As the world of football keeps on changing at an alarming rate – it’s good to know that some things stay the same.
The Racecourse is the spiritual home of the final – but the first ever game was played at at Acton Park. There was no cup back in 1878 simply because the FAW were skint! The inaugural winners, Wrexham had to wait a year before receiving their medals.
But by the time the final was played at the Racecourse for the first time in 1880 – there was also a glorious cup. And it’s amazing to think the clubs this year will play on the same piece of land – and compete for the same trophy.
Well not exactly the same cup – this one is a copy – but the original was still in use until 2002.
The former Secretary of the Welsh Premier League, John Deakin were so worried about the safety of the lovely old cup that he kept it in his bedroom before big games – I’m not sure if he went as far as sharing a bed with it.
It deserves looking after as well. The trophy was made by a prestigious old company from London – JW Benson of Old Bond Street – and they have created a masterpiece.
The workmanship is stunning – two bearded footballers sit near the base – with two old Welsh goats on the handles – and at the top a proud Dragon with it’s foot on the ball.
It’s hard to believe that 7 years have passed since the big game was last played held at The Racecourse – time has certainly flown since Rhyl won 2-0 against Bangor.
As the competition returns to Wrexham it’s apt that the club that have nearly made the cup their own recently are also back – Bangor.
The Citizen’s record since Nev Powell arrived in 2007 is amazing. Nev won the competition in his first season in 2008 – and the next two years as well – a stunning hat trick.
Despite losing in the final against Llanelli in 2011 – they’re back again hoping to raise the cup for the ninth time in their history. Only Wrexham, Cardiff and Swansea have done better.
For someone like me who love statistics it’s worth noting that Llanelli are the only club to win against Bangor in the cup during Powell’s time at the helm. After winning the final in 2011 – The Reds also managed to win against them in the third round in 2012.
If Bangor succeed this will be the 6th time they have won the competition since 1998 – reaching the final on three other occasions. Nine finals in 15 years – some record.
It’s a completely different story for Prestatyn of course. This is their first final – and winning it would also mean a place in Europe for the first time. Which would be some double.
It’s only 5 years since the club reached the Welsh Premier League – and have come a long way in a very short time. Many of the players have been with them through the leagues – and you can sense the strong bond throughout the squad.
That is their secret. Local players – who are willing to fight for everything. I hope that Neil Gibson doesn’t mind the comparison – but they’re similar to the old Crazy Gang at Wimbledon in the 80s!
A collection of honest players who love proving everybody wrong. I’m not sure who’s Prestatyn’s version of Vinny Jones though!
The Dons may have been ‘Crazy’ but they surprised everyone by winning the FA Cup against Liverpool in 1988 – no one should be shocked if Neil,Gibson’s gang can do the same in the Welsh Cup.