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Newport County
Badge of Newport County
Full name Newport County
Association Football Club
Nickname(s) The Exiles, The Ironsides
Founded 1912 (reformed 1989)
Ground Newport Stadium,
Newport NP19 4PT
(Capacity: 4,700 (1,100 seated))
Chairman Wales Chris Blight
Manager England Dean Holdsworth
League Conference South
2008-09 Conference South, 10th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Newport County are a Welsh football club based in Newport, who currently play in the Conference South, part of the English football league system. Founded in 1912 the club joined the Football League's new Third Division in 1920.

Newport County were Welsh Cup winners in 1980 and subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup. The club was relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business in February 1989. The club re-formed shortly afterwards and entered the English league pyramid system at a much lower level. The club achieved promotion to the Conference National for the 2010-11 season, the same level they played at prior to bankruptcy in 1989.


The Football League years


Rise through the league

Newport County, originally nicknamed "The Ironsides" due to Newport being home to steel works, started out in the Southern League in 1912 at Somerton Park. The club were first elected to the Football League in 1920. They were not re-elected after the 1930-31 season but rejoined for 1932-33. After almost twenty years in Division 3 South, the club finally clinched promotion to Division 2 as champions in 1939.

Second Division disaster

During the outbreak of World War II only three games were played. Newport County managed a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and a 3-1 win over Southampton, finishing joint 9th out of 22 in the abandoned season.

On the resumption of association football after the war, the reformed club didn't fare so well as a re-shaped team suffered a host of defeats - including a joint Football League record 13-0 defeat at Newcastle United. Newcastle player Len Shackleton remarked "they were lucky to get nil". Despite victories over Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, the club needed four wins out of the last four games to have any hope of safety. Despite a revenge victory over Newcastle United, defeats to Birmingham City, Luton Town and Manchester City sealed their fate. County finished rock bottom of Division 2 and were relegated. However, during this lean period Newport did reach the 5th round of the FA Cup in 1949, the furthest they have gone in the competition. They only narrowly lost the game 3-2 away to Portsmouth, the eventual FA Cup semi-finalists and Football League First Division champions that season.[1] County led the best team in the land 2-1 at one stage and would have earned a home replay if it had not been for a rule then allowing for extra time in the first cup meeting.

Life in the basement division

After eleven further seasons in the Third Division South, the club narrowly avoided another effective relegation with the creation of the Fourth Division. The bottom twelve teams from Division 3 North and South were placed in the new division, with the remainder forming a new Division 3. County avoided this fate by a mere four points. However, in 1962, with only seven wins all season, the club were relegated to the Fourth Division — their home for the next 18 years.

In the 1959-60 season, County were drawn with Tottenham Hotspur - a top English side - in the FA Cup third round. The game was played in heavy snow at White Hart Lane, and although County lost 4-1 their goal came from an incredible 35-yard effort by Ken Hollyman. This forced the score-line to 1-2, giving County the hope that they could force an upset and inflict a replay or even defeat upon Bill Nicholson's men (who were double winners a year later). However, two late goals for Tottenham ended County's hopes of pulling off a shock result.[citation needed]

In January 1964, County took on another high-profile side - Burnley, the 1960 league champions and 1962 double runners-up - in the FA Cup fourth round, but again suffered defeat.

In the 1970-71 season Newport set an unwanted Football League record by not winning any of their first 25 matches. Results improved in the following season and in the 1972-73 season the Newport team managed by Billy Lucas missed out on promotion only on goal average.

Promotion, cup glory and European run

The 1980s heralded both the brightest and darkest moments in the club's history. Len Ashurst was manager from 1978-1982, the club's most successful period in its history and under the Chairmanship of Richard Ford. In 1980, promotion was finally achieved from the Football League 'basement', the club only being 5 points from being crowned champions.

The team included a young John Aldridge who later became one of the most prolific goal-scorers in English football history, most famous for helping Liverpool win the league title in 1988 and FA Cup in 1989, as well as helping Oxford United win two successive promotions and the Football League Cup halfway through the decade.

Also in the promotion-winning team was Tommy Tynan, one of the leading lower-league strikers of his era, who scored the all-important goal that sealed County's promotion.[citation needed] This was also the year that County won the Welsh Cup, entitling them to play in the 1980-81 season European Cup Winners' Cup.

The cup run turned out to be quite eventful — the first round against Crusaders of Northern Ireland was won 4-0 on aggregate (4-0 at home and 0-0 away). The second round against Haugar F.C. of Norway was even more convincing: after a 0-0 draw away, the home leg was won 6-0, taking the club into the quarter finals against Carl Zeiss Jena F.C. of East Germany. Despite Aldridge being injured for both matches against Carl Zeiss Jena, the quarter-final away leg was drawn 2-2, with Tommy Tynan scoring both goals. Tynan's equaliser was in the 90th minute. However, despite dominating the home leg, Newport lost 0-1 in front of 18,000 fans at Somerton Park. Carl Zeiss Jena went on to be the eventual cup runners-up, losing the final to Dinamo Tbilisi of the Soviet Union.

The Newport County squad for the home leg was: 1 Gary Plumley, 2 Richard Walden, 3 John Relish, 4 Grant Davies, 5 Keith Oakes (Captain), 6 Tommy Tynan, 7 Nigel Vaughan, 8 Steve Lowndes, 9 Dave Gwyther, 10 Karl Elsey, 11 Kevin Moore, 12 Neil Bailey, 13 Steve Warriner, 14 Dave Bruton, 15 Bobby Ward, 16 Mark Kendall.

In the 1982-83 season, Newport County finished fourth in Division 3, just four points behind Huddersfield Town who were promoted to Division 2, along with arch-rivals Cardiff City. County had actually gone top of the table in early April after a win over Cardiff City in front of 16,052 fans at Somerton Park, but a return of only four points from the last seven games handed the promotion to the 'old enemy'.

Newport appeared in the Welsh Cup final again in 1987, this time losing 1-0 to Merthyr Tydfil after a replay.

Freefall and bankruptcy

The decade ended in a rather less glamorous way. County were relegated from the Third Division in 1987 and in 1988 finished bottom of the Fourth Division with a mere 25 points, meaning that their 68-year stay in the Football League was over. They failed to finish their first season in the Conference and finally went out of business on 27 February 1989 with debts of £330,000. They were then expelled from the Conference for failing to fulfill their fixtures. Their record (4 wins, 7 draws and 19 points from 29 games) was expunged.

The BBC Wales current affairs programme Week In Week Out broadcast a documentary in 1989 about the winding up of Newport County and its controversial owner at the time, American Jerry Sherman. [2]

In June that year, a new team was founded and elected to the Hellenic League (four divisions below the Football League). Since then, the club's main aim has been to regain the Football League status held by the original club.

The new club

Exiles succeed in Gloucestershire

The new club adopted the nickname "The Exiles", as a result of the need to play their inaugural season in the north Gloucestershire town of Moreton-in-Marsh at which venue they won the Hellenic 'League and Cup double', winning promotion to the Southern League.

Return home to Newport

After two seasons back home in Newport at Somerton Park, football politics consigned them to a further two seasons of exile at Gloucester and the club was forced to resort to legal action to protect themselves from being forced out of the English football pyramid. That litigation proved successful, a landmark High Court verdict enabling them to have a permanent home in Newport at the then newly built Newport Stadium. The club’s first season back in Newport, in 1994-95, saw them promoted to the Southern League Premier Division by winning the Midland Division Championship by a 14-point margin; on the way to that championship, the club set a then Southern League record by winning 14 successive league matches.

Further progress

Subsequent re-organisation of the upper divisions of non-league football saw County take their place in the inaugural season of Conference South, one of the two feeder divisions into the Conference.

Newport County established Hartridge Football Academy in partnership with Newport City Council and the club has a youth development programme with around 50 students. The team competes in the South West Counties League and in the 2001-02 season County's youngsters won the English Schools' Football Association under-19 Trophy. In the 2004-05 season they won the FAW Youth Cup. A number of the Academy graduates have progressed to the senior squad.

In the 2001-02 season, Newport reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, drawing Second Division side Blackpool. Holding them to a 2-2 draw away, [3] the home game was drawn 1-1 at the end of normal time, forcing extra time, during which Blackpool scored three times without reply. [4]

In the 2002-03 season, Newport reached the final of the FAW Premier Cup beating Swansea City and Cardiff City along the way before crashing 6-1 in the final against Wrexham.

In the 2006-07 season, Newport again reached the first round proper of the FA Cup but lost 3-1 to fellow Welsh side Swansea City in a spirited effort in which they outplayed Swansea throughout the second half. In the same season, Newport reached the final of the FAW Premier Cup for the second time since the competition's creation, beating Wrexham along the way but losing 1-0 to TNS in the final. 2006-07 also saw an improvement in league form by Newport with the team consistently in the top half of the league and challenging for a playoff place (top 5), having one of the best home records in the league. In the end, Newport finished just one position below the playoffs after losing 2-1 to Cambridge City on the final day of the season.

In the 2007-08 season, Newport won what may be the last-ever FAW Premier Cup beating Llanelli 1-0 in the final. For the second consecutive season a last-day defeat prevented County reaching the Conference South playoffs. On Sunday 27 April 2008, Peter Beadle was sacked as club manager.

On Sunday 18 May 2008, Dean Holdsworth left his post as manager of Redbridge to take up the manager's position at Newport County. After an initial poor start to the first season under Holdsworth, Newport improved in the second half of the season to finish 10th in the league for the 2008-09 season.

Return to the Conference

Newport were league leaders in September of the 2009–10 season, and won the league title in March 2010 after beating Havant and Waterlooville 2-0 at Newport Stadium. The win made them the first team in the English football leagues to achieve promotion in the 2009-10 season,[5] and they will start 2010–11 in the Conference National.


See also: List of Newport County A.F.C. records and statistics and Newport County A.F.C. seasons


  • Record Attendance: Somerton Park: 24,268 vs. Cardiff City, 16 October 1937 (Football League Third Division South); Newport Stadium: 4,616 vs. Swansea City, 11 November 2006 (FA Cup 1st round).
  • Record League victory: 10-0 vs. Merthyr Town, 10 April 1930 (Football League Third Division South).
  • Record FA Cup victory: 7-0 vs. Woking, 24 November 1928.
  • Record League Cup victory: 6-0 (8-1 aggregate) vs. Exeter City, 14 September 1982.
  • Record European Cup Winners' Cup victory: 6-0 vs. Haugar (Norway), 4 November 1980.
  • Record League defeat: 0-13 vs. Newcastle United, 5 October 1946 (Football League Second Division).
  • Record FA Cup defeat: 1-8 vs. Brighton & Hove Albion, 19 September 1955.
  • Record League Cup defeat: 0-5 vs. Swansea City, 15 August 1978.
  • FA Cup progress: Fifth round (last 16) defeat 3-2 after extra-time vs. Portsmouth, 12 February 1949.
  • Year Formed: 1912 (reformed 1919, 1945, 1989).
  • Previous Names: 1912 Newport & Monmouth County A.F.C, Newport County A.F.C; 1989 Newport A.F.C; 1999 Newport County A.F.C.
  • Previous Grounds: Somerton Park, until 1991.

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Wales GK Keiron Blackburn
England GK Glyn Thompson
England DF Paul Bignot
Wales DF Paul Cochlin
England DF Jamie Collins
Wales DF Martyn Giles
Wales DF Chris Todd (on loan from Torquay United)
England DF Gary Warren Captain sports.svg
Japan MF Takumi Ake
No. Position Player
England MF Charlie Henry
Wales MF Ricky Manship
England MF Scott Rogers
England MF Danny Rose
England MF Wayne Turk
England FW Stuart Douglas (on loan from Bath City)
Republic of Ireland FW Sam Foley
Wales FW Kerry Morgan (on loan from Swansea City)
England FW Craig Reid

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Wales DF Gary Colborne (at Clevedon Town)
Wales DF Matt Smith (at Cinderford Town)
Wales MF Nathan Davies (at Weymouth)
England FW Dave Gilroy (at Bath City)
No. Position Player
Wales MF Kris Leek (at Merthyr Tydfil)
England MF Josh Hartrick (at Haverfordwest County)
Wales FW Scott Armitage (at Merthyr Tydfil)

Notable former players

See also Category:Newport County A.F.C. players

Players with international caps in bold.

Players with over 200 Football League appearances for Newport County


Players with over 100 Football League appearances for Newport County


Other Notable former players

Inclusion criteria: Attained international caps or is notable for a specific reason.


* On the list of Football League 100 Legends, a list of "100 legendary football players" produced by The Football League in 1998, to celebrate the 100th season of League football.

Former managers

See also Category:Newport County A.F.C. managers

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Portsmouth 3 Newport 2". British Pathe. 1949-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  2. ^ Jerry Sherman interview
  3. ^ Blackpool v Newport County
  4. ^ Newport County v Blackpool
  5. ^ South Wales Argus. "Michael Pearlman says: Just unforgettable". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  6. ^ 1980 Welsh Cup


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