Llanelli A.F.C.

Llanelli A.F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Llanelli

fullname = Llanelli Association
Football Club
nickname = The Tinmen, The Reds or Scarlets
founded = 1896
ground = Stebonheath Park
capacity = 3,700; 700 seated
chairman = flagicon|ENG Nitin Parekh
manager = flagicon|WAL Peter Nicholas
league = Welsh Premier League
season = 2007-08
position = Welsh Premier League, 1st

Llanelli A.F.C. is a Welsh football team that plays in the Welsh Premier League. Its home ground is Stebonheath Park, Llanelli. It has a capacity of 3,700 - 700 of which may be seated. The current manager is Peter Nicholas. The club is run by the JESCO Group. Former Celtic and Scotland international manager Jock Stein played there briefly in the 1950 season.

In February 1998, the club's 40-year-old player-manager Robbie James (a former Wales international who also played more than 800 English league games between 1973 and 1994) collapsed and died during a Welsh Football League First Division fixture against Porthcawl.

The club is owned by Catherine Zeta-Jones' uncle, Robert Jones. [ [http://www.popstarsplus.com/actress_catherinezeta-jones.htm Catherine Zeta-Jones biography, information, news, links, pictures (pics) and products (actress) ] ]


The club has had several periods of strength. In the 1950s, in an effort to gain admission to the Football League they signed a number of professional players such as Jock Stein, later to become a legend at Celtic F.C. The bid to gain entry failed, and the club sunk back into obscurity for some years. [ [http://sport.scotsman.com/jockstein/Singing-in-the-valleys-over.2660280.jp Singing in the valleys over a very special boyo - Scotsman.com Sport ] ]

The club was a founder member of the League of Wales, but was relegated during the 1995–96 season. Three years later however it achieved promotion back to the top division, achieving its best finishing position of fifth in the 1999–2000 season. It was lucky to survive the following season, staying up because no team in the Welsh League Division One met the promotion criteria. Llanelli was eventually relegated two years later, but bounced back immediately for the 2004–05 season.

During the summer of 2005, "Tinopolis" announced ambitious plans to become a full-time side. This move led to unprecedented success in the league, culminating in the best-ever finish of second, behind fellow full-timers The New Saints. [ [http://www.welsh-premier.com/news.php?ID=6611 Welsh Premier League Football - all the news from Aberystwyth to Welshpool: News ] ] Finishing second in the league also qualified the club for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup.

On 11 April 2008, Llanelli AFC won the Welsh Premier League for the first time in their history. [ [http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/news/kind=2/newsid=684069.html uefa.com - Football Europe - News & Features - News Specific ] ]


The club's home ground is Stebonheath Park, which has a capacity of 3,700. In recent years, big games in European competition have been played at Stradey Park, the traditional rugby venue in the town. The town's rugby sides, the Scarlets of the Magners League and Llanelli RFC, are set to open Parc y Scarlets, a new 14,000 capacity stadium, in November 2008. However, despite early rumours, Llanelli AFC have no plans to move there, and are instead committed towards improving their own ground.

The first ground improvement started in the summer of 2008 by building a seated stand to accommodate 300 supporters. This takes the Stebonheath Park seated capacity to 1,000 - therefore making it a UEFA-compliant stadium for European football.

Recent European performances

Champions League - 2008–09

Llanelli A.F.C. qualified for the UEFA Champions League after finishing as the champions of the Welsh Premier League. The Reds were to play FK Ventspils from Latvia in the first qualifying round. In a close match at Stebonheath Park, Llanelli ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a goal from defender, Stuart Jones. The Reds then went to Latvia to try and defend this slender lead. At full time in Latvia, the match ended 4-0 to Ventspils which meant that Llanelli had been knocked out 4-1 on aggregate.

Intertoto Cup - 2007–08

Llanelli A.F.C. qualified for the Intertoto Cup after finishing third in the Welsh Premier League behind The New Saints and Rhyl F.C.The Reds travelled to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for the first leg of the first round against FK Vėtra where they lost 3-1. A magnificent return leg(played at Carmarthen as Stebonheath did not meet UEFA criteria) saw Llanelli come agonizingly close to qualifying, taking the game from 3-2 down at half time to 5-3 up in the last minute (including a Rhys Griffiths hattrick) and missing a last gasp opportunity to finish off their badly shaken opponents, going out of the tournament on away goals.

UEFA Cup - 2006–07 season

Llanelli A.F.C. won the first qualifying round draw against the Swedish team Gefle IF (2-1) on aggregate. They then went on to play the Danish side Odense BK in the second qualifying round.

Because of UEFA regulations on stadia, the club played its home leg of the first qualifying round at Llanelli's Stradey Park, home of the Llanelli Scarlets rugby union region, and played the second round home leg at Swansea's Liberty Stadium. However, they suffered a substantial loss during the home leg and were ejected from the UEFA cup tournament (1-6) on aggregate.

Current squad

Notable former players

*flagicon|WAL Billy Hughes
*flagicon|IRL flagicon|IRE|1783 Rory Keane
*flagicon|IRL flagicon|IRE|1783 Jackie O'Driscoll
*flagicon|SCO flagicon|USA Jack Marshall
*flagicon|SCO Jock Stein



External links

* [http://www.llanelliafc.org/ Official site]

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