18 September

On this day in 1993 Cwmbran played Cork City in the European Cup – the first Welsh club to appear in Europe’s premier club competition.

The Football Association of Wales had made a request to Uefa to ensure the inaugural champions of the League of Wales could compete in the European Cup and, following the contoversial setting up of the national league, it was a relief when Uefa invited Cwmbran to take part.

The Crows under the stewardship of Tony Wilcox, had won the league with relative ease, losing just three matches throughout the season to finish four points clear of Inter Cardiff in second place.

But it’s one thing to be allowed to compete in the European Cup, it’s another to go three goals up against your opponents in the first half!

And that is exactly what Cwmbran did against the Irish champions, Cork City at Cwmbran Stadium.

Simon King grabbed himself a piece of Welsh footballing history with the first goal in the competition for a Welsh club – the goal coming from the penalty spot after just three minutes.

And the 8,000 strong crowd were excited even further when Francis Ford grabbed another two goals to put the home side 3-0 up by the break.

Unfortunately for the Welsh part-timers, the Irish side took control in the second half and bagged two important away goals scored by John Caulfield and Anthony Buckley.

And the home side had goalkeeper, Pat O’Hagan, to thank that Cork didn’t actually go ahead and win the tie as the home side visibly tired.

A fortnight later in Cork, Phil McNeil gave Cwmbran another early lead but once again they couldn’t hang on as Cork struck twice to win 2-1 and secure their place in the next round against Turkish side, Galatasary, on the away goals rule.


Cwmbran Town v Cork City: O’Hagan, Burrows, Blackie, Copeman, King, Parselle (Payne, 75), Goodridge, Dicks (McNeil, 80), Wharton, Ford, Powell.