Friday, 27 May 2011

Cack-Handed Away Guide IV: COLWYN BAY FC.


Colwyn Bay Football Club
Llanelian Road
Old Colwyn
LL29 8UN


The Bay, The Seagulls

But we call them

Clown Bay, Throw-in Bay, Colon Bay, Cold Wind Bay

Billy basics
Managers: Dave Challinor, Colin Woodthorpe
Founded: 1881
2010/11: 2nd, Northern Premier League
2009/10: 4th, Northern Premier League Division One North (promoted via play-offs)
2008/09: 4th, Northern Premier League Division One North
Highest position: 2010/11: 2nd, Northern Premier League
Average attendance 2010/11: ~400

Who are Throw-in Bay?

"Teams representing" Throw-in Bay have been cropping up here and there since 1881, making them one of Wales' oldest clubs. Little-to-nothing is known of them from way back then, as Welsh wasn't yet a written language because they were still busy making it as unreadable as possible etc etc etc cheap dig, cheap dig. They were part of the North Wales Coast League, lasting for 20 years up until its folding in 1921, when they went to the Welsh National League and then the North Wales Football Combination in 1930. They first saw the light in 1931 and entered the English football pyramid. The compromise? Absurdly being part of the Birmingham & District League, where the average away trip was 120 miles plus. From an early stage, it seemed excusable to call Warrington a local derby. They went back into pretend-football in the Welsh League (North) following a few dismal seasons. They would stay with relative success in their Cymru bubble for nearly half a century.

But in 1984, Throw-in Bay declared "fuck it" and won election into the North West Counties League Division Three, leaving their old Eirias Park base for their current Llanelian Road venue in old Colwyn. The next year they were in Division Two, and restructuring brought them into Division One two years later. Further success was found in 1992 as they won promotion to the Northern Premier League. However, at the time the crazy, crackpot League of Wales were campaigning against the more ambitious Welsh teams from becoming English teams. First Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Wrexham, now even bloody Colwyn Bay, Caernarfon Town and "Dial M For" Methyr Tydfil were deserting them!

Throw-in Bay were defiant, having won a treble that season of Northern Premier League Division One championship, the NPL league cup and the North Wales Coast Cup. They went into exile at Northwich Victoria and Ellesmere Port, equivalent to the Shaymen going into exile at Northwich Victoria and Ellesmere Port. They managed to stay in their league and won the case against the League of Wales at London High Court in 1995. Success continued in the form of 1st/2nd Round competition in the FA Cup, but Throw-in were relegated to the NPL Division One in 2003.

Soon stabilising, they held their own in the NPL Division One and with the appointment of Geoff Cartwright's board in 2007, Conference-level football was promised in five years. And, unlike Simon Clifford's plans to get Garforth topping the Premier League by 2030 (no, he seriously said that), Cartwright was Cart-right!!!! A third play-off chase in 2009/10 saw them beat 96-pointers Lancaster City to join us in promotion to the Northern Premier League's top "flight," before they beat FC ESPN of Manchester in the play-offs this year to join us in promotion for the second consecutive season. And there's no sweeter sound than FC United fans finally shutting up.

Taken from possibly the wittiest post ever on, "Eric Cantona was wrong. The seagulls don't follow the trawler. The Seagulls follow the Shaymen."

The ground

There are no pictures of Throw-in Bay's old home. Not on Google Images anyway, chuck. This'll be the Shaymen's fourth consecutive season playing Bay in the league, so we all must know the place. Overlooked by a huge, sloping cow field are two small seated stands, a covered terrace behind one goal and some decent uncovered steps down the touchline. In order to meet Conference National standards, Throw-in plan to build on what they've got in the near future, Llanelian Road being a good venue for the NPL North, but an eensy weensy one for the Conference North.

The town

A stone's throw from the coast following a scenic trip along North Wales, Throw-in Bay are actually based in Old Colwyn, a village just outside the town. Old Colwyn boasts woodland that is said to be inhabited by fairies. Yep.

Bay itself I'm assured is a scenic town of 30,000, though in the past Shaymen have made a resort out of nearby Llandudno for their weekend trips. I'm told by all means to avoid Rhyll, and to stay in Colwyn Bay rather than Old Colwyn for pre-match drinks.

The ground is a shade over 100 miles from the Shay. For the intrepid train passenger, take the Manchester Victoria train from Halifax. You can then either get directly to Colwyn Bay from the Piccadilly station, or stay at Victoria, changing at Newton-le-Willows for Colwyn Bay. Buses from Bay stop outside the ground.

Will they be anti-social, Welsh-speaking Taffs?!?!!@!

As has been my experience on the terraces, you may go the whole match without hearing any Cymric, which Blogspot amusingly tells me isn't a real word. 20% of Colwyn Bay's inhabitants are said to be fluent in Welsh, this figure almost doubling for school-age children. I could record many more Scouse accents, odd as that sounds, and the odd RP from the kids.

In terms of friendliness, Bay fans have been genuinely some of the friendliest we've experienced as FC Halifax Town, so leave your xenophobic cap at home and settle yourself down in the clubhouse before the game. As always, we can choose to ignore this and chant "Always look in the fields for your wife" and "Sheep! Sheep! Sheep shaggers!" over and over again.

Will we need to segregate?

Expect the usual 50 Bay fans and the odd inflatable seagull.

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