In its 109-year history, I very much doubt the Welsh Football League have witnessed an off-season anything like it has experienced in recent months.
As the dust finally begins to settle on a summer of outrage, uncertainty and court action, the profile of Welsh football predictably emerges as the real loser from the fall out.
And for the first time in my memory, dissatisfaction with the governance of the Welsh game reached the mainstream. The resignation of Welsh Premier League representative and Port Talbot Town chairman Andrew Edwards, and his open letter explicitly exposing the true state of the FAW council, following their decision to exclude Barry Town and Llanelli from the Welsh Football League dragged the state of the Welsh game into the national conscience.
If you look beyond the noteworthy successes last season of the English FA-affiliated Welsh clubs of Swansea City, Cardiff City, Newport County and Wrexham, what is left, is a wounded domestic game in urgent need of modernisation, transparency and vision.
It is foolish to tarnish the entire FAW with the same brush as directed towards some of those who sit on the council.
There are FAW employees who do genuinely have the games’ best interests at heart and have the desire to carry it forward but they are handicapped from doing so under the choking grip of the constitution that is maintained by the council.
Despite yesterday’s backtracking under the public glare, allowing Llanelli and Barry Town back into the Welsh League (albeit in Division Three), the Welsh Assembly must now use its powers for the good of football in Wales if any good is to come out of this shameful episode of Welsh football history.
It is ironic that amidst the unfolding chaos, the collective European performances of The New Saints, Prestatyn Town, Airbus UK and Bala Town were perhaps the best Welsh football has seen – it is the very likes of these clubs and the personnel involved that proves football in the principality can move forward and can have a positive future. A good domestic season in 2013/14 will only reinforce this.
This year, I’ve revised my site to focus on football in South Wales in hope of improving its online presence, with the lower tiers, in particular, lacking coverage. If football in North Wales is your thing, then click here. Dave Jones’ coverage of the game in North Wales sets the bar for regional coverage and I make no secret that his excellent work has inspired me to hopefully do something similar here in the south.
I’ve also updated the links section with access to leagues and associations to most levels in Wales and have also included my pick of the best Welsh football websites out there – get in contact if you want me to include yours.
I’ll gratefully accept any admissions for news from leagues or clubs, just click here for my contact details.
Tomorrow I will preview the Welsh League season which commences in Division One tonight with Taffs Well and Tata Steel (7.30).
Enjoy the football and do what you can to help support it.