The History of Ystradgynlais AFC Juniors – Celebrating 25 years in 2019
Ystradgynlais AFC Juniors was formerly called Penrhos United and was formed in August 1994, when 14 year old, Carl Williams, was walking through the old Penrhos Primary School, when he saw some young boys who he knew, that were playing football on the school field and asked them if they wanted to make a team.
Being a Manchester United supporter and growing up in Penrhos, there was only one name the team was going to be called which was, Penrhos United.
Penrhos United played their first friendly against Neath Boys Club 2 weeks after their first training session in August 1994 away in Neath and lost 25-0. In September of 1994 the team was entered in the league and played their home games as the recreational ground in Ystradgynalais. Carl stepped aside as coach to concentrate on his own football and dad Ged Williams took the team from under 10 right through to youth level. The players from that team went to senior football and became the nucleus of a period in Ystradgynlais AFC history that would take them from Neath League Division 1, into the Neath Premier and then eventually to Welsh League Level.
Ged Williams made a constitution for the club, opened a bank account, formed a committee and got sponsorship for kits. The badge design was decided by the new committee in 1995 which represented the village mining heritage.
By the end of the first season Penrhos United was running 3 age groups the following year.
In 1995 after the first 3 age groups were formed, the unused and overgrown fields next to Penrhos Youth Club were granted permission to make 2 football fields. Those pitches are now formally known as Penrhos field and are under the care of Golwg Y Cwm primary school.
In 2013 Penrhos United had its first and only league title, with our u13s under coach Daniel Davies.
In 2015 Penrhos United changed its name to Ystradgynlais AFC Juniors. The main reason to change the name of the club was because local rivals Cwm Wanderers had decided to start junior age groups. Penrhos United was always a feeder club to Ystradgynlais AFC, so with competition between 2 senior football clubs growing for junior players the change needed to happen. The club now boasts 230 junior football players from ages 4 to 16 with 9 boys age groups and 4 different girls age groups.
In 2016 Ystradgynlais AFC Juniors fielded its first girls junior team under coach Daniel Davies
In 2017 Ystradgynlais AFC Juniors became a boys and girls club of Wales and has FAW accreditation.
The club badge is now a Crane bird that represents the Crane family who owned the recreational ground and a large amount of land in the Ystradgynlais area.
The club has also now secured CASC (Community Amateur Sports Club) registered with HMRC.
In the 2017/18 season the club fielded its first Ystradgynlais FC Youth team under Carl Williams who has come back to the club as a coach at the ripe old age of 39.
Junior football in the Ystradgynlais area has been running for over 60 years but was never structured with different ongoing age groups until the 1980’s when a club, Derwen FC was formed. This club was named after Derwen Road in Ystradgynlais, where the founder of the club Mick, used to live. This club sparked a rise in competitive football in our area, and this would go on to produce some of the best players the area has produced.
Archives show league winners and cup winners from various different age groups during a 10 year period. When Derwen FC disbanded in 1990, junior football in the area dipped until 1993, when Ystradgynlais fielded an u14 team in the Neath League for 1 season, again under the guidance of Mick, but unfortunately disbanded due to lack of players in the right age group for the following year.