The first football club in Caernarfon, known as Caernarvon Athletic, was formed in September 1876 and played at various grounds before moving to the Oval in 1888. Five years later, however, that particular club went out of existence but, in 1894, several former players began a new team called Caernarvon Ironopolis. That club competed in the North Wales Coast League, winning the championship on two occasions and reaching the semi-final of the Welsh Cup in 1900 and again in 1902. Unfortunately, following a dispute with the league, Ironopolis folded in 1903.The demise of the club resulted in some of the players forming the Caernarvon Celts while others affiliated to the Caernarvon RWF (Royal Welch Fusiliers), both clubs playing at the Oval. In 1906, the clubs amalgamated to form Caernarvon United and in 1909 the new club won both the Welsh and North Wales Amateur Cups.After the Great War, the demobbed United players formed a new club (Caernarvon Athletic) which, until 1921, played in the North Wales Coast League and thereafter the Welsh National League Division Two (West), with mixed fortune. In 1926, however, a limited company was formed and a full-time manager and professional team engaged. The club met with immediate success, winning the Welsh National League Division One championship in 1926/27, ahead of Bangor City and Rhyl, and repeating the feat in 1929/30 having been pipped to the title by Connah's Quay & Shotton twelve months earlier.Caernarvon Athletic are still remembered for their F.A.Cup run in 1929 when they defeated Darlington before going out to Bournemouth in a second round replay, the first game at the Oval attracting a crowd of some 6,000. In 1930, however, the club went into liquidation but two years later a re-formed team won the Welsh Combination before quitting over problems in using the Oval.<1r>It was in 1937 that a group of local soccer enthusiasts began Caernarfon Town F.C. and entered a team in the Welsh League (North) Division One. A 39 year unbroken membership of the league was begun and Caernarfon Town won the championship in 1946/47 and 1965/66 and finished runners-up in both 1956/57 and 1957/58 and once again in 1972/73.Unfortunately, in 1976 internal problems led to the club's withdrawal from the league after just six matches but, within a matter of months, the club was once again re-formed and bounced back twelve months later. Astonishingly, the club then proceeded to win the league championship in each of the next two seasons!After taking those two league titles in 1977/78 and 1978/79, losing only one game in total (Nantlle Vale winning 1-nil in 1977/78), Caernarfon were granted permission by the Welsh Football Association to join the Lancashire Combination league. The club went on to win the Combination Cup in 1981 (beating Bacup Borough in the two-legged final) and then the league championship in 1981/82, heading off the challenge of Colne Dynamoes by two points.The following season, Caernarfon moved into the newly-created North West Counties League and achieved promotion, along with Radcliffe Borough, at the first attempt. In 1985, Caernarfon Town were runners-up in the first division and were elected to the Northern Premier League. Despite a poor start, new manager John King turned playing affairs round and the club enjoyed its most successful F.A.Cup run in 1986/87 before losing a third round replay to second division Barnsley.The Canaries finished third in the NPL before, in May 1987, King left to become manager of Tranmere Rovers. The former Liverpool wing-half Tommy Smith was appointed manager but left in December 1987 after a series of poor results, giving way to Phil Wilson who had been a player with the club the previous season. A revival in the latter half of the 1987/88 campaign lifted Caernarfon up to third place and they also reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup before losing out (on a 2-1 aggregate) to Cardiff City.In 1989/90, Caernarfon were relegated to the NPLs first division and, following a series of mediocre performances over a five-year period, the club's board of directors decided to return to Welsh soccer. Thus, Caernarfon were welcomed into the League of Wales in August 1995.The 1995/96 season was very successful with Caernarfon achieving 6th place in the league table and reaching the semi-finals of both the League of Wales League Cup and the North Wales Coast F.A.Cup. That led to an even more enjoyable 1996/97 season when the Canaries challenged Barry Town for the league title before finishing fourth, just behind Ebbw Vale on goal difference having an identical playing record. The Canaries also progressed to the final of the North Wales Coast F.A.Cup before going down 2-1 to Porthmadog. Eifion Williams, the club's leading goalscorer, twice won international recognition for Wales at Under-21 level and earned Caernarfon a large fee when transferred to champions Barry Town in 1997.1997/98 proved to be a difficult campaign marked by the failure to replace Eifion Williams in attack. The club languished at the wrong end of the table for most of the season, before pulling clear of relegation. Paul Rowlands became the Canaries' fourth manager that season and his contagious enthusiasm turned fortunes around. Twelve months later, Town just missed out on a place in Europe after ending in fifth place and reaching the final of the Gilbert League Cup, before losing to Barry Town. Nonetheless, the disasters of 1999/2000 were just around the corner. Town began the new term badly and an even worse financial plight saw the club part company with all its players. Dixie McNeill was appointed as manager in an attempt to avert the increasingly inevitable threat of relegation. The one bright spot was Caernarfon's 1-0 success over Swansea City in the FAW Premier Cup.The following season, however, was a marvellous time for the Canaries. The club won the Cymru Alliance championship and League Cup and also picked up the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup. Manager Adrian Jones guided the team through this deserved success and, with a new stand and changing facilities finished early in 2001, Caernarfon Town were back in the League of Wales with very high hopes for the future and subsequently finished 11th, 14th and 9th, the latter following Jones' late season departure which saw former Wales international Wayne Phillips take over the reins.Last season, however, The Canaries slumped to finish fourth from the bottom of the league, winning only seven games and they will be looking for a vast improvement this year.
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