The New Saints F.C.

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The New Saints
Thenewsaints.png
Full name The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club
Nickname(s) The Saints
Short name TNS
Founded 1959; 58 years ago (1959)
Ground Park Hall
Oswestry
Ground Capacity 2,034 (1,034 seated)
Chairman Mike Harris
Manager Craig Harrison
League Welsh Premier League
2016–17 Welsh Premier League, 1st
Current season

The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed y Seintiau Newydd), also known as the New Saints or TNS is a full-time-professional Welsh football club representing Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Powys, Wales and Oswestry in Shropshire, England – the two places are 8 miles (13 km) apart. They play in the Welsh Premier League, which they have won a record eleven times – including the past six seasons.[1]

Founded in 1959 as Llansantffraid F.C., from 1997 to 2006, the club was known as Total Network Solutions F.C. after its sponsor. In 2003, it merged with Oswestry Town F.C. and three years later it adopted its current name.

TNS play at Park Hall in Oswestry after moving there in 2007 from the Recreation Ground in Llansantffraid. Park Hall accommodates 1,000 seated spectators and there are plans to upgrade the ground to 3,000 capacity in the future.[2]

History[edit]

Llansantffraid F.C.[edit]

The club was formed as Llansantffraid F.C. to represent the tiny border village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain (population: 1,000) in 1959, and played at the Recreation Ground.

They first tasted competitive football in the Montgomeryshire Amateur Football League (then the fourth level of the Welsh football league system), winning the championship seven times. At the end of the 1989–90 season they were elected to the Central Wales League (now the Mid-Wales League) but their stay was brief, winning promotion to the Cymru Alliance as runners-up on their first attempt. Llansantffraid's meteoric rise continued and in 1992–93 they gained promotion to the League of Wales, now the Welsh Premier League, as champions and won the Welsh Intermediate Cup (formerly the Welsh Amateur Cup).

Total Network Solutions[edit]

In 1996, Llansantffraid won the Welsh Cup and qualified for the first time for the European Cup Winners' Cup. At this time a local computer company, Total Network Solutions of Oswestry, arranged a £250,000 sponsorship deal which involved incorporating the company name into the club name. As Total Network Solutions Llansantffraid F.C. they met the Polish cup winners Ruch Chorzów and earned a 1–1 draw at home before losing 5–0 in Poland. Since then they have qualified for European competition several times. The club's European home games are generally played at either Newtown's or Wrexham's stadium as their old Recreation Ground was far below UEFA's standards (though for their 2003 meeting with Manchester City, they played their home game at the 72,000-seat Millennium Stadium in Cardiff).

In 1997 the club's name was changed to Total Network Solutions F.C., being the first instance in the United Kingdom of a football club renaming itself after its sponsor's name only. Following the financial meltdown of Barry Town in the summer of 2003, TNS became the only Welsh Premier League club which had a full-time playing staff. In the summer of 2005 however Llanelli AFC also announced plans to go full-time.

Merger with Oswestry Town[edit]

In the summer of 2003 a merger with their financially weak neighbours, Oswestry Town (who, despite being across the border in England, also played in Wales), was approved by Oswestry's shareholders, although not all the shareholders were aware of the meeting. It was also approved by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and was eventually ratified on 14 August 2003 by UEFA (which initially objected to two clubs with different governing bodies merging).

The 2003–04 season was trophyless for TNS: they were runners-up in the League of Wales to Rhyl and were losing finalists in the Welsh Cup, also to Rhyl. The next season, 2004–05, proved much more successful, as TNS won a League and Cup double.

During the 2005–06 off-season[clarification needed], after newly crowned Champions League winners Liverpool were initially denied a place in the next season's competition, TNS offered to play a one-legged tie against the Reds for TNS's place in the first qualifying round.[3] After UEFA reached a compromise by which Liverpool were placed in the first qualifying round of the competition, TNS and Liverpool ended up drawn against one another anyway. The first leg was at Anfield, when Liverpool won 3–0 by a Steven Gerrard hat-trick, while in the second leg, played at Wrexham, Gerrard scored two more after coming on as a substitute, to add to one by Djibril Cissé for another 3–0 TNS defeat. Although defeated, the team drew praise from many quarters, most notably the young Northern Irish goalkeeper Gerard Doherty, of whom Rafael Benítez said, "The goalkeeper saved a lot of goals and for me he was the best player in the two games".[4]

The New Saints F.C.[edit]

In early 2006 the club's sponsor, Total Network Solutions, was taken over by British Telecom,[5] as a result of which the sponsorship arrangement lapsed at the end of the 2005–06 season and it became necessary to find a new name for the club. After a trawl for naming ideas, including an attempt to sell the naming rights on eBay, the name "The New Saints" was agreed upon as appropriate to the clubs' history – Llansantffraid was always known as "The Saints", while Oswestry had strong connections with Saint Oswald – while handily retaining the initials "TNS". A new club badge was also developed at the same time, featuring a dragon to represent Llansantffraid and a lion representing Oswestry.[6]

On 10 February 2010, the BBC reported that the New Saints had applied to play home games at Chester City's Deva Stadium in 2010–11, after having been turned down for a grant to help fund the construction of a new 1,000-seat stand at Park Hall. At the time, the mooted move was complicated by Chester City's governance issues. Deva Stadium's pitch and stands lie in Wales, but outbuildings on the site that housed the club offices are in England, and Chester City were under the jurisdiction of the English Football Association.[7] Chester City were liquidated a month later by HMRC; in any event, the New Saints were granted a domestic licence by the FAW in April 2010 and remained at Park Hall for 2010–11 season. The New Saints were crowned 2009–10 Welsh Premier League Champions.

The New Saints entered the Champions League in 2010–11. They were drawn against League of Ireland Premier Division Champions Bohemians in the Second Qualifying Round. They lost the first leg 1–0 at Dalymount Park in Dublin on 13 July 2010.[8] However they won the second leg at Park Hall 4–0 and won the tie 4–1 on aggregate, the first ever tie won by the club since their European debut in 1996.[9] Bohemians manager Pat Fenlon later labelled his team's performance as 'disgraceful' and said 'the players let the club, league and country down'.[10] The result was labelled by others as the worst result in Bohemians' 40-year European history.[11] The Saints advanced to play Belgian Pro League Champions and European Giants R.S.C. Anderlecht. The Saints were beaten 3–1 in the home leg played in Wrexham and 3–0 in the away game at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels. The Saints then played CSKA Sofia in the Europa League playoff round but were beaten 5–2 on aggregate. As league runners up during the 2010–11 season the Saints entered the Europa League qualifying rounds in 2011. They beat Belfast club Cliftonville 2–1 on aggregate in the First Round but were eliminated by Danish club FC Midtjylland 8–3 on aggregate in the following round.

On 30 December 2016, The New Saints defeated Cefn Druids 2–0 in the Welsh Premier League. This extended their winning run to 27 matches, surpassing the previous record of 26 set by Ajax in the 1970s for the most consecutive club victories by a top-flight team.[12]

Cultural references[edit]

"Dancing in the Streets"[edit]

On the Sky Sports football show Soccer Saturday, TNS's name was gently mocked by the programme's main presenter, Jeff Stelling. At the end of the day's classified check (in which the Welsh Premier League is always the last set of results given, and in which TNS are often alphabetically last), if TNS have played and won at home, Stelling invariably used his catchphrase "They'll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!",[13] since updated to "dancing in the streets of the New Saints". Stelling's joke was also occasionally aimed at fellow Welsh side, Airbus UK in 2005–06. Stelling's joke may ultimately derive from the accidental 'they'll be dancing in the streets of Raith', claimed to have been said by football commentator Sam Leitch in the 1960s during a match played by the Kirkcaldy-based Raith Rovers, though the phrase is better known as a stock phrase of rugby commentator Bill McLaren, often stating "they'll be dancing in the streets of ..." and inserting in the name of the winning team.[14]

Other[edit]

TNS are mentioned in the song "This One's for Now" by the band Half Man Half Biscuit on the album Urge for Offal.[15]

Futsal[edit]

The club's Futsal side has also seen success, having been winners of the inaugural FAW Futsal Cup in 2011 and reaching the final in 2012.[16]

History in European competition[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup QR Poland Ruch Chorzów 1–1 0–5 1–6
2000–01 UEFA Champions League 1Q Estonia FC Levadia Tallinn 2–2 0–4 2–6
2001–02 UEFA Cup QR Poland Polonia Warsaw 0–2 0–4 0–6
2002–03 UEFA Cup QR Poland Amica Wronki 2–7 0–5 2–12
2003–04 UEFA Cup QR England Manchester City 0–2 0–5 0–7
2004–05 UEFA Cup 1Q Sweden Östers IF 1–2 0–2 1–4
2005–06 UEFA Champions League 1Q England Liverpool 0–3 0–3 0–6
2006–07 UEFA Champions League 1Q Finland MYPA 0–1 0–1 0–2
2007–08 UEFA Champions League 1Q Latvia FK Ventspils 3–2 1–2 4–4 (a)
2008–09 UEFA Cup 1Q Lithuania FK Sūduva 0–1 0–1 0–2
2009–10 UEFA Europa League 1Q Iceland Fram Reykjavik 1–2 1–2 2–4
2010–11 UEFA Champions League 2Q Republic of Ireland Bohemians 4–0 0–1 4–1
3Q Belgium Anderlecht 1–3 0–3 1–6
2010–11 UEFA Europa League PO Bulgaria CSKA Sofia 2–2 0–3 2–5
2011–12 UEFA Europa League 1Q Northern Ireland Cliftonville 1–1 1–0 2–1
2Q Denmark FC Midtjylland 1–3 2–5 3–8
2012–13 UEFA Champions League 2Q Sweden Helsingborgs IF 0–0 0–3 0–3
2013–14 UEFA Champions League 2Q Poland Legia Warsaw 1–3 0–1 1–4
2014–15 UEFA Champions League 2Q Slovakia ŠK Slovan Bratislava 0–2 0–1 0–3
2015–16 UEFA Champions League 1Q Faroe Islands B36 Tórshavn 4–1 2–1 6–2
2Q Hungary Videoton 0–1 1–1 1–2
2016–17 UEFA Champions League 1Q San Marino Tre Penne 2–1 3–0 5–1
2Q Cyprus APOEL 0–0 0–3 0–3
2017–18 UEFA Champions League 1Q
Notes
  • QR: Qualifying round
  • 1Q: First qualifying round
  • 2Q: Second qualifying round
  • 3Q: Third qualifying round
  • PO: Play-off round

Honours[edit]

Biggest victories and losses[edit]

  • Biggest League of Wales win: 10–0 v. Rhyl in August 2016
  • Biggest League of Wales defeat: 0–10 v. Barry Town in 1997

Current squad[edit]

As of 12 March 2017.

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 Paul Harrison (Captain)
2 Wales DF Simon Spender
3 England DF Chris Marriott
5 Wales DF Steve Evans
6 England MF Jon Routledge
7 England MF Christian Sergeant
8 Northern Ireland MF Ryan Brobbel
9 New Zealand FW Greg Draper
10 England FW Wes Fletcher
14 England MF Jamie Mullan
15 Scotland MF Steven Saunders
No. Position Player
16 Wales DF Connell Rawlinson
18 Romania DF Mihai Leca
20 Wales FW Alex Darlington
21 Poland FW Adrian Cieslewicz
22 England FW Scott Quigley
23 Wales MF Aeron Edwards
24 England MF Jacob Farleigh
25 Wales Sam Ashworth
26 England DF Ryan Pryce
27 Wales DF James Jones
30 England DF Andy Wycherley

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
4 England DF Philip Baker (at Aberystwyth Town )
11 Wales MF Robbie Parry (at Llandudno)
12 England DF Tom Matthews (at Airbus UK Broughton)

Managers[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39144101
  2. ^ "Park Hall, Oswestry". The New Saints F.C. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2007. 
  3. ^ Welsh club offer Liverpool lifeline, RTÉ, 26 May 2005
  4. ^ Benitez praise for TNS goalkeeper, BBC Sport Online, 19 July 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2006
  5. ^ "BT to 'expand' TNS after buy-out". BBC. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "The New Saints F.C. Crest & Club History". 
  7. ^ "The New Saints look at moving to Chester's Deva Stadium". BBC Sport. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Bohemians 1–0 TNS". RTÉ Sport. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "The New Saints 4–0 Bohemians (4–1 agg)". RTÉ. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Embarrassed Fenlon slams 'disgraceful' Bohs". rte.ie. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Fenlon fumes as sorry Gypsies sent crashing". Irish Independent. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Brown, Tom (30 December 2016). "Welsh Premier League: Champions New Saints break Ajax world record". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  13. ^ Gerrard, Jasper (24 January 2009). "Jeff Stelling's head turned as Hartlepool play on ITV". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Barnes, Simon (20 January 2010). "Bill McLaren a national treasure whose love of rugby showed in his voice dies aged 86". The Times. London. 
  15. ^ Rand., Chris. "This One's For Now". 
  16. ^ "Saints again win through to Futsal finals". The New Saints. 26 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Welsh Cup final: Cefn Druids 0–2 The New Saints". BBC. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "TNS make Shropshire Senior Cup history". Shropshire Star. 8 August 2011. 

External links[edit]