Summarising the FAW’s announcement and the questions that remain…
Dylan Ebenezer’s end of season blog
And there we are, the season is over in Wales. There was no final whistle, no final day drama on the pitch, but there was still time for a flurry of excitement off the pitch.
After waiting for the white smoke, the simple statement eventually arrived from the FAW, confirming what most of us expected, that the season was finishing early.
Questions remain – mainly regarding promotion and relegation – but let’s just look at the facts for now.
Connahs Quay are the champions – a huge congratulations to The Nomads. This is the first time the club have won the league and the first time we’ve had a different name on the trophy since 2011.
After winning an amazing eight titles in a row, the run has finally come to an end for The New Saints.
Nobody can argue either, even with the title being decided on points per game.
The Nomads have been superb. They’re a team that have been molded in the image of the manager – strong, determined and ruthlessly relentless.
When Andy Morrison arrived in November 2015, they were battling against relegation.
By the end of that first seasn they were in Europe after winning the Play-Offs.
They’ve been in Europe every season since – winning in Norway, Finland and of course in Scotland, against Kilmarnock. And when football finally returns, they have a Champions League adventure to look forward to.
They’ve also won the Welsh Cup and before clinching the title had already lifted the Nathaniel MG League Cup this season. Double delight on Deeside.
It’s very easy to criticise them and have a go at their style of play, but it’s harder to stop them. Most fans only dream about that kind of success at their club.
Elsewhere in the league, The New Saints and Bala Town have secured Europa League spots. The Saints after finishing second (which still sounds surreal) and 3rd placed Bala have been awarded the European spot that was designated for the winners of the Play-Offs.
Barry Town United will also play in that competition following the decision to postpone the JD Welsh Cup.
This was probably one of the toughest decisions.
The Football Association of Wales had to notify UEFA of the plan for the rest of the season by 25th of May. If the decision was to keep a space open for the winners of the cup, it would have needed to be decided ‘on sporting merit’ (on the pitch basically) by the 20th of July.
After thrashing out plans to achieve that goal, it was decided it couldn’t be completed under the current circumstances.
Good news for Barry Town but a huge blow for clubs like Caernarfon Town and Cardiff Met. Both clubs have missed two chances to reach Europe, through the cup and the Play-Offs.
The cup might still be finished before the start of next season, but there won’t be a European place up for grabs.
Swansea City Ladies are celebrating after winning the league and clinching a return to the Champions League.
And we can’t forget Chris Venables who’s bagged the Golden Boot for the fourth time. An amazing achievement considering he’ll be 35 years old this summer, but he’s been outstanding this season scoring 20 goals for Bala Town.
Congratulations as well to Swansea University and Prestatyn who have won the Cymru North and Cymru South.
But this is where things get complicated again. Both clubs failed to get a Domestic Licence meaning they won’t be promoted. But Prestatyn are still considering their options after their appeal failed, so this story is far from finished.
In a normal season, the clubs in second would be promoted and Haverfordwest County and Flint Town United have been awarded the necessary licence.
Both of those clubs – along with Airbus and Carmarthen, who are in the relegation positons – will be waiting and sweating over the next few days.
Many have said that the league could be simply increased to 14 teams – two clubs promoted and no relegation. But these decision will effect the whole football pyramid.
It’s like a giant game of ‘Jenga’ – everything is finally balanced. If you take out the wrong piece the whole pyramid could collapse in a heap.