First choice: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
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Records show details of a team playing in Rhayader as far back as 1884, the side gaining a
1-1 draw with Newtown who were one of Wales’ most successful clubs of the period.
Rhayader played at the Wierglodd.
The club reformed in the latter part of the 1940s and were again to be found playing their
soccer in the Mid-Wales (South) League in 1947/48, seemingly as Turfs Rhayader FC.
However, by 1950/1 they had moved into the Mid-Wales League. Once again, the club
seemed to disappear until the end of the decade but, by the mid-1960s, were competing in
the Mid-Wales League and, in 1966/67, were victorious in the Radnorshire Cup Final.
Sixteen seasons in the Mid-Wales League saw Rhayader struggle virtually throughout,
although the club finished bottom of the league on only three occasions. With the change of
title to Central Wales League in 1981/82, Rhayader slowly began to climb into more
respectable positions and finished 5th in 1987/88 when the competition went under the
glorious title of the British Rail Sprinter League!
It was the formation of the League of Wales in 1992/93 that allowed Rhayader Town access
to the Cymru Alliance, the latter having lost eight of its 16 clubs to the new national
competition. Following a period of adjustment to their new surroundings, Rhayader quickly
made great strides forward. The club consolidated on the administrative front and made a
positive push for promotion. Both the 1993/94 and 1994/95 seasons were relatively
successful, with the team gaining a firm foothold in mid-table.
Then in 1995/96 came the first fruits of ambition when Rhayader progressed to 6th place in
the Cymru Alliance, recording 20 league victories and scoring 66 goals. Thereafter, it took
just 12 months to reach the pinnacle when, under the managership of Richard Cross,
Rhayader had a superb season and gained the Cymru Alliance championship. Throughout a
campaign of 34 league games, Rhayader Town were beaten just once and netted 79 goals
against only 25 conceded. The club also won the Central Wales Cup.
A programme of ground improvements commenced once the club had been accepted into
the League of Wales and Y Weirglodd became a most attractive stadium. Whilst never
finishing in the top half of the league, Rhayader Town performed consistently enough to be
comfortably placed in each of their first four campaigns in the League of Wales. The fifth
season, 2001/2002, proved their undoing, however, when the team recorded just three
victories in 34 matches and suffered relegation, choosing to drop back to play in mid-Wales
soccer rather than a return to the Cymru Alliance.
Things went from bad to worse in the summer of 2006 when lack of interest from potential
officials led to the club ceasing to exist and resigning from the Spar Mid Wales League.
The club reformed for the 2007-2008 season with local lad Dylan McPhee appointed player-
manager and went on to complete a Watson Associates Mid Wales (South) League and Cup
double. Ended sixth in the Spar Mid Wales League the following term. Rhayader then
finished runners-up to Penparcau last season to gain promotion to Huws Gray Alliance in the
second tier of Welsh football.
In a normal season, consolidation would have been Rhayader's main aim but this time the
word might just be survival judging by the strength of the Alliance. Rhyl, Welsh Premier
League Champions just two seasons ago, will be desperate to return to the top flight and
probably start as favourites. And with Powys rivals, Caersws and Welspool Town, plus Cefn
Druids, GAP Connahs Quay and Porthmadog also having been relegated from the Welsh
Premier, Rhayader know they will have to fight for every point!
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