Ground: Y Traeth
Capacity: 2000 (500 seated)
Admission: £6 adult (£5 members), £3 OAP (£2.50 members), 50p child under-16
Porthmadog, known locally as Port, is a small coastal town in the Dwyfor locality within Gwynedd in North Wales. It is traditionally part of Caernarfonshire. It has a population of 4,187 (2001 census).
Porthmadog came into existence after William Madocks built a long seawall, called the Cob, to reclaim a large proportion of the Traeth Mawr from the sea for agricultural use. The town was called Portmadoc until 1974, when it was renamed to the equivalent Welsh spelling and pronunciation. The origin of its name is much debated, while some claim that the town is named after its founder Madocks, others say it was called after Ynys Madoc (Madoc Island) in the Glaslyn Estuary and its famous resident Madog ap Owain Gwynedd, a prince who, according to legend, travelled to the Americas 300 years before Columbus.
Located on the Irish Sea coast, Porthmadog has a small harbour where ships used to load with slate carried on the many local narrow gauge railways that terminated there. These included the Croesor Tramway, Ffestiniog Railway, Gorseddau Tramway, and Welsh Highland Railway. In the second half of the 19th century Porthmadog was a flourishing port. A number of shipbuilders were active here at this time, and were particularly well-known for the three-masted schooners known as the “Western Ocean Yachts”. Porthmadog’s role as a commercial port was effectively ended by the First World War.
Porthmadog Harbour railway station at the southern end of the High Street is the terminus of the Ffestiniog Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog) has its main station and visitor centre near the northern end of the High Street on the former Cambrian Railways sidings and close to the main line station on the Cambrian Coast Line from Pwllheli to Barmouth and Machynlleth. In 2009 the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon and Rhyd Ddu will be reopened via Beddgelert to Porthmadog and it will operate trains to the Ffestiniog Railway’s harbour station with through services from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Near Porthmadog is Portmeirion, where much of the 1960s television series The Prisoner was filmed.
Porthmadog hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1987.
A cycle route now crosses the Cob, this forming part of Lon Las Cymru, the Welsh national cycle route.
How to Get There
From Caernarfon, take 2nd left on the roundabout, towards town center.
From Pwllheli, take 3rd turning (to the right) on the roundabout towards town center.
From Blaenau Ffestinog, go towards the town center.
From all directions, opposite Woolworth turn into Snowdon Street. Continue straight ahead, past the railway crossing and the ground is on your right.
Map to The Traeth
Parking: Ample car parking at ground.
Nearest railway station: Porthmadog (0.7 miles)
CPD Porthmadog v Caernarfon Town, Sunday 8th October
First Impressions Outside
Porthmadog gave me the impression they take the security of the ground seriously. There is a 2 metre fence securing the ground, topped in most places with barbed wire, Iit is not solid however making some of the playing area clearly visible from one corner of the car park. The main turnstile entrance approach is on well surfaced tarmac road. Entry was quick and a match programme was available immediately.
First Impressions Inside
My very first impression was (as I will explain) somewhat of a bits and pieces set up; walking down the enclosed touchline one finds a well stocked club shop selling club merchandise and memorabilia. Alongside was the double fronted food bar. Both of these portacabin structures were painted in the club colours. This led to the first (and probably the original) stand. Access to this stand was a steep original step, viewing is not uninterrupted but supporting pillars are not so wide as to cause too much inconvenience. It is 3 rows deep but for anyone over 6 feet tall leg room is on the economical side. Along the same touchline there is another very small seating area just 2 rows deep with good leg room. Concluding this side is a newer stand near the open end corner flag, this also has a steep initial entry step but provides significantly better legroom.
Behind one goal is open as is the opposite touchline, but the car park end enclosure was a point of interest; there is a covered seating area running the width of the pitch which contains only what I can describe as 12 little cubicles, each containing approximately 16 seats. With a little imagination I wonder if these could be brought up to standard to provide income through some kind of hospitality as they provide a good length of the field view. Copious amounts of high visibility stewards in the ground. Excellent.
5 individual urinals and 1 toilet that is disabled friendly and a wash hand basin. Not clean however and lacking in toilet paper at 14:15, needs a lick of paint to maintain standards. I also have it from good authority the ladies WC were very well maintained.
I like imagination and that little bit extra which I felt was missing. There were no home team pen pics; reading the Caernarfon Town pen pics I turned the page and it had become Bangor City ctd, which confused me temporarily, all in all not bad for £1.20 though.
There was pre match music which was very audible, but there was NO announcement of the teams or any announcement of any kind. At this level, unfortunatley poor.
Food & Drink
The travelling supporter will not be disappointed at Y Traeth, moderately priced, hot and good size portions, and, most unusually for football grounds, good sized beverages in proper cups – top marks you caterers at Porthmadog.
No evidence of anything special, the stands in this ground and not really an option – even behind the goal the one wheelchair I saw was forced to park sideways on and caused an obstruction.
No visible signs of pitch facing hospitality boxes.
Overall Impression of Y Traeth
I think that any supporter visiting the Traeth would find that his/her attention would be drawn to the superb natural beauty of the location with Snowdonia in the background; however it is Groundhopper’s duty to comment on the boundaries of the stadium. Apart from security I ALWAYS look for the Main stand as the focal point in any ground and unfortunately this club lacks this. It is best described as a bits and pieces ground; a stand here, half a stand there etc, If a new 500 seater stand were erected and the temporary cabin-like constructions removed out of sight, Y Traeth has superb potential. On a positive note I have to say thank you to the people of Porthmadog, everyone I talked to were quite superb.
Ground review from the Groundhopper section of the official Welsh Premier league site.
Rivals: Bangor City, Cemaes Bay, Caernarfon, Holyhead Hotspur, Llangefni
Porthmadog F.C. was formed in 1884, although records of football being played in the town go back at least five years before that. The club eventually graduated into the North Wales Coast League and were champions at the first attempt in 1902/03 and runners-up to Bangor in each of the following two seasons, before resigning during the 1906/07 term.
Further spells in the North Wales Coast League after the first world war and in the Welsh National League (North) Division Two (West) during the 1920s, led to the club becoming members of the Welsh League (North) upon its inauguration for the 1935/36 season. Porthmadog won the championship in 1937/38 and, altogether, enjoyed a total of 47 seasons in the league until the formation of the Welsh football pyramid at the start of the 1990s.
Having lost the Welsh Amateur Cup final to Buckley Engineers in 1905/06, Porthmadog had to wait half a century before their name was engraved upon the trophy. In 1955/56, however, the club took the cup by defeating Peritus in the final played at Farrar Road, Bangor. Twelve months later, the cup was theirs again, thanks to a 5-2 victory over Druids in a replay but, in 1957/58, they were defeated in the final by the famous 55th RA Tonfannau.
The 1956/57 season also witnessed Porthmadog gaining the North Wales Amateur Cup, beating Buckley Wanderers at Llandudno, though they lost in the final of the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup to Caernarfon Town. This was one of five defeats suffered in the final of this particular trophy between 1935 and 1972, although Porthmadog have since put the record straight by winning the NWC Challenge Cup in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1997 and 2003!
During the summer of 1965, Porthmadog made the footballing headlines in North Wales as they abandoned their amateur policy and signed several well-known professional footballers, including the famous Welsh international Mel Charles (brother of John). This was a well-publicised attempt to attract support to both the club and to the game of soccer in the area.
In the season that followed, 1965/66, Porthmadog finished second in the Welsh League (North) behind Caernarfon Town, reached the final of the Cookson Cup and won the Alves Cup, beating Rhyl in the final. The club also progressed to the quarterfinal of the Welsh Cup. For each of the following three seasons, however, the championship was taken as the team won 76 of their 92 league fixtures during this purple period and scored a massive 338 goals.
The 1970s was a decade of unprecedented glory for the club as they became Welsh League (North) champions again in 1974/75 and 1975/76 and were runners-up on two other occasions. In addition to the North Wales Challenge Cup wins mentioned previously, Porth also won the Cookson Cup twice, the Ansells Cup three times and the Barritt Cup.
Following those halcyon days, the club had to wait until 1989/90 for their next league title when they won the Welsh League (North) – by now re-titled Daily Post Welsh Alliance – pipping Bangor City Reserves by three points in a nail-biting struggle. Porthmadog became founder members of the Cymru Alliance in 1990 and the League of Wales two years later. Porthmadog performed creditably in the national league, averaging a finishing position of 12th over the first five seasons. It was 1997/98 that proved their undoing, however, when four teams were relegated and Porth were dragged into the quartet following a poor run of form towards the end of the season.
Nevertheless, after five seasons, Porthmadog are back in the Welsh Premier League following a superb 2002/03 campaign when they lifted the Cymru Alliance title by 19 points, scoring 106 goals in the process. And the club readily consolidated its position in the first season back in the top flight, under manager Viv Williams.
Cymru Alliance League champions: 2002-03
Cymru Alliance League Cup winners: 1998-99, 2002-03
Welsh League Cup winners: 1936-37, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-68, 1974-75, 1975-76, 1989-90
Welsh Amateur Cup winners: 1955-56, 1956-57
North Wales Coast Challenge Cup winners: 1973-74, 1974-75, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1996-97, 2002-03
The Traeth, Porthmadog, LL49 9PP
Tel: 01766 514687