Bala Town

Clwb Pêl-droed y Bala / Bala Town Football Club


  • Best League Finish: 2nd in the Welsh Premier League / Cymru Premier (3 times)
  • Best Welsh Cup Finish: Winners (2016-17)
  • Welsh Cup
    • Winners (1): 2016–17
  • Welsh League Cup / Cymru Premier Cup
    • Winners (1): 2022–23
  • Cymru Alliance
    • Champions (1): 2008–09
  • Cymru Alliance League Cup
    • Winners (4): 2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09
  • Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division
    • Champions (1): 2003-04
  • Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division Two / One
    • Champions (3): 1967-68, 1989-90, 1997-98
  • North East Wales FA Challenge Cup
    • Winners (4): 1971–72, 2003–04, 2006–07, 2007–08
  • North East Wales FA Junior (Horace Wynne) Cup
    • Winners (1): 1996–97
  • Cambrian Coast League
    • Champions (2): 1958-59, 1962-63

Clwb Pêl-droed y Bala / Bala Town Football Club is a North Welsh club that currently plays in the Cymru Premier, the national top-tier league in the Welsh football pyramid. They are based in the lakeside tourist town of Bala / Y Bala which is located in the eastern section of the large northwestern county of Gwynedd (historically in the county of Merionethshire / Sir Feirionnydd) and has a population of about 2,000 inhabitants. The town is situated on the northern end of Llyn Tegid / Bala Lake, Wales’ largest natural lake, and is at the point of the confluence between the River Dee / Afon Dyfrdwy (which flows from Llyn Tegid) and the Afon Tryweryn, whilst the main A494 road runs through Bala and along the western side of the lake.

Bala Town currently plays its home games at the 3,000-capacity, 504-seater Maes Tegid which can be found in the north of town, just off the main A494 road and down Castle Street. It has been the home of Bala Town since the 1950s, and has seen recent improvements to the ground as the club has risen through the Welsh pyramid and maintained its position in the Cymru Premier. In September 2016, after problems with the grass pitch during the winter months, the ground had a synthetic 3G surface installed allowing games to be played at the ground throughout the year.

Bala is located within the heartland region of Welsh football where football first took hold within the country. Naturally, a team from the former major woollen industrial town appeared in the first edition of the Welsh Cup in 1877-78, with the team losing 0-1 to Corwen in a second replay following two goalless games. The current Bala Town has its foundations back to 1880 when a team started playing games on Llyn Tegid’s foreshore, although other Bala-based teams such as Bala North End, Bala South End, and Bala Thursdays were all competing in various local tournaments throughout the 1890s, with the Thursdays playing at Castle Park (the location of the present cricket field). It is likely these teams merged in the 1900s, and the combined might of the clubs pushed Bala Town to become one of the best amateur sides in North Wales with the club winning a number of local cups and leagues. Playing at Castle Park, Bala Town first competed in the Welsh National League (North) Division 2 East during the early 1920s, and famously had a match against Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round of the 1946-47 Welsh Cup, which they drew 1-1 before losing in the replay 1-9.

The club moved to their current home of Maes Tegid in the 1950s which coincided with Bala switching between leagues. Firstly joining the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) system from 1950-57 before moving to the mid-Wales football pyramid by competing in the Cambrian Coast League between 1957 and 1963, winning the West Welsh league on two occasions. Eventually, the Lakesiders returned back to the WNL structure in the 1963-64 season and were ever-present within it until the club’s promotion to the Cymru Alliance in 2004. During their WNL tenure, the club won three Division Two (later Division One) titles and spent the majority of its career competing in the Premier Division of the WNL. It wouldn’t be until the 2003-04 season, the first season under the management of Colin Caton (who is still in charge of the club today), when Bala’s fortunes started to considerably improve. Bala Town were crowned as WNL Premier Division champions for the first time and earned a promotion to the Cymru Alliance, as well as winning their first North East Wales FA (NEWFA) Challenge Cup the same season.

The 2003-04 Welsh National League table.

The Lakesiders spent the next five seasons consolidating their position in the second tier whilst improving the facilities of Maes Tegid such as adding floodlights, stands, etc. to fulfil the requirements for a Tier 2 and future Tier 1 licence. As well as winning a record-equalling four Cymru Alliance League Cups during that period, Bala finished as runners-up on two consecutive seasons (to Llangefni Town in 2006-07, and Prestatyn Town the following season). They finally achieved promotion to the Welsh Premier League for the first time when Bala won the 2008-09 Cymru Alliance title by finishing just three points ahead of nearest rivals Holyhead Hotspur. Since their promotion in 2009, Bala Town have continually played in the Welsh Premier League / Cymru Premier, with the 2022-23 season being their fourteenth consecutive season in Wales’ top league. They were very fortunate to maintain their berth in the top flight for their first two seasons after finishing in the relegation zone on both occasions but were saved from demotion after clubs from the feeder leagues were unable to obtain a WPL licence and earn promotion.

After that initial scare, the club, under Caton’s continued leadership, went from strength to strength to become one of the strongest teams in Welsh football. Bala have finished in the top six in the past nine consecutive seasons from 2014-15 to 2022-23, and have achieved three runners-up placements in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and (most recently) 2021-22 campaigns. In addition, they have also qualified for European competitions on five occasions, and managed one-off victories over Estonian club Levadia Tallinn, Luxembourgish club Differdange 03, and Sanmarinese side Tre Fiori, but are yet to progress to the next round over two legs in a European fixture. Nonetheless, the side’s greatest triumph in their long history came in the 2016-17 Welsh Cup when Bala Town managed to shock dominant league champions The New Saints 2-1 to win their first national cup and major trophy in Welsh football.

Bala Town had a repeat of the 2017 Welsh Cup final this year when they progressed to the final of the 2023 Welsh Cup and took on league champions TNS once again. Sadly, lightning never struck twice and the Oswestry-based club gained revenge for the 2017 final by decisively defeating the Lakesiders 6-0 in the biggest margin of victory in a Welsh Cup final since 1931. Alas, the 2022-23 campaign has been a topsy-turvy one for Bala Town – a season which promised much but ultimately fizzled out. Bala did manage to pick up silverware in the form of the Welsh League Cup by overcoming Connah’s Quay Nomads on penalties after a goalless draw to win just their second major honour – an amazing achievement! However, the form of the team dipped after the league split with the crushing final defeat being the nadir to a disappointing conclusion to the season. Their fifth-place finish in the league was their lowest placement in five seasons, and then Bala suffered a 2-4 defeat to Newtown at Maes Tegid in the European playoff semi-finals to eliminate any hopes of qualifying for Europe for a sixth time.

Answering questions on one of Wales’ strongest teams who look set to have an important season ahead of them to see if they can maintain their position at the upper echelons of the Cymru Premier, we spoke to the excellent Hannah Gwenllian. Hannah is a Bala native and supporter who runs her own superb website creation company HG Web Designs and used to work with Bala Town in the past, but is now a contributor for Welsh football website Y Clwb Pêl-Droed in her spare time. To find out more about Hannah, her social media channels and company website are below:

Q. Firstly, how did you decide to start following and supporting Bala Town?

Colin Caton

I began following Bala Town when my Dad started to go watch them in Colin Caton’s first season which saw them win the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) and take me along with him. I live very close to the ground, attended the school across the road, had sports days on the pitch, and learnt to ride my bike there, so I basically grew up at Maes Tegid!

Q. From your time following the club, who has been your favourite player, and the reasoning behind your choice?

Mark Jones

There’s been quite a few over the years but Mark Jones [midfielder who played for Bala Town between 2010 and 2017] was in a different league to anyone else. I support Wrexham too and he was a fantastic player there [played for the Red Dragons in two spells between 2002 and 2010 and earned two international caps with Wales], I was in disbelief when I found out he was joining Bala! His composure and the way he ran the midfield was incredible.

Q. Of the current squad, who would you say is the best player at the club and why?

George Newell

A player I’ve rated every time I’ve seen him is George Newell [26-year-old English forward]. He’s only been at Bala for a year [joining from Southport] but the way he puts himself about, holds the ball up, and his workrate is really good. I just hope we can keep him next season!

Q. Who would you regard as Bala’s biggest or historical rivals?

Regarding rivals, I don’t think we have ‘rivals’ as we don’t have any really close derby games like other Cymru Premier clubs. I don’t think Caernarfon Town like us very much, but I’d say we have had some horrible matches against Prestatyn Town during our time in the Cymru Alliance and then the Cymru Premier. There always seemed to be fireworks involved when both clubs met!

Q. What would you say has been the best game, result, or performance from your time following the club?

The best game and result would be the TNS Welsh Cup win back in 2017. We weren’t expected to win and were by far the underdogs and basically given no hope by anyone. That was a standout moment.

Q. What do you think of the situation in Welsh league football currently? Are there any improvements you would like to see happen?

I think Welsh football in the top flight is stuck in a rut. TNS’ domestic dominance is ruining the league as the gulf between them, who win millions of euros in European football, those clubs who qualify for the Europa Conference League, and then the rest of the league means it’s almost like three leagues within one. It also serves no purpose and they never progress in European competitions every season. Playing teams up to six times a season is repetitive and boring, and is one of the reasons I’ve taken a step back from watching the Cymru Premier as a whole. I do think a change to summer football would boost attendances, as well as taking the league back up to 16 teams at least.

Q. How would you describe the current performance or state of the club? How do you think this season has gone so far?

As far as silverware, Bala won the League Cup and reached the Welsh Cup Final again which was a fantastic achievement. However, the second half of the season was very disappointing and it seems like a squad clear-out is required. I personally think there are players who have not delivered and players who maybe are getting on a bit, so a bit of a rebuild is needed. It’s going to be an interesting summer!

Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the club?

The 2022-23 Cymru Premier table.
[IMAGE: Wikipedia]

The best thing about being a Bala supporter is the fact that I have been able to witness a phenomenal journey over the last 20 years. What has been achieved on and off the pitch is beyond remarkable and couldn’t have been possible without a lot of dedication, hard work, and limitless devotion from those involved. The worst thing is that there aren’t many of us so we get quite a bit of stick – people need to remember, Bala’s only got a population of 1,800!

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of Bala Town?

I hope we remain in the top flight of Welsh football for as long as possible.

A massive thank you to Hannah for answering our questions on the Cymru Premier side Bala Town. Remember you can find their social media accounts in the links towards the top of the blogpage.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at or send a message at @The94thMin on Twitter.


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