Club History

1875 – 1900

The starting point of Newtown AFC can be traced back to 9th February 1875 when the first recorded game of football took place in Newtown. Members of the freshly formed Newtown club appeared in a final on the Cunnings Field (where the Bowling Club and Town Car Park are located today). Before this there is talk and some evidence of a Newtown FC competing in fixtures in 1874.

It is evident that the origin of the club as it is today can also be traced back to a team by the name of Newtown White Stars. A very early record of the White Stars appeared in the July 1879 edition of the Montgomeryshire Express which reports on the team being victorious in the final of the North Wales Challenge Cup. The White Stars team was founded by a Mr. Edward Gittins who was a blacksmith by trade from the Coedyffridd area of Newtown. It is known that the name of Newtown White Stars originates from the fact that the players who played for the team were from a working class background, and simply could not afford to purchase a football kit. With the need to distinguish themselves from the Newtown FC team, the mothers of the players sewed a white star on their differing shirts, hence the name Newtown White Stars.

The first ever edition of the Welsh Cup took place during the 1877/1878 season, and it saw three teams from Newtown entering the competition, namely Newtown FC, Newtown White Stars, and the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers Newtown team. Newtown FC hold the distinction of playing in the first ever Welsh Cup game. The game against Druids FC from Ruabon ended in a 1-1 stalemate with the team from Ruabon triumphing in the replay by 4 goals to 0. Meanwhile, the first round draw also saw Newtown White Stars coming up against Ruabon FC on home turf, winning the game by a single goal to 0 with the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers pulling out of their scheduled game against Llangollen. The White Stars were then drawn to play Aberystwyth in the second round but their opponents from Ceredigion withdrew from the encounter which meant the White Stars proceeded to Round Three. In that third round the White Stars came up against the conquerors of Newtown FC, Druids and it was the Druids team who would go on to win the tie, 3-0 after two replays. Despite this defeat, the White Stars would go on and enjoy a memorable Welsh Cup campaign the following season.

The 1878/1879 Welsh Cup First Round saw Newtown White Stars overcoming Aberystwyth 4-1 which was followed by a 1-0 victory in the second round at Llangollen. This set up a third round clash with the North Wales club, Bangor. With the White Stars leading the game by 3 goals to 1, their opponents left the field which meant that they had scratched themselves from the competition. The semi-final saw the White Stars coming up against Newtown FC which was a cause for great excitement in the town. For their part, Newtown FC had received byes in rounds one and two respectively before beating Chirk 3-1 in the third round, setting up an early Newtown cup derby! The semi-final ended in a 1-1 draw with the White Stars winning the subsequent replay 3-1. This meant of course that Newtown White Stars would take their place in the 1878/1879 Welsh Cup Final, meeting Wrexham on 29th March 1879 at the Cricket Field in Oswestry.  On the day of the final, the White Stars players travelled by train to Oswestry, arriving in the Shropshire town at midday and being met by a large and enthusiastic crowd. The lads went into the game as underdogs but nonetheless, due to them putting an excellent display, they were to prevail and beat Wrexham 1-0 courtesy of a goal scored by E. Rees early in the second half. The Welsh Cup winners returned to Newtown victorious and received a hero’s welcome when they arrived at Newtown station. Those eleven heroes of that historic Welsh Cup win were; G Mumford, J Davies, T Jones, E H Morgan, T Pryce, W Andrew, G Woosnam, E Gittins (captain) G Thomas, S Davies, E Rees.

Another important moment in the history of our club was to follow later in 1879. In a report published on 2nd September 1879 in the Montgomeryshire Express, it was written that a meeting had taken place for the purpose of former a united football club for the town. The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Martin Woosnam, opened the discussion by stating the plan was to combine Newtown FC, Newtown White Stars, and any other club who showed an interest in joining them. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that both the Newtown and White Stars would join forces with the new club taking the name of Newtown Excelsior FC.

It is widely considered that the first game played by the newly amalgamated Newtown Excelsior took place sometime during the latter part of September 1879 and was against near neighbours Welshpool. The game ended 1-0 in favour of Welshpool. Despite the amalgamation, records show that the 1879/1880 Welsh Cup featured both the newly formed Newtown Excelsior and Newtown White Stars. Perhaps this wasn’t a full amalgamation though as other records show that the White Stars still continued as an independent club and did not fully merge with Excelsior. It is not certain how or why this is the case, but we can only go with what history shows us. For the record, Excelsior reached the third round of the competition whilst the White Stars were defeated at the semi-finals stage.

The White Stars dissolved as a club in 1881 but they will always be remembered by us all at Newtown AFC as the very reason as to why we have our brilliant club today. For unknown reasons, there was no involvement from Newtown Excelsior or any clubs from Newtown for that matter in the Welsh Cup’s for the 1881/82, 1882/83, and 1883/84 seasons respectively.

By the time of the 1884/1885 season, the Excelsior part our name had been dropped and the club was now known as Newtown. In that season’s Welsh Cup, we recorded a 2-1 away win against Trefonen in the first round and then followed that up with another 2-1 win in the second round at Shrewsbury Castle Blues. The third round draw saw Newtown being given a tie against Oswestry White Stars. The first game ended as a 1-1 draw with the replay being recorded as a 1-0 victory for Oswestry. However, in fact, Newtown walked off the pitch due to the goal for Oswestry being hotly disputed meaning the game did not run for the full duration.

The following season’s Welsh Cup saw the Robins go on a run all the way through to the final. Victories over Oswestry, Welshpool, Shrewsbury Castle Blues, and Bangor respectively, set up a final with the famous Druids club from Ruabon. Druids were certainly the club to beat during this time as they had already won four Welsh cups up to that point! They prevailed on this occasion as well by beating the Robins 4-0 at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.