MAIN CLUB HONOURS
Welsh Football League Champions 2006/07
West Wales Senior Cup Winners 2008 1995; 1996
NEATH Athletic have only existed in their current form since 2005, when neighbouring Welsh League outfits Skewen Athletic and Neath decided it was in both clubs’ best interests to merge.
It was an instant success as Athletic powered their way to runners-up spot in the First Division and, with champions Goytre United declining a step-up to the Welsh Premier, would have been promoted at the first attempt but for problems meeting ground criteria.
However, the following season Neath had ironed out those problems and won a place in the top flight as undisputed champions with a league record 92 points.
Both of the clubs in the merger have parallel histories and have played each other many times in the past.
Skewen Athletic can trace their history back to the 1920s when they played as Garthmoor FC in the Swansea Gwalia League. In 1934/5 they won the Neath League Championship and Open Cup, reaching the final of the West Wales Amateur Cup in 1939.
The joined the Welsh League Division 2 (West) after the war, moving to Cwrt Herbert. This was followed by a change of name to Neath Athletic but it was not until 1967/8 that they finally reached the top flight of the Welsh League.
In order to meet the ground criteria they were forced to move to the Greyhound Stadium in Skewen and changed their name to Skewen Athletic
But after struggling to survive in the First Division and to finance the rent for the stadium, they moved to Tennant Park, their home until the merger.
Their last three years before linking-up with their neighbours were their most successful, winning successive promotions from Division 3 to Division 1.
Neath AFC is a recent incarnation of a club that can trace its origins back to 1922 when the UK’s first oil refinery was opened at Llandarcy. They also played in the Gwalia League before becoming a founder member of the Neath League in 1931.
Playing as National Oil Refineries, they appeared in the first two West Wales Amateur Cup Finals but lost on both occasions. However, they finally triumphed in 1951 by beating Plasmarl and won the trophy again four years later.
By the late 1940s, NOR were also playing in Welsh League Division 2 (West) and there were plenty of derby games against their eventual partners.
Following the acquisition of the refinery, the club became BP Llandarcy and stayed so for the next 45 years. In 1958 they left the Welsh League, returning in 1971 and won promotion in 1977 as Abacus League Division 1 champions to make it to the top flight for the first time.
In 1996 and 1997, the club beat Swansea City to lift the West Wales Senior Cup with both games being played at the Swans’ former Vetch Field home.
In May 2008, the club announced it would ground-share at The Gnoll, the home of Neath Rugby Club, with effect from the start of season 2008/9.
Next at The Gnoll
Sunday 04 Sep 2011
Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League
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