HotTakes.Pro profiles European football clubs: Cardiff Metropolitan University F.C.
Editor’s note: This is a series of posts profiling popular European football clubs. These posts are predominately geared towards an American audience that may not be as familiar with the sport. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about any mistakes/misrepresentations. All statistics are as of publishing date.
Name: Cardiff Metropolitan University Football Club
Nickname: The Archers
Grounds: Cyncoed Campus
Based in: Cardiff, Wales
Manager: Dr. Wayne Allison
League: Welsh Premier League
2016/2017 Finish: 6th
Continental competitions: None
Cardiff Metropolitan University F.C. was founded in 2000, but the club’s legacy actually goes back to the first half of the 20th century. The club has always represented a university, and the name has changed to reflect institutional changes over the years. The Archers were founded as Cardiff College of Education F.C. They have also been known as South Glamorgan Institute F.C. (1979), Cardiff Institute of Higher Education F.C. (1990), UWIC (1996), UWIC Inter Cardiff F.C. (2000), & UWIC (2009) before adopting their current name.
The Cardiff Metropolitan University club made its first Welsh Cup appearance in 1964, and remained in amateur leagues until gaining promotion to the Welsh Football League Division One in 1997. The Archers were founding members of the League of Wales in 2000, but faced relegation the same year. The club regained its first division status in 2016, and made a run at one of the league’s Europa League qualifying spots.
The club’s success in Wales’ top division is incredible considering that all of the players are students. Cardiff Metropolitan University F.C. is the only amateur squad in the Welsh Premier League, and the players actually pay a £150 subscription each season to participate. The subscriptions go towards the club’s annual budget.
Due to pressure from nations that questioned Wales fielding a national team in UEFA competitions, the Welsh Premier League was formed in 1992 to provide a true top-level league. Swansea City, Cardiff City, & Wrexham were the only Welsh members of the Football League at the time, and so the Welsh FA decided to allow them to remain in the English football pyramid. A bitter dispute arose between the Welsh FA & the Welsh non-Football League clubs that wished to remain: Bangor City, Barry Town, Caernarfon Town, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, Newtown, & Rhyl. Most of this group of eight clubs eventually gave in and joined, but Newport County, Colwyn Bay, & Methyr Town remain in the English FA to this day.