Formed: 1964

Ground: Woodland Road

Manager: Chris Evans

Nickname: Cockerels

By Jordan Forster

BASED in the town Cwmbran, which sits on the eastern boundary of the former Valleys coalfield in the vale of the Afon Llwyd, Croesyceiliog AFC were formed in 1964 by schoolboys of the Croesyceiliog School.

Initially beginning as a youth team in the Newport & District League, the Cockerels first entered senior football around 1965/66 and were founding members of the Gwent Premier League in 1967, where they remained in the top flight until they were promoted to the Welsh Football League in 2004.

During their 47 years in Gwent County football, Croesyceiliog were champions on four occasions. It was after their fourth league success in the 2003/4 campaign - in which the Cockerels went the entire league campaign unbeaten - the club finally reached the Welsh League.

Under the management of Chris Evans and Neil Gilmore, Croesyceiliog quickly rose through the divisions of the Welsh League and, after two further promotions, the Cockerels found themselves in the first division and finished 9th in their debut campaign in 2006/7. This remains the club’s highest ever league finish.

Following a poor campaign in 2007/8, long-serving manager Evans left the club and relegation to Welsh League division followed in 2008/9.

At the lower level Croesyceiliog found better form, finishing 6th in the league and embarking on a successful Welsh Football League cup run. In the 2010 final they faced Welsh League champions Goytre United seeking a “double” double. It was Croesyceiliog’s day though as the team put in one of the best performances in the club’s history winning 3-1 in Bridgend.

The last decade has seen Croesyceiliog remain in tier three, generally ensconced in mid-table.

Their home at Woodland Park has overseen enormous change from the basic facilities that were required in the Welsh League overhauled with the recent additions of floodlights and covered seating. The club is currently working on building a 3G training facility next to the ground.

With improvements off the field moving at breakneck pace, the club will also hope the return of Chris Evans to the first team management will bring some of the glory of his first spell back to the club.

The Cockerels have also provided the start point for a handful of players that have gone on to have successful professional careers, most recently Wales hopeful Christian Doidge played for the club before his spell with Carmarthen Town caught the eye of scouts from English football.