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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 12:41 GMT
Bay football marks 125th birthday
Colwyn Bay team photo - from the book Come On The Bay
The 1964 team from the era when big crowds flocked to Eirias Park to see them play
A football team is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month with the publication of the club's history.

Colwyn Bay FC played their first game on 22 January 1881.

Workers from Lancashire and the Midlands brought the game with them, as well as their building skills, to the growing Victorian town.

"Quite a lot has happened in 125 years, and I hope it's of interest to people even if they don't follow football," said the booklet's author Andy Owens.

"I did get help compiling the book, there are a lot of stories out there, but we had to try and check everything," said Mr Owens, who is also vice-chairman at the Unibond First Division club.

Fans at a friendly between Colwyn Bay and Wrexham last summer
Bay currently third in the table are hoping for promotion this season

"Two eras in particular stand out - we've highlighted the era of John Neal, who played for Wales (in 1930) as well as Colwyn Bay and also the loyalty of people like Bryn Jones, who played and later managed the club in the 70s and 80s," he added.

When football arrived in the town the game was played on waste ground or open spaces with the goalposts transported in a waggonette and lines marked out with sticks and stones.

Club's fortunes

"Over the years the club's fortunes have been linked to the economic fortune of the town, there have been downs as well as ups," said Mr Owens.

"At various stages the club has nearly come to an end because of financial crisis but is now solvent and paying its own way."

The club prides itself on its "family spirit" and Mr Owens himself is an example of this.

Colwyn Bay team photo - from the book Come On The Bay
The team celebrate winning the league title in 1981

"My father used to be chairman - he's now president - and I used to come here with him as a boy. I've been a ball boy and sold raffle tickets as well as playing for the reserves," he said.

"My sister Carol is commercial manager in charge of advertising and brother Peter is the kit manager, so the family are all here most Saturdays," he added.

Looking ahead, Mr Owens would like to see the team gaining promotion to the Unibond Premier league while off the field there are plans to develop the ground with a new stand and upgraded floodlights. There is also a ladies and junior team.

"The best bit about putting the book together was being reminded of positive, happy memories," said Mr Owens.




SEE ALSO:
Jones takes Colwyn reins
06 May 04 |  League of Wales
Mullen takes charge at Colwyn
27 May 03 |  League of Wales


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