Flicking through the pages of Marca, the famous Spanish sports newpspaper, we’re well used to seeing stories about Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi … but not Llanfairpwll FC of the Welsh Alliance League!
Imagine our surprise, therefore, when a copy of last month’s Marca landed on the desk in the Sgorio office, complete with a picture of Llanfairpwll FC under the headline Un equipo interminable (The team with an endless name)!
Having lost all 26 matches last season, finishing with a goal difference of -177, it wasn’t immediately obvious as to why Spain’s most popular newspaper would focus on the club … that is, until one realised that Clwb Pêl-droed Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch has the longest name of any football club in the world!
With a daily readership of 2,500,000 – which is 800 times the population of Llanfairpwll – Marca has certainly thrust the Anglesey club into the limelight, but they aren’t the first foreign media outlet to take an interest in the club’s name.
“The first contact we had was back in 2012 when a journalist from ESPN Brasil got in touch,” explained Steve Smith, a player with Llanfairpwll since 2001 who is also the club’s webmaster.
“We were featured on the Brazilian football show Futebol No Mundo which is massive over there.
“That led to our website getting almost 1,000 hits a day from Brazil, so much so that I decided to make our website trilingual; Welsh, English and Portugese,” he chuckled.
“Since then, we’ve featured in newspapers from Portugal, Argentina, Chile, France and I’ve even been interviewed for a radio station in Canada,” added Steve.
And the club’s fame has meant an unexpected revenue source as fans from all over the world want to show off the badge with the longest name in world football.
“We’ve sent shirts to numerous countries,” said Steve. “Lots have gone to Brazil but we’ve also sold shirts to fans in Argentina, USA, Netherlands and most recently to Iceland.”
And the new fans of Llanfairpwll will be happy to learn that despite finishing bottom of the Welsh Alliance First Division last season, the club won’t be relegated as the league expands to 14 clubs next season.
All the more reason for the new found fans to make the pilgrimage to Maes Eilian!