Bala’s early history is not well documented but first memories are of a team in the early 1880’s playing games on the Lake foreshore. After Bala formed 2 teams, Bala North End and Bala South End who competed until 1897 when a team called Bala Thursdays was formed and played on Castle Park (the present cricket field). The Bala Press Team was established then in the 1900’s and became one of the best amateur sides in North Wales winning many trophies including the Dolgellau Cup and Cambrian Coast League (no dates are available). The local Bragdy Cup was first played for by local teams in the early 1930’s and this competition is still alive and flourishing today.
The first available League status record is of Bala playing in the Welsh National League North Division 2 East in 1921/22 Season – no further league records are to hand. Bala were still playing at Castle Park where one of the most epic games in the Club’s history was played in 1946 against Shrewsbury Town of the English Midland League in the 4th round of the Welsh Senior Cup. Bala held their illustrious opponents to a 1-1 draw.
In the early 50’s Bala then moved to the adjacent Maes Tegid where they have been ever since and played in the Welsh National League Wrexham Area from 1950-54. They rejoined the Cambrian Coast League in 1954 and were League Runners-up in 1957/58. They had a treble winning season in 1958/59 winning League, Cup and Mid Wales Cup. They were again runners up in 1960/61 before being Champions again in 1962/63.
The Club then re-entered the Welsh National League Wrexham Area in 1963/64 and were ever present in that League until promotion to the Cymru Alliance in 2004. Bala were Division 2 Champions in 1967/68 and were promoted to Division 1 for the 1968/69 season. They remained in the top division for 20 years until relegated in 1987/88 season. By now Division 1 had been re-named the Premier Division therefore Bala were again in Division 1 after relegation. They won the Division 1 Championship in 1989/90 but after promotion to the Premier League were relegated back after 1990/91 and further dropped to Division 2 in 1992/93 when the Reserves Team folded due to lack of support.
They were promoted to Division 1 for 1995/96 Season and won the Division 1 Championship in 1997/98 to be promoted to the Premier Division where they remained until Colin Caton’s arrival at the beginning of the 2003/04 season – a season which culminated in Bala Town being crowned Premier Division Champions in his debut season in charge at the club which signalled promotion to the Cymru Alliance League for 2004/05 season. Bala also won the NEWFA Challenge Cup in 2003-04 with an extra time victory over Buckley Town at Cefn Druids.
In their first season in the Cymru Alliance 2004/05 the club finished in a very creditable 4th place, reached the Quarter Final of the Welsh Senior Cup after epic wins against Ton Pentre and Welshpool, were losing finalists against Buckley Town in the NEWFA Challenge Cup Final held at the Racecourse, Wrexham, and won the Cymru Alliance League Cup against Penrhyncoch. The Youth Team also reached the Semi-Final of the Welsh Youth Cup. A momentous year for the Maes Tegid club under the managerial guidance of Colin Caton.
The club finished in 7th position in the Cymru Alliance 2005/06 and lost on penalties in the Final of the League Cup to League Champions Glantraeth. The Reserves however had a momentous double winning season as Champions of Div 2 WNL Wrexham area and also winning the League Cup.
Floodlights were installed for the 2006/07 season (upgraded to exceed 500 lux in 2009/10). 2006/07 also saw the impressive development of Maes Tegid facilities with the installation of 300 seats, (a further upgrade to 500+ also occurred last season). The Management team of Colin Caton and Steve Crompton also remained in place and the club had high hopes of further success. As it transpired the club recorded its best ever season thus far in 2006/07 by 3 winning trophies and 2 runners up spots. The NEWFA Challenge Cup was won at the Racecourse Ground Wrexham in an exciting final against Gresford and the Cymru Alliance League Cup was won at Llandudno against Holyhead. The club also finished in second place in the Cymru Alliance League failing by a narrow 2 point margin to gain promotion to the League of Wales. The Reserve team did equally well. They achieved back to back championships by winning the Welsh National League Wrexham Area Division 1 Championship and were also runners up in the League Cup Final losing in extra time to Overton. As earlier mentioned that season also saw further impressive development of Maes Tegid facilities with the installation of floodlights, new seated spectator stands, a behind the goal spectator shelter, entrance turnstiles and hardstanding around the whole pitch perimeter.
Following the previous season of great success in 2006/7 it was always going to be difficult to replicate those achievements but 2007/8 proved equally successful both on and off the field. The ”Lakesiders” were defending 2 prestigious cup competitions and remarkably retained both when winning the NEWFA Challenge Cup at the Racecourse, Wrexham with a 2-1 victory over gap Queens Park and repeating the scoreline against the same team at Prestatyn to secure the Cymru Alliance League Cup. These cup successes were complemented with another successive 2nd place in the Cymru Alliance League, missing out on promotion this time to Prestatyn Town. Such a record of silverware was a tremendous achievement for Colin Caton and his team with a club that was relatively small in comparison to opponents faced in the 2nd tier of Welsh Football. The Reserve team also had an excellent season and produced further silverware for the club when they captured the Welsh National League Wrexham Area Division 1 League Cup. They also finished in 3rd place in their league to round off another superb season for Andrew Parry and his youngsters.
However, in 2008-09 the club finally achieved promotion to the Welsh Premier League after two 2nd place finishes. They were crowned Huws Gray Cymru Alliance League Champions without kicking a ball as their nearest rivals Holyhead Hotspur lost heavily at home to Flint Town United on the last day of the season and to rub salt in Holyhead’s wounds we beat the same opponents at Llandudno FC to secure the League Cup for an unprecedented fourth time in five seasons. The Reserves were crowned Wrexham Area Reserves Division League Champions and League Cup Winners. Over the following close season further ground improvements were undertaken with the full enclosure of the Town End, the seat and light enhancements, the construction of a Media Centre, the complete overhaul and extension of the dressing rooms, the enclosure of the referee’s room, a medical centre and the provision of a club office which enabled the club to achieve the much coveted Domestic Licence to be able to compete at the top level of Welsh football. This season was a culmination of a record of rise from the lowest depths of the Welsh Pyramid fifteen years earlier to the top league in Wales, with so much silverware won along the way – a tremendous achievement for Colin Caton and the club as a whole.
2009-10, the club’s first season in the Welsh Premier was a big learning curve and in any other season a finishing position of 11th amongst the 18 top clubs in Wales would have been a massive achievement. However the fly in the ointment was the decision by the Welsh Premier League committee to reduce the league to 12 clubs and therefore immediate relegation was seemingly inevitable – however it was deemed the feeder leagues promoted clubs were unable to reach the criteria to receive the Domestic Licence to achieve promotion and Bala Town took their place among the elite ‘Super 12’ for the 2010-11 season.
If we thought 2009-10 was a baptism of fire it was nothing compared to 2010-11 and a poor set of early results saw us fighting to remain out of the two relegation spots for most of the season. When the league split into two after the New Year we battled gamely but by the narrowest of margins finished again in 11th place (and once again in a relegation spot) but as fate would have it one of the feeder league winners was again denied a promotion spot and therefore we proudly took our place again with renewed vigour for our third season in the top league tier in Wales.
The 2011-12 season, was however much better and saw further progress with the Lakesiders finishing a record 5th place in their 3rd season in the Welsh Premier League. Town didn’t drop out of the top 6 all season and cemented 5th position deservedly. They progressed into the newly formed ‘European Playoffs’ and faced Prestatyn Town in the Semi Finals. A 2-1 home win saw Colin Caton’s men reach the final where they travelled to Llanelli AFC. 90 minutes away from Europe but narrowly missed out on a European place as Andy Legg’s men won 2-1.
During this season captain Mark Jones won the Daily Post’s WPL Player of the Year award, was named in the WPL Team of the Year and scooped up the Welsh Premier League’s Player of the Year award which showed Town’s progression yet again.
Another record breaking and history making season followed in 2012-13. Colin Caton took charge of this 10th season with the Lakesiders and passed the 400 match in charge milestone in February.
The campaign was very mixed as Town slipped into the Playoff Conference early on and were playing catchup for the rest of the first half of the season. After the split the Lakesiders ran away with 7th place and yet again were in the Playoff spots after a 10 match unbeaten and winning run.
A 1-0 win against 8th place Connah’s Quay in the Quarter Finals and then a convincing 4-2 away win against Bangor City saw Bala back in the Playoff Final for the second succession and extend their run to 12 games unbeaten.
But this time the outcome was different as a John Irving 89th minute winner against Port Talbot Town secured a European place for Bala Town for the first time in their history and finish the season with a record breaking 13 unbeaten matches.
The Europa League draw on the 24th June saw us drawn against FC Levadia Tallinn of Estonia. The European adventure into the unknown saw us win the first leg at home by one goal to nil before losing 3-1 away to go out on aggregate by 3 goals to 2. This is hopefully just the start to the next chapter for Bala Town Football Club and we can have further European matches in the forthcoming seasons.
After our European adventure it was back to the 2013/14 league campaign but it was a sluggish start which saw the Lakesiders pick up only 7 points from the first 3 months of the season. The results in ‘theWord’ Cup were however solid and saw Bala secure a place in the final and also a progressive improvement in League form towards the Christmas/ New Year period.
A loss on penalties in ‘theWord’ Cup saw attention full back on the second half of the league in the bottom six and pushing towards a playoff spot. Town reached the Welsh Cup Semi Final but lost 2-1 against TNS – however with Aberystwyth reaching the final and qualifying for Europe, hopes of the 7th placed finish were still alive.
Results and goals were going in Town’s favour but slipping up towards the end of the season and Aberystwyth’s domination meant the 6 point gap saw the campaign ending in 8th spot. However after Town’s slow start they still scored the 3rd highest amount of goals and conceded the 3rd least amount of goals in the league.
2014/15 saw new faces arrive at Maes Tegid with Huw Griffiths joining the Club’s management and Town’s line-up taking on a more youthful look. The season got off to a superb start with Bala firmly placed in the top three by Christmas.
A successful cup run in ‘theWord’ Cup saw them finding themselves in the final for the second successive season but sadly fall to a 3-0 defeat to TNS. By the half-season split Bala didn’t drop below 3rd position in the league as the run in to the final matches of the season approached.
Going into the final match of the season, Town sat in 2nd – were 3 points ahead of Airbus in 3rd with Bala needing a point or more against TNS. Ahead of a bumper crowd a 1-1 draw saw the Lakesiders seal 2nd spot and qualifying for the Europa League for the 2nd time in their history.
After a 3-1 loss away at FC Differdange of Luxembourg, it was all to do in the second leg but goals from Conall Murtagh and Ian Sheridan saw Bala take the lead but their hopes of a second round tie were dashed due to an injury time winner by Differdange.
The Club broke their highest points tally (59) in the Welsh Premier and their highest ever position (2nd). All in all, the best season ever for the Club.
2015/16 was another successful campaign for the Lakesiders. A successive second place finish in the Welsh Premier League after only losing 6 WPL fixtures all season saw them secure European qualification on the final day of the season. A draw against Swedish giants AIK followed but two 2-0 losses brought the end to another Europa campaign.
Unfortunately, Town had a mixed start to the season due to injuries, suspensions and no home ground due to the 3G pitch installation that opened in September. Knocked out of the Irn Bru Cup and League Cup early on, focus was on the League and Welsh Cup and by the end of the League split in January, Town were flying and secured a spot in the top 6. Bala’s good run continued and they finished 3rd in the WPL, only a point behind 2nd place Connah’s Quay.
Meanwhile, a win against Caernarfon in the Welsh Cup Semi Final saw the Lakesiders reach a Welsh Cup Final for the first time in their history. TNS were the opponents and clear favourties but an incredible second half comeback with goals from Jordan Evans and a 86th minute header from Kieran Smith saw Town pick up the prestigious Welsh Cup trophy for the first time in their proud history and automatic qualification into the Europa League for a 4th time.
2017/18 didn’t get to the bests of starts with only 8 points on the board by the start of October. There were early exits from the League and Welsh Cup but Town had an excellent 4 months in the middle of the season which saw them seal a top 6 spot by the split and then go on to end the season in fourth.