Saturday 25th February 2017 3.00pm
Evostik Division One North
Colwyn Bay 1 Glossop North End 2 ht: 1-0 att: 207 Entrance £10 Programme £2.50 Coffee £1.30
Bartle 45 : Leonard 79, Johnson 87
from Llanelian Road
(from the archives)
Whenever I plan a jaunt a bit further afield, the weather does its best to spoil it. I have a scientific mind and don’t believe in Sod’s Law, but the things that nature (and sometimes public transport, if nature fails), does to try to stop my hopping is quite uncanny. One has to be phlegmatic about these things, otherwise they’ll drive you to paranoia and despair.
A few days’ jaunt in North Wales withthe family, was to culminate in a Welsh Alliance tie. When the universe got wind of my plans, it changed the forecast for North Wales fromperfectly clement, to rain every day before, during and after our arrival. Not a problem in holiday terms, but yet another water-logging scare football-wise. As if that wasn’t enough, it threw a storm in, namely Doris, to make sure. Very few PPs all season in the Welsh Alliance except the very day I’m there.
I’d planned one of Nantlle Vale, Llanberis or Penrhyndeudraeth, but then drove past Llanrug’s ground and was swayed to change there. Instantly a tweet appeared announcing their game was PP this weekend in respect of a bereavement. On the Friday I stood on Llanberis’s pitch. Very lush, grassy and firm. Absolutely no chance of being off, but off it was. As were options 3,4,5,6,7 and 8. The slight moisture in the air was causing havoc.
In the end the only safe bet was Colwyn Bay who had announced their game was definitely ON, although Colwyn Bay’s already decrepit pier had fallen even further into the sea, thanks to Doris. At Welsh Alliance level, I couldn’t be sure the games that claimed they would be on, would stay on, so it was another English Non League game for me, albeit still in Wales.
Colwyn Bay were founded in 1881 and joined the North Wales Coast League in 1898. They folded in 1901, but returned the following year, and from 1927 were known as Colwyn Bay United. They have enjoyed quite a bit of success in Welsh Leagues and have flitted a few times between Welsh and English football leagues. They played in the Birmingham & District League in the first half of the 20th century; and then after winning the Welsh League (North) twice running between 1983-84 and getting to the Welsh Cup semi-finals, they joined the North West Counties League.
In 1991-92 they were forced to decide between joining the newly formed League of Wales or not playing their home matches in Wales. They were one of what what were known as the irate eight – eight Welsh based clubs playing in English Wales – the others being Bangor City, Barry Town, Caernarfon Town, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport County, Newtown and Rhyl. It led to some ludicrous groundshares such as Colwyn Bay at Northwich Victoria, Barry at Worcester City and Newport at Gloucester. The bizarrest was Caernarfon Town at Curzon Ashton, over 100 miles away.
Recently, Colwyn Bay have been as high as the Conference North but find themselves two steps lower now.
Llanelian Road is a belter of a non league ground, residing up from the coast in Old Colwyn, off the main road but with the other sides rural.
There is a smart 500 seater stand on the roadside of the ground, with the club colours claret and blue seating. There are two long stands opposite covering a small terrace. The stand behind the goal is my favourite with two chunky steps and then a long wooden backbench with blue and white seats delineated. It has some quirky angles too.
Between the two stands on the side there is a mural, which is the icing on the cake for a great football ground.
Colwyn Bay took the lead on the stroke of half time, but in the second half Glossop continued to pressurise the Seagulls’ defence and ended up with two late goals to take all three points. Their manager was a happy.
This was a superb ninth back-up choice of game to go to. It’s a ground I wouldn’t ordinarily have done so, in a way, all the Welsh League games being called off turned out not to be a bad thing. Well worth a trip.