward to another exciting season ahead with hopefully some successful cup runs and good results in the League. As always the support of the Cofi Army plays a very important part in any success Caernarfon Town has.”
Y Cofi Army, Caernarfon’s famous legion of fans
Favourite chant: ADERYN MELYN! I FYNY YN Y GOEDEN BANANA! (Yellow bird! Up in the banana tree!)
Favourite JD Cymru Premier moment: Has to be when we took over Maes Tegid in sombreros for the last game of the season and clinched a European playoff spot. Even Sean Eardley the manager joined in.
One to watch: We’re very excited to see more of Osian Evans this season – and Dion Donohue is one to watch, absolutely class.
Favourite away day: We’ve had an incredible welcome at Penybont the last few seasons, and Aber and Airbus have always been cracking days out.
Did you know? Latecomers to the Welsh football pyramid in 1995, Caernarfon made it as far as the third round of the English FA Cup in 1987, losing a replay to then-Second Division Barnsley. Some believe Caernarfon would have been promoted to the National League (then-Conference) had the exertions of a cup run not taken its toll on the squad.
Tickets: Adults £8, Concessions £6, Under 18s £2.
Facebook: @CaernarfonTownFC Twitter: @CaernarfonTown
Cardiff Metropolitan University FC
Nickname: The Archers.
Having had a change in the managerial hot seat after Christian Edwards’ 13 years in charge over the summer, Met hope a change of gear will allow them to beat an all-time best of sixth in the JD Cymru Premier.
Ryan Jenkins, manager: “It’s been a pleasure to work with this group of players, during the off season and pre-season. We’ve added one or two to a settled group and we’ve recruited some really exciting young players. This healthy competition for places and depth within the squad is most certainly required to be competitive in the ever-improving JD Cymru Premier, as well striving for success in other competitions. All clubs have recruited well again, which will bring about plenty of excitement, twists and turns and some interesting talking points. We are preparing thoroughly for the immediate fixtures and we have set some targets that we have agreed upon as a group. The club is continuing to grow and evolve and all of us at the club have a part to play in ensuring this growth both on and off the pitch. My staff and I are enthused by the levels shown so far and we are working hard to ensure we perform at that level as consistently as possible.”
Matt James, ‘legacy Cardiff Met fan’, Twitter: @casadelcalcio
Matchday bar: The Cyncoed SU.
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: Beating Bala to qualify for Europe in 2019.
Favourite chant: Take Me Home Cyncoed Road
One to watch: CJ Craven and Sam Jones are two players who’ll be looking to make their mark at the club this season.
Favourite away day: In terms of distance Penybont but really like the grounds at Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth.
Did you know? Met became the first British University men’s side to play in a European competition when they took on Luxembourg’s Progres Niederkorn in the Preliminary Round of the UEFA Europa League in 2019.
Ground: Cyncoed Campus Stadium, CF23 6XD.
Capacity: 1,620 (280 seated).
Tickets: Adults £6, Concessions £3, Students £1.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @CardiffMetFC
Connah’s Quay Nomads FC
Nickname: The Nomads.
Consecutive champions in 2019-20 and 2020-21, Connah’s Quay are famous for being runners-up in the 2018-19 Scottish Challenge Cup. Having finished last season in ninth following a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player, new manager Neil Gibson will be hoping to get the Nomads back into European football, where they’d want to build on a 1-0 defeat of Finnish heavyweights HJK Helsinki in 2017.
@CQNFans, fan Twitter account
Favourite JD Cymru Premier moment: How could anything top winning the league? Besides winning it again the following season?
Club legend: It has to be Andy Morrison, he took us to champions, and further. We were 15 minutes away from taking one of Scotland’s cups.
One to watch: Must be new signing Harry Franklin, a golden boot contender with JD Cymru Premier experience.
Favourite away days: This would be Flint, Airbus or TNS.
Did you know? Nomad academy product and former Cardiff City striker Rhys Healey top scored in France’s Ligue 2 last season, firing Toulouse to the French top flight.
Ground: Deeside Stadium, CH5 4BR.
Capacity: 1,500 (500 seated).
Tickets: Adults £7, Over 65’s £3.
Facebook @gapnomads Twitter @The_Nomads Instagram @thenomadsfc
Flint Town United FC
Nickname: The Silkmen.
Promoted in 2020, The Silkmen stayed in the JD Cymru Premier by the skin of their teeth at the end of their debut season (they finished in 11th but were given a reprieve as the Cymru South & North seasons were cancelled due to Covid-19). Flint finished comfortably in the top half last season and will be looking to build further again with new manager, Wrexham legend Lee Fowler.
Lee Fowler, manager: “After taking over relatively late in the close season it’s been a hectic few weeks for me since joining the club and trying to assemble a new squad. Added to that, the club is also installing a new artificial pitch, so we haven’t been able to play any home friendlies and our opening six fixtures will all be away. But, I’m looking forward to competing and managing in the JD Cymru Premier and our fans can rest assured we will be giving it our all in every game.”
Darryl Williams, chairman: “Our club is surrounded by volunteers who dedicate so much of their time during the week. It is very much a community club with volunteers included in decision making.” Keith and Elaine who volunteer to make the food on matchdays are known as legends to the club. Our food is bought locally from businesses, with the pies being famous in the area. Eira also deserves a special mention, who volunteers in our kiosk.”
Darryl Williams, chairman
Matchday pub: The Flint clubhouse is a favourite of fans and is run by club legend Dave Beck. He’s the grandfather of Wales youth international Owen Beck, who signed with Liverpool in 2020. Dave is also the uncle of Ian Rush. Another great pub is The Yacht, Oakenholt which has rave reviews.
Matchday food: Black’s Pies, a revolutionary handmade pie business originating in Flintshire. There are also North Wales farm sourced, high-quality burgers and bacon on site.
Rising star: Ben Hughes. Ben has been through youth development with Flint FC since he was ten years old. Ben has just been rewarded with a first contract and honourable place in the first team.
Did you know? New boss Lee Fowler turned out for a long list of clubs in the football league – Coventry, Huddersfield, Fleetwood, Doncaster and Crawley. He made his Coventry debut under Gordon Strachan and scored his first goal against his home town club Cardiff in the 2003 FA Cup.
Ground: Essity Stadium, Cae y Castell, Flint, CH6 5PJ.
Capacity: 1,000 (250 seated).
Tickets: Adults £8
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @FlintTownFC
Haverfordwest County AFC
Nickname: The Bluebirds.
Haverfordwest made headlines in 2021 when they signed Wales’ Euro 2016 squad member and Eden Hazard nightmare-giver Jazz Richards. Having finished a place above the drop zone (albeit clear by seven points) last season, County will be looking to push for the top half this year, where they feel that they belong.
Jordan Davies, Haverfordwest forward: “This is an unbelievable bunch of players and a great club. It’s going in the right direction.”
Ryan Evans, Haverfordwest County fan
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: The home win against TNS, live on Sgorio during the 2020/21 season was fantastic but it was played behind closed doors due to the pandemic. The first win back in the JD Cymru Premier during the same season, away to Bala will always be special too but in more recent times, the 6-0 win away to Aber in March is a personal highlight. It was the start of a really good run of form and the new tactics just clicked that night and the boys were rampant.
Club legend: Too many to mention! The club prides itself on how inclusive it is. The community links developed over decades are stronger than ever in recent years and long-time fan, Marcus Greenish is known all across Wales. You’ll regularly find Marcus by the tunnel, expressing his deep knowledge of Welsh football and the many clubs he follows. One week he’ll be in a Cardiff Corinthians jacket, the following a Barry Town hoodie. Deep down, he is a Bluebird for life.
Matchday food: The Ogi Bridge Meadow clubhouse cafe has always had a queue from the exterior hatch, evidencing how good the food always was. However, the previous team of club volunteers hung up their aprons at the end of last season so during 2022/23, the local Coffee Shop, Saib, have taken over and brought with them a brand new, tasty-looking menu.
Did you know? Forget All or Nothing on Amazon Prime, the Bluebirds are the stars of their own documentary- #YouCanHaveItAll- on YouTube.
Ground: Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium, SA61 2EX.
Capacity: 2,467 (1,000 seated).
Tickets: Adults £7.50, Concessions £5, Under 16s Free.
Facebook & Twitter: @HaverfordwestFC Instagram: @haverfordwestafc
Nickname: The Robins.
Like Aberystwyth Town, Newtown are one of just two ever-present in the league since it started in 1992. The clubs is also a founder member of the FAW. Having finished third last season, Newtown season’s began at the start of July, defeating the Faroe Islands’ Havnar Bóltfelag in the First Round of the Europa Conference League Qualifiers before succumbing to Slovakia’s Spartak Tvarna. Newtown will be hoping for another top-three finish this year to spark yet another European adventure.
Chris Hughes, Manager: “After a great summer, we are looking forward to welcoming our supporters to Latham Park – we are looking to continue our recent improvements and to push hard both on and off the field and hopefully another European trip.”
Ryan Jones, Newtown AFC photographer & Barry Gardner, finance director of Newtown AFC
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: Our play-off game against Caernarfon to qualify for the Europa conference league.
Favourite Chant: ‘TNS HAVE NO FANS’
Club legend: Must be Craig Williams. More than 500 top flight games after making his debut at 16, he’s had over 15 seasons in the top tier.
Rising Stars: Rhys Hesden and Henry Cowans, who scored twice during the Europa Conference League Qualifiers.
Did you know? Winners of the second ever Welsh Cup, Newtown have now gone 127 years since their last national trophy, a second Welsh Cup win in 1895.
Ground: Latham Park (named after local hero George Latham, a former war hero, Welsh international, Liverpool player and coach of Cardiff City’s 1927 FA Cup winning team), SY16 1EN.
Capacity: 5,000 (1,300 seated).
Tickets: Adults £7, Concessions £5, Under 16’s £1.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @NewtownAFC
Penybont have built upon their foundation of strong community links since promotion in 2019. Bont will be looking to build on last season’s top half finish and maybe even sample European football for the first time in their history.
Rhys Griffiths, manager: “I feel we’ve strengthened the squad, but so have our rivals so it’s sure to be another tough season. I make no secret of the fact we want to play in Europe, as every club in our league do, so we’ll be aiming for that again. We’d also love to win a trophy having gone so close in the cup final last season.”
Ian Pride, Penybont fan
Favourite JD Cymru Premier moment: This was a toughy but we narrowed it down to two was probably the last minute equaliser away to Cardiff Met in our first season in the top flight. It was tipping it down with rain , we were soaked through, Little Stu ran me down the steps to the barrier to celebrate with players who ran over to us. Or there’s the time at Bala away celebrating a 2-2 draw by having to pee on the wheel of the minibus to stop it over heating.
Favourite chant: “We all agree Porthcawl is better than Barry!” away to Barry Town.
Club legend: Our club legend has to be Billy Borge. A local lad who grew up a stone’s throw away from the club. He would be standing on the Bont Bank with us if he wasn’t playing, a proper no nonsense football lad who’ll give 100% every game.
Matchday pub: Our clubhouse, due to the location of the stadium outside the town centre we meet up at the club, have a few pints before making our way to the Bont Bank.
Did you know? Former Bournemouth, Swansea and Wigan midfielder, Shaun McDonald, who has four Wales caps, signed for Penybont on an 18-month deal from EFL League Two side Crewe Alexandra in December.
Ground: The SDM Glass Stadium, CF31 4JU.
Capacity: 1,200 (500 seated)
Tickets: Adults £7, Concessions £5, Under 16’s £2.
Facebook: @PenybontFootballClub Twitter: @PenybontFC_ Instagram @penybontfc_
Pontypridd United AFC
Nickname: The Dragons.
Having finished second in the Cymru South last season and gaining promotion due to them obtaining a Tier 1 License, Pontypridd United will be something of an unknown package this season, and be hoping to surprise a few teams at USW Sport Park in Treforest.
Andrew Stokes, Pontypridd United manager: “During pre-season we have been integrating new players and implementing our beliefs and principles for what we are going to be in the JD Cymru Premier this season. It is important for us and our success that everyone within the club is working towards our united vision. There is no doubt there will be tough times ahead, but we are massively confident in what we are about and what we are going to do in the JD Cymru Premier. There is a real buzz amongst the players, and we’re excited to see that really come to life when the season starts.”
Paul Ragan, chairman: “We are Pontypridd. We are our men’s teams. We are our women’s teams. We are our academy teams. We are our junior teams. We are our grassroots teams. We are our staff. We are our fans. We are our business partners. We are our communities. We are one club. We are one family. We are united. WE ARE PONTYPRIDD UNITED.”
Sarah Ragan, Communications Director of Pontypridd United AFC
Best JD Cymru Premier moment: All yet to come this season.
Matchday Pub: The Pottery is a very short distance away from the ground and is nicknamed ‘The Ponty Fan’s Pub’ due to the swarms of fans who visit, post-match.
Did you know? In 2014, Ponty took on Spanish giants Valencia, losing just 3-0 away. The game captured the imagination of Talksport DJ Colin Murray who attended the game and secured sponsorship from DIY firm Wickes for fan group Ponty Party.
Ground: USW Sports Park, Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd CF37 5UP
Tickets: Adults £7, Concessions £5, Under 16’s £2.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @PontyUnitedM
The New Saints FC
Nicknames: The Saints, TNS
“They’ll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight,” said Jeff Stelling. And they will be if The Saints take home a 15th and second consecutive JD Cymru Premier championship this year. Anything else will be seen as a failure. Having parted ways with title-winning manager Anthony Limbrick shortly after being knocked out of the Europa Conference League Qualifiers at the second round, it’s clear where expectations are at Park Hall.
Craig Harrison, manager: “I’m looking forward to the new season and I’m looking to be as successful as possible. Expectations are high obviously high, but that’s what it’s all about at TNS. We’ll be looking to win every single game of every single competition.”
Mike Clarke, TNS fan
Matchday pub: The best pub to go to is The Old Vaults after a Friday night win.
Favourite JD Cymru Premier moment: My favourite moment as a fan was when the record for top-flight consecutive victories was broken at The Rock a few years ago. Our chairman Mike Harris was relieving himself when the second goal was scored.
Club legend: Former manager Ken McKenna having a push/shoving/argument with a visiting dolphin mascot at Treflan, possibly Port Talbot. McKenna was also famed for his rants down from the TV gantry at star winger John Toner, I wonder why Toner didn’t seek revenge. Funniest thing for me was visiting manager Leighton James throwing his cap onto the ground in disgust about something, then proceeding to jump up and down on it. I described it in our programme later as the South Wales version of the Mexican Hat dance.
Rising star: For me it would be Ben Clark at TNS, quite a regular starter for us, seems able to offer so much in several positions, good engine, scores a few and still a young man.
Did you know? The Saints haven’t only caught the attention of Jeff Stelling- they’re mentioned in the Half Man Half Biscuit song ‘This One’s For Now’.
Ground: The Venue at, Burma Rd, Park Hall, Whittington, Oswestry SY11 4AS
Capacity: 2,034 (1,034 seated)
Tickets: Adults £8, Concessions £4, Juniors £1.
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @TheNewSaintsFC
Match information can also be found from www.cymrufootball.wales or via the Cymru Football app – available on Apple iOS and Android.
Watch JD Cymru Premier League matches live and highlights on Sgorio on S4C
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