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The Story of Welsh Football

In The Beginning

We can be fairly sure that the first football match in Wales took place somewhere in Wrexham or nearby. Where exactly, we may never know, but. there were enough footballers in Ruabon to start a club at Plas Madoc in 1869. In Wrexham itself, local cricketers started their own football club based at The Racecourse in 1872. That same year the English and Scots played each other in the first ever football international.

1876 Kenrick's Challenge

In January 1876 Llewelyn Kenrick read a challenge in "The Field", a London based newspaper for sports fans.

The challenge was to organise a football match between Wales & Scotland or Ireland. The race was on: would it be Rugby or Association Football? Kenrick wanted it to be Association football. He moved fast. He told The Field that the footballers of North Wales accepted the challenge and he advertised for players:

Test matches will take place at the ground of the Denbighshire County Cricket Club at Wrexham for the purpose of choosing the Cambrian Eleven. Gentlemen desirous of playing are requested to send in their names and addresses.

Llewelyn Kenrick


Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Wrexham. The birth place of the Football Association of Wales.

In February 1876 Kenrick set up the Football Association of Wales. He faced down his critics in South Wales and their calls for this new Welsh team to be rugger not soccer players. In March Kenrick chose his players and then headed north.

Wales first international match progreamme - Click for a larger version

Wales's first international match programme

The first Welsh international was in Partick, Glasgow at the West of Scotland Cricket Club on March 25th 1876. It was a tough game for Scotland had experience on their side. Wales lost 4-0 but not their appetite for international football.

The Welsh Football Collection was purchased with the assistance of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.