Aberystwyth Town Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pel-Droed Tref Aberystwyth) is a Welsh semi-professional football team, currently playing in the Cymru Premier, the top tier of football in Wales. They are the only top flight football club in Ceredigion.
The club was founded in 1884, and plays at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, where their ground accommodates 5,000 spectators with 1,000 of that capacity seated. The club is one of the founding members of the Cymru Premier.
The club's youth team, Aberystwyth Town Under 19's, currently play in the Welsh Premier Development League – South, whilst the Ladies team play in the Welsh Premier Women's League. The club has an academy, which has produced many players that have played for the first team and some that have gone on to play at higher levels.
Foundation and early years
Although Aberystwyth Town FC was formed in 1884, the club probably existed in the 1870s in an earlier incarnation – the re-establishment of a "town" club is recorded in 1876. The club was founded by Arthur Hughes, son of a local solicitor, and his brothers Jack and Hugh. Although football had been played in the town since at least the early 1870s, it was in October 1884 that Arthur Hughes placed an advertisement in the local press:
The club's early days were limited to friendly matches, as the club did not join a league until 1896. It joined the Welsh League for a year, before reverting to playing friendlies again. In 1900 Town beat Druids 3–0 in the Welsh Cup final and became the first team from mid-Wales to take the trophy.
The club joined the Welsh League (South) in 1951, although they also continued to field a team in the Mid-Wales League, and for a while in the Cambrian Coast League. Aberystwyth returned to the Mid-Wales competition in 1963 but did not win the league championship until 1984, after having been runners-up six times. They retained the title the following season, both under team boss Meirion Appleton.
In 1987 they returned to the Welsh League (South). They were three times runners-up before they became founder members of the League of Wales in 1992. Aberystwyth achieved 3rd in the first season. Aberystwyth Town are one of only three teams that have taken part in each season of the Cymru Premier; the others are Bangor City and Newtown. Manager Meirion Appleton was replaced by Barry Powell after a 5–0 home defeat to Caersws. In 1998/9 they qualified to represent Wales in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Aberystwyth lost 3–4 over two legs against Floriana of Malta. The success of European qualification brought many changes to Park Avenue. There were a new BBC studio and TV gantry, followed by the new Dias stand which brought the number of seats in the two stands up to nearly 600. The Dias stand was named after David "Dias" Williams, who holds the club scoring record of 476 goals in only 433 games between 1966 and 1983.
The club did not qualify for European football again, but they gained entry to the FAW Premier Cup competition for the third year running. They reached the quarter-finals twice. Barry Powell left the club by mutual consent.
Powell was replaced at the beginning of the 2001–02 season by Frank Gregan. Gregan was unanimously voted in as new manager before the start of the season. He was responsible for bringing in several players with extensive experience in the English pyramid. Town lost in the Welsh Cup to Aberaman Athletic in October 2001. This was combined with a poor away record and an exit from the later stages of the FAW Premier Cup at the hands of Caersws.
Gary Finley took over as player/manager immediately after Gregan departed for Weston-super-Mare. There was an instant improvement in form and minimal additions to the squad despite most of Gregan's signings departing. The club missed out on the FAW Premier Cup, ending up in ninth place in the league.
Finley took the club to fourth in 2003/4 and the club again qualified for the UEFA InterToto Cup, but following a policy decision to base the team on more local players, Finley departed and David Burrows took over as player/manager. The change of strategy produced a worsening of results in 2004/05, but the club's management decided to stick with the Ceredigion player policy despite seeing Park Avenue attendances slump by nearly 40%.
The club received a further setback in December 2004 when a serious fire destroyed much of the social club's facilities, ruling out the ground for the staging of cup finals until the new John Charles lounge was opened in 2005 by his widow, Glenda.
After several undistinguished seasons, the Seasiders reached the final of the Welsh Cup in 2009 under manager Brian Coyne, only to be beaten 2–0 by Bangor City F.C. Coyne stepped down early the following season with Alan Morgan appointed as the new boss, and the club finished fourth in the 2009/10 season, missing out on qualification for Europe.
Then in the first season of the Cymru Premier Super 12, Aberystwyth, although in the top six for most of the first half of the season, were in the bottom half of the table at the mid season split, being beaten to the top half again by Port Talbot. The club finished in 7th place, before beating Airbus in the UEFA Europa League playoff quarter final, and eventually losing out to Neath F.C. in the semi-final.
In the 2011/2012 season Aberystwyth Town found itself in the bottom six again, and in a relegation battle. After a defeat to Cymru Alliance side Cefn Druids A.F.C. in the Welsh Cup, Alan Morgan stepped aside and Tomi Morgan returned as manager. Under Morgan the team finished in 8th place, and so qualified once again for the end of season Europa League playoffs. After beating Airbus U.K in the quarter finals, Aber faced Llanelli but lost in extra time.
The club created history for all the wrong reasons by losing 10–1 to The New Saints in their second home game of the 2019/2020 season.
This page also has a version in other languages: Аберистуит Таун (russian)