Grange Quins are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year – having taken the “painful” step to drop out of the Welsh League towards the end of last season.
The football club said it was “proud” to keep going, after the cost of playing at the Leckwith athletics stadium became too much of a burden.
It follows a period of success which culminated in a season in the Welsh Premier League. But paying to play in the then council-owned stadium was always a “millstone” and a drain on all the hard-work off the field.
Although they have always fielded teams in the Cardiff and District League, this is now the senior level and Quins are back where it all started in 1935.
We asked manager Martin Poole a few questions.
Q Quins had to drop out of the Welsh League towards the end of last season, how difficult a period was that? What went wrong?
Martin: The decision to drop out of the Welsh League was particularly difficult and painful, none more so than for Mohammed Islam and Ishy Akhtar who had kept the Welsh League team going for the last seven years and who did everything to try to keep the Club at this level.
In some respects we were victims of our own success. When the Welsh pyramid system was introduced in the early 1990s it became possible for clubs to progress. We entered the South Wales Senior League in its inaugural season and won the league in our second year. This entitled us to seek entry into the Welsh Football League. (In doing so we became the first Cardiff club to progress from the ‘parks’ through the pyramid to this level). However, in order to do so we needed to find playing facilities which satisfied the League’s criteria. The Council were prepared to offer the old Cardiff Athletic Stadium.
However the cost of playing at the stadium were, and remained, very expensive – particularly for a local community club raising their own funds. Many other Cardiff clubs who followed us were helped by the Council with playing facilities which of course cost nothing like the sums that we had to find. In this respect, playing at the Athletic Stadium and later the was a millstone from the start and remained so throughout our tenure in the Welsh League and the Welsh Premier League. This was despite the generosity of a number of sponsors over the years and the incredible amount of hard work put in by a core of club stalwarts. In effect most of our efforts over the years went into paying the Council for the privelage of playing at Leckwith. So in effect our demise, to which to some extent was inevitable, dates back to our early success – although we had much further success and plenty of fun along the journey.
There’s a misconception that because we are no longer in the Welsh League we are no longer in existence!
Q The club is 80 years old this year, was it important with all the history behind it, to keep going?
Martin: It’s a pity that we had to leave the Welsh League in our 80th year but I am proud that we have managed to keep it going in the Cardiff & District Football League where it all started for us.
Q Is it a completely new club in terms of players and those behind the scenes?
Martin: The Quins are one of the oldest clubs in Cardiff having competed continuously in the Cardiff & District League since 1935. Throughout our time in the Welsh League and the Welsh Premier League we fielded teams in the ‘District’. Inevitable there is a regular turnover of players and none who played in the Welsh League are still with us.
Q Where are you playing now?
Martin: Our home ground is at Pontcanna Fields.
Q What’s your own football background – how are you involved?
Martin: I was brought up in Clare Road and first represented Grange Quins at youth level in 1968 and was part of a team that reached the Welsh Youth Cup Final. Later I went on to play for the first team for a number of years and also played for Taffs Well in the Welsh League (before the introduction of the Welsh pyramid system). Both teams enjoyed success in this period. In addition I have managed many Quins senior and youth teams for a number of years.
Q Are you still looking for new players? When/where do you train?
Martin: We are always looking for new players to improve and grow the club, particularly in this still difficult period following our withdrawal from the Welsh League.
Q Have you got any local support/sponsors?
Martin: There is generally a misconception that because we are no longer in the Welsh League we are no longer in existence! As a consequence we have no current sponsors – all offers welcomed – and are looking rebuild our support. Much credit needs to be given to Towl Mihr who has been with the District team for the past 15 years and has provided great help and support.
Q Anything else you’d like to add – including how to get in touch, kick off time for next match.
Martin: We would love to see more Grangetown people, particularly youngsters get involved with us to help rebuild the club and become stronger again.
Anyone interested in playing, helping or supporting the Quins can contact Martin on 07808 776972 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find Quins fixtures here