Airbus UK Broughton F.C.
|Full name||Airbus UK Broughton Football Club|
|Ground||Hollingsworth Group Stadium
|Capacity||1,600 (500 seated)|
|Owner||Broughton Wings Sports and Social Club|
|League||Welsh Premier League|
|2016–17||Welsh Premier League, 12th|
Airbus UK Broughton Football Club is a football team based in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales. They had their origins as the works team of the Airbus UK aerospace factory where the wings of the Airbus airliner are produced, and are consequently nicknamed The Wingmakers or The Planemakers.
The club was promoted to the Welsh Premier League for the first time in 2004, and play at The Hollingsworth Group Stadium (previously known as The Airfield), Broughton (capacity 1,600, of which 500 are seated); however as their pitch could not be brought up to Welsh Premier League standards in time following their promotion, for their first two games they shared Conwy United's ground. The Airfield features three unusual retracting floodlights as it is adjacent to an operational runway. In 2014, the grass surface was replaced with a 3G synthetic pitch which is also available for hire.
Formed in 1946, the club has known several different names as the ownership of the factory has changed over the years. Originally called Vickers-Armstrong, it has variously been named de Havillands, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems.
The club's early years were spent in the Chester & District League and the Wrexham area leagues. The club won the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division Two title during the 1991–92 season, when they won 28 of their 34 matches and scored 130 goals. They then spent four years making steady improvements in their position in the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division One before being promoted to the Welsh National League Premier Division at the end of the 1995–96 season when they were runners-up in Division One. They spent another four years consolidating their position in the Premier Division before winning promotion to the Cymru Alliance at the end of the 1999–00 season, when they won 21 of their 30 matches. To coincide with this promotion the club changed its name to Airbus UK.
Once again they spent four seasons in their new league, successively finishing in 11th, 8th, and 5th positions before running away with the league title in 2003–04 to earn promotion to the top level of Welsh domestic football for the first time.
Airbus' first season in the Premier League was a torrid time, with the team acquiring only 21 points in the first 32 matches and being in next-to-last position with only a few matches remaining. Their manager, Rob Lythe, who had led them to promotion, resigned in February 2005, citing "not having enough time" to do the job.
Airbus made a promising start to their second season in the WPL, reaching the semi-final of the League Cup eventually losing out to TNS Llansantffraid over two legs.
For the start of the 2007–08 season, the club changed its name once more, adding the village name to become "Airbus UK Broughton F.C.". Owing to UEFA's rules over sponsorship, when competing in European competition the club is known as "AUK Broughton".
During their time in the Welsh Premier League, Airbus UK Broughton have gone from relegation strugglers to a club that challenged regularly for honours.
They qualified for Europe for the first time in 2013 as Welsh Premier League runners-up, repeating the feat the following season and appearing in the Europa League for a third consecutive time as third-place finishers in 2015.
In May 2016 the club reached the Welsh Cup final for the first time, losing 2-0 to The New Saints at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground. They just failed to qualify for Europe again, losing 1-0 in the Play-Off final to neighbours Gap Connah's Quay. A difficult summer saw the majority of players recruited by other Welsh Premier clubs and director of football Andy Preece leaving the club by mutual consent three days before the start of the next campaign, to be replaced by former player Andrew Thomas.
Despite an opening day victory over newly-promoted Cardiff Met, the 2016/17 season produced only four more wins and saw first round exit from the League Cup and Welsh Cup, ending with the Wingmakers finishing in bottom place and being relegated back to the Cymru Alliance ending 13 seasons in the Welsh top flight.
- Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division Two:
- Winners: 1991–92
- Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division One:
- Runners-up: 1995–96
- Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division:
- Winners: 1999–00
- Winners: 2003–04
- Runners-up: 2015–16
As of 31 April, 2017. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|2013–14||UEFA Europa League||First qualifying round||Ventspils||1–1||0–0||1–1 (a)|
|2014–15||UEFA Europa League||First qualifying round||Haugesund||1–1||1–2||2–3|
|2015–16||UEFA Europa League||First qualifying round||Lokomotiva||1–3||2–2||3–5|
As of 1 February 2017.
- Manager: Andrew Thomas
- Assistant Manager: Steve O'Shaughnessy
- Goalkeeper Coach: Jack Seery
- Sports therapist: Matty Donnelly
- Rob Lythe (????–Feb 05)
- Garry Wynne (Feb 2005 – June 05)
- Gareth Owen (June 2005 – June 08)
- Craig Harrison (July 2008–11)
- Gareth Owen (Dec 2011 – Jan 2012)
- Andy Preece (Jan 2012 – Aug 2016)
- Andrew Thomas (Aug 2016–)
- Williams, Aled (1 July 2013). "Europa League: Bala Town, Airbus UK and Prestatyn Town's hopes". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2013.