|FOOTBALL has been very popular in the Blaenau area since it became a sport for the masses in the 1880’s. The earliest known version of the town’s organised clubs was in 1885 but it was not until four years later that the club became fully established. The religious fervor rampant in the 1870’s and 1880’s had begun to wane and by the early 1890’s players could take part in the sport without fear of expulsion from their chapel!||The club progressed slowly and rode many a financial crisis, closing down and re-forming, in the same breath almost, on many occasions. During the early days they played their matches at Holland Park, now buried under “Domen Fawr”. This was the first of many homes used by local clubs. In the period 1889 to 1905 records of the Leagues they played in have not yet been found although two Leagues then in existence have been suggested – the Carnarvon & District League (not the current League of the same name) and the South Carnarvon League.|
There are two indications that
organized football was in place in
these early years. The first is a Ffestiniog District League result in the
North Wales Pioneer of 17th
February 1908 – Manod v Moelwyn United 4-4 with another fixture announced for the
forthcoming Saturday of Villa v Prysor Rovers. Other teams in the league are
listed as Ystrad Albions, Baltic South End and Wrysgan City.
The second is a photograph existing of a North Wales XI that played a South Wales XI at Towyn, in what was believed to be a trial match for the full national XI in 1898. In the photo are two brothers from Blaenau, John Hughes Roberts and Griffith Hughes Roberts, the former being the father of J H ‘Non’ Roberts who played for Blaenau and Tanygrisiau - amongst others - during the inter-war years.Non Roberts in turn was the father of Richard Hughes Roberts who played for both Blaenau Ffestiniog FC and Blaenau Colts in the 1960’s. He was signed at 16 as a junior with Nottingham Forest by Bob Davies, himself a famous footballing native of Blaenau and at that time a player with Forest. Richard was a fine defender in his time and quotes other former Blaenau team-mates – Glyn Owen, Dai Thomas and Ronnie Jones - as some of the finest players of the era and a great influence on his football career.