Cefn Druids A.F.C.

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Cefn Druids
NEWI Cefn Druids F.C.PNG
Full name Cefn Druids Association Football Club
Nickname(s) The Ancients, Druids
Founded 1872; 146 years ago (1872)
Ground The Rock
Chairman John Hughes
Manager Huw Griffiths
League Welsh Premier League
2016–17 8th

Cefn Druids Association Football Club (Welsh: Derwyddon Cefn) is a football team based in the village of Cefn Mawr, Wrexham, Wales, who play in the Welsh Premier League.

The club was founded in 1872 from the amalgamation of Cefn Albion F.C. and Druids United. Depending on sponsorship, the club was renamed Flexsys Cefn Druids F.C. in 1998, and NEWI Cefn Druids F.C. in 2003 (after sponsorship by the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education), and plays at Plaskynaston Lane in Cefn Mawr. The club was renamed again following in the summer of 2009 to Elements Cefn Druids F.C. The club reverted to Cefn Druids A.F.C. in 2010 following the end of the sponsorship deal. John Keegan was appointed manager of CEFN Druids in May 2014. Starting a career at York City where he made three appearances in 1999–00. Keegan has also played for Holywell, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay. Keegan joined Druids as a player in 2012 but left a year later to become assistant manager at Conwy Borough in Huws Gray Alliance with Herbert. He hold the second highest coaching licence (UEFA A). Chris Herbert had been appointed 1st Team Co-ordinator, after taking Conwy Borough to a third-place finish in the Huws Gray Alliance in 2012–13. Mark Roberts came into the club in 2014 to assist John Keegan in the management team, Roberts is a fully qualified coach at the FAW. Roberts and Keegan hope to take Druids to a top flight finish.

The team's first choice strip is black and white striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. The second choice strip is yellow shorts and red socks and red and yellow top.

New stadium[edit]

Planning permission for a 3,500 capacity stadium at the Rock, Rhosymedre (aka Rhosymedre Stadium), was given in March 2009, subject to approval from the Welsh Assembly and Health and Safety Executive. Delays to the beginning of construction put the project back by 12 months and the club moved into the new stadium in August 2010.[1]


[2] The team take their prolific history from the famous old Welsh team Druids FC who were founded in the early 1860s. They had won the Welsh Cup on no less than 8 occasions and have finished runners-up five times but fell on hard times with the advent of professional football. Druids were ancient mystic men throughout Celtic civilisation and were closely associated with Wales.

Druids can claim to originate from the oldest existing team located in Wales, thus making it also the oldest football club in the world outside England. This is reflected in club's nickname, 'The Ancients'. However, Oswestry Town does predate Druids but is geographically in England, though the team has always participated in the Welsh system and were early members of the Welsh FA, and would thus consider themselves a Welsh side (see the New Saints).

Wrexham AFC claim formation in 1864 which pre-dates the formation of Druids FC by 8 years,[3] making claims of being the oldest club in Wales erroneous, however Druids can still claim to be the oldest club playing in the Welsh Pyramid.

In 1992 after many years of discussion the inevitable amalgamation of Druids United and Cefn Albion F.C. took place to end the internal village soccer rivalry in the village of Cefn Mawr. The new look club took the bold step of applying to join the new Cymru Alliance. The joint resources of the clubs could be focused on a revival of football fortunes in the village of Cefn Mawr.

Season Pos. League
1992–93 7 Cymru Alliance
1993–94 8 Cymru Alliance
1994–95 5 Cymru Alliance
1995–96 8 Cymru Alliance
1996–97 5 Cymru Alliance
1997–98 3 Cymru Alliance
1998–99 1 Cymru Alliance
1999–00 13 League of Wales
2000–01 13 League of Wales
2001–02 14 League of Wales
2002–03 12 Welsh Premier League
2003–04 13 Welsh Premier League
2004–05 17 Welsh Premier League
2005–06 14 Welsh Premier League
2006–07 14 Welsh Premier League
2007–08 12 Welsh Premier League
2008–09 13 Welsh Premier League
2009–10 18 Welsh Premier League
2010–11 3 Cymru Alliance
2011–12 6 Cymru Alliance
2012–13 2 Cymru Alliance
2013–14 1 Cymru Alliance

Flexsys Cefn Druids[edit]

In 1999 Cefn Druids became Champions of the Cymru Alliance and were promoted into the League of Wales, finishing a respectable 13th in its first season in the national league.

After the appointment of ex-Rochdale midfielder Steve O'Shaughnessy in the summer of 2001, the Ancients experienced their best results since the halcyon Welsh Cup days of the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The 2001–02 season was a season of consolidation in the Welsh Premier League finishing in 14th place. However, in the Welsh Cup after victories over Llangefni-Glantraeth, Ruthin Town, Halkyn United and Welshpool Town, Cefn found themselves in the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup for the first time in 98 years. It was not to be, as a Marc Lloyd-Williams inspired Bangor City won 5–0 at Belle Vue, Rhyl on 6 April 2002.

The 2002–03 season was a financially difficult one with the playing and management staff going weeks without payment at one point in the season. This even forced O'Shaughnessy to resign out of principle during this time. Fortunately, he returned after reassurances were given. On the pitch, Cefn finished in a highly respectable 12th place.

NEWI Cefn Druids[edit]

Before the start of the 2003–04 season, Cefn Druids announced that they had reached an arrangement with the Wrexham-based college, NEWI.[4] The arrangement between college and club gave NEWI students footballing opportunities whilst carrying on with their studies and increasing the resources available to the club.[5]

The 2003–04 season, saw an array of young players join the club like Gareth Evans, who eventually left to join Football League Two club Wrexham. The average age of the team for one match against Caersws on 12 December 2003 was just 21.

As the 2003–04 season came to a conclusion with players and management looking ahead to the future with excitement with a young squad at their disposal. The club signed a three-year deal with NEWI in 2004 after the previous 12 month arrangement proved a success.[5]

However, on the evening of 18 April 2004, O'Shaughnessy was sacked by the club's board. Since then the club has been severely struggling on the pitch with the squad that O'Shaughnessy put together leaving en masse. Amongst the players who left were Aden Shannon, Brett Jefferies, Dave Cunnah and First Team Coach, Jimmy Hunter all to Welshpool Town, who have qualified for the FAW Premier Cup in the last two seasons.

The Ancients should have been relegated from the Welsh Premier League in April 2005 after finishing in the bottom two, but were given a last minute reprieve by Cymru Alliance winners Buckley Town, who declined promotion.

Under the stewardship of former Wrexham manager, Dixie McNeil, the Ancients recorded slightly more respectable league positions for the following 2 seasons, namely 14th in 2005–06 and 13th in 2006–07. However, partly due to his media work as a pundit for BBC Wales, McNeil stepped down during this pre season.

The club were quick to appoint a new management duo of former Wrexham teammates, Wayne Phillips and Lee Jones. Both continued to play, with Phillips benefiting from previous managerial experience at Caernarfon Town. The partnership got off to the best possible start with a shock 1–0 opening day home win against Champions Total Network Solutions.

Phillips and Jones kept the club in the Welsh Premier League by finishing 12th and 13th in seasons 2007–08 and 2008–09 respectively.


However, with delays to the construction of the new stadium and the overhaul of the Welsh Premier League the 2009–10 season, a reduced playing budget saw the club field a mainly young squad for the entire season and finished bottom of the table and be relegated to the Cymru Alliance. In addition Phillips and Jones departed the club with former player and Technogroup Welshpool manager Huw Griffiths appointed as the new manager. The club went on to finish 3rd place in their first season back in the 2nd tier of Welsh football since 1998–99, Andrew Swarbrick being the club's top scorer of the season getting an impressive 18 in all competitions.

Cefn Druids now have a Ladies team, formed in summer 2011. The Ladies will be playing in the North Wales Women's Football League along with teams such as Wrexham Ladies, Caenarfon and Llandudno Junction, for the first time in 2011–12.

Cefn Druids reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup during the 2011–12 season. They claimed big scalps on the way to the semis by defeating teams away from home such as Connahs Quay Nomads and Welsh Premier League teams Prestatyn Town and Aberystwyth Town. On Monday 28 Feb Welsh team manager Chris Coleman and assistant Kit Symons made the draw at the Wales team hotel which saw Welsh Premier League side Airbus UK Broughton drawn against Cefn Druids for a place in the Welsh Cup final.

On Saturday 31 March 2012 Cefn Druids defeated Airbus at Rhyl's Belle Vue 4–1 to reach their first Welsh cup final in 108 years. Andrew Swarbrick got a hatrick and Tony Cann netted once to complete the rout. Druids were defeated 2–0 by the New Saints in the final, but qualified for the UEFA Europa League as a result. The club were delt a shock, with the departure of Manager Huw Griffiths, due to the club and management being unable to agree a budget for the up-and-coming season. John Keegan then took over as manager bringing his own coaching team of Mark Roberts (assistant manager) and Chris Herbert (coach). The club are hoping to sustain Welsh Premier League status and keep moving forward as a club.

Precursor teams' honours[edit]

Druids (c.1869–1923)/ Druids United (1923–1992)/ Cefn Druids A.F.C. (1992–present)[edit]



Cefn Albion (1967–1992)[edit]



  • North East Wales FA Challenge Cup
    • Winners: 1978
    • Finalists: 1976, 1989
  • North East Wales FA Horace Wynn Cup
    • Winners: 1977
  • Welsh National League Division 1 Cup
    • Finalists: 1984, 1991
  • Welsh National League Division 2 Cup
    • Winners: 1974
    • Finalists: 1971
  • Welsh National League Division 3 Cup
    • Finalists: 1969, 1984

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Opponent First leg Second leg Aggregate
2012–13 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round Finland MYPA 0–0 0–5 0–5

Current squad[edit]

As of 30 January 2018[6]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Michael Jones
2 England DF Kyle Parle
3 Wales MF Naim Arsan
4 Wales DF Adam Hesp
5 England DF Matthew Eckersley
6 England DF Nathan Peate
7 England MF Stuart Cook
8 Zimbabwe MF Alec Mudimu
9 England FW Ashley Ruane
10 Wales MF Matthew Pritchard
No. Position Player
11 Wales FW James Davies
14 England MF Ellis Healing
15 Wales DF Aaron Simpson
19 Kosovo MF Fisnik Hajdari
21 Wales MF Ilan ap Gareth
22 Poland MF Arek Piskorski
23 Wales FW Lewis Buckley
32 England DF Neil Ashton
Wales MF Matty Owen


  1. ^ "Druids are ready to rock in Rhosymedre". Welsh Premier League. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ NEWI Cefn Druids F.C. Knowledgeruch.com Archived 21 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  3. ^ Trust, Wrexham Supporters. "Wrexham FC Oldest Club in Wales!". Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-07.  cefndruidsafc.co.uk Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b [1] official.sportnetwork.net NEWI Cefn Druids – Fan site Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  6. ^ "First team". Cefn Druids A.F.C. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 

External links[edit]