CCB Centre For Sporting Excellence
Black and White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Red and White Halved Shirts, White shorts, Red Socks
CCB Centre For Sporting Excellence, Hengoed
A BRIEF HISTORY OF RISCA UNITED A.F.C.
The club came into being in 1946 when a few local sides UNITED to form the new club, they played at Ty-Isaf Park in the Monmouthshire Senior League, where after early success they joined the Welsh Football League in the 1951/52 season playing in the 2nd. Division East until 1961 before having to drop back into County Football due to financial reasons. Their highest position during those 10 years was 5th. In the 2nd. Division.
The club have always been known as “The Cuckoos”, in keeping with the legend of the Risca Cuckoo.
In the summer of 1965 Risca United almost folded due to a lack of funds/committee members but were ”taken over” at the 11th. hour by Fernlea A.F.C., a Risca based, Newport & District League side, who actually shared Ty-Isaf Park with Risca United. For a few seasons the “new” club struggled in the lower reaches of Division One of the Mon. Senior League but always managed to avoid relegation.
Gradually we strengthened on and off the field and Risca United began its “Golden Era” in the early 70`s. During that decade “The Cuckoos” strung together an incredible 13 honours including 3 consecutive League and Cup doubles, 3 championships, and were Challenge Cup Win-ners for 5 consecutive seasons. The 3 consecutive League & Cup doubles had never been achieved previously and was recognized by the Mon. Senior League in presenting the club with a one off trophy that still proudly sits in the trophy cabinet.
The “Golden Era” continued into the `80`s as more silverware was added including the Gwent Senior Cup, The Gwent Amateur Cup and yet another League and Cup double in 1988/89. besides twice being League runners-up and runners up twice in the Gwent Amateur Cup. Follow-ing these achievements the club wanted to fulfil its motto, “Progress” and re-joined the Welsh Football League in 1990/91, they were Divi-sion 3 runners-up in that first season and then spent three seasons in the 2nd. Division before winning promotion in 1994/95 to the Welsh League 1st. Division. Risca United had two seasons in the top flight of the League before slipping back down through the divisions. Their highest placing in Division 1 being 11th. in 1995/96.
In 1995 The Cuckoos reached the 4th round of the Welsh Cup and played at Ninian Park against a full strength Cardiff City in front of 1,200 spectators, for an hour the score remained 0-0 but eventually the “Bluebirds” ran out 4-0 winners. In 2001 the club took part in a two hour BBC Wales TV football drama, “Score”. Filming lasted a week at Ty-Isaf Park where some TV stars, including, Sue Johnston (Brookside & The Royale Family), Eve Tyler (Belonging & Torchwood) rubbed shoulders with “The Cuckoos”. Some of the clubs players even took part in filming at Elland Road in front of 40,000 Leeds United fans !
In 2003/2004 Risca United were again in the limelight as BBC Wales filmed their historic 2-1 defeat of Barry Town at Jenner Park in the Welsh Cup, at the time Barry Town were the Welsh Cup Holders and reigning Champions of the Welsh Premier League.
The “Cuckoos” are a an ambitious club and are one of the few clubs in the Welsh Football League that actually lease their ground, being nine years into a 20 year lease from Caerphilly County Borough Council. Under the guidance of Player/Manager Paul Michael a 3rd. place finish in 2013/14 secured promotion to the 2nd. Division after a spell of 13 seasons in the 3rd. Division. That was followed in 2014/15 with a second successive promotion when 3rd. place in Division 2 was achieved on the last day of the season with a 5-1 defeat of A.F.C. Llwydcoed, the last game in an incredible 13 match unbeaten run.
In 2014/15 the club set up an Academy for young players between 10 and 16 years and straight away were granted F.A.W. Accredited Academy status.
That first year was a huge success at all age levels but pride of place went to our under 12`s who completed their F.A.W. Academy League (South) Fixtures unbeaten and finished top. In the All Wales Play Off Final held at Latham Park, Newtown we beat Bala Town 5-1 to become Welsh Champions in our very first season. All of that augers well for the clubs future.
Risca United in one way, have become victims of their own success, the consecutive promotions in 2013/14 and 2014/15 saw the Cuckoos back in the top flight of the Welsh Football League after 18 years but with the F.A.W. determined that all clubs in the 1st. Division have Grounds that qualify for a Tier Two Licence by the end of 2017 (then changed to 2018), it meant that we had to move from our humble sur-roundings in Risca to the new Council owned, Centre for Sporting Excellence at Ystrad Mynach. It meant that 1st. Division/Welsh Premier Development/Academy games would be played there whilst the club`s other sides would continue to use Ty-Isaf Park in Risca.
The pitch at Ystrad Mynach is a synthetic 3G standard with facilities second to none. The club finished the 2015/16 season in it`s highest ever Welsh League position, after a difficult start finishing 10th to ensure a second season in the top flight. We knew it would be tough against established clubs at that level and after early success in 2016/17 when we were actually top after five unbeaten games, the bubble burst. We went on a losing streak and by November 2016 were struggling, worse followed as Player/Manager of six years, Paul Michael left to Manage in the English Southern League. Simon Berry took over but his tremendous efforts failed to get us out of trouble as too many play-ers either followed Paul Michael or left for other clubs. There was no way out and we were duly relegated back to the second division in May 2017.
“Bezzo” has remained in charge for our attempt to regain top flight status at the first attempt, he worked hard during the summer to bring in new faces to work alongside 4/5 of last seasons players. Together they will give it everything, playing in the Welsh League top division is our initial aim and then we`ll see where that takes us.
CCB Centre For Sporting Excellence
9 Caerphilly Road
Experienced 30 year old Sam Palmer. Midfielder. Born Hereford. Spent over ten years playing for Monmouth Town where he consistently produced performances that never let anyone down. Happy on either flank or centrally, Now living in Caerphilly, Sam transferred to us over Christmas 2017 and will be a great addition to our squad for the second half of season 2017/18.
Centre Back: 18 year old from Merthyr Tydfil who joins us on loan from Cardiff City where he is a contracted Academy player. A soildly built young man who made his debut in our opening fixture against some very experienced Briton Ferry players. Had an outstanding start to his loan spell. He certainly knows what its all about ! Shane is comfortable on the ball and fitted in well with our style of play. Great things are expected of him having made such a start.
Striker: A 17 year old native of South Africa who is contracted to Cardiff City and is on loan to us until the end of the year. Aidan was included in our squad for our opening fixture at Briton Ferry and came off the bench during the second half. He showed in his limited time on the pitch why Cardiff City have him, he`s very quick and doesn`t mind helping out defensively which is a great attribute for a striker. Like his Bluebird team mate Shane Parry we look forward to Aidan helping us out during his loan period and showing us all what he can do in senior football.
Tom transferred to us from Newport Civil Service in November 2015 when his Dad, Simon joined us as our Assistant Manager. Tom had been an important part of Simon`s all conquering Monmouth Town Youth side who stolled to the Welsh League Youth title in 2014/2015.
A 20 year old Newport boy who can play anywhere on the pitch including as a stand in `keeper ! Young "Bezzo" has great feet, a powerful shot and works hard all over the pitch no matter what his position. His versitality perhaps works against him sometimes, as we saw last season when he played in various positions.
This season in our pre season games he has already shown that shedding a bit of weight has helped him sharpen up and his regular goal scoring, (some have been real class), will provide senior "Bezzo" with much food for thought.
Jordan signed for us mid way through last season having transferred from Undy Athletic. A Newport boy who is a reliable and sound defender who was previously with Newport County Academy. He became a regular in our side after his transfer. First Division football last season will hopefully have given him more experience and will stand him in good stead this season.
Jordan fitted in quickly last season with his new team mates and has shown up well in our pre season games with some of the new faces.
Just turned 18, Jak has stayed with us this season after making huge progress last season at Youth and Reserve levels. A classy mid-fielder who lives in Hengoed he`s already shown in pre season friendlies that he will be an important squad player. His and our hope is that he`ll develope further this season and could break into the first team.
27 year old local boy "Clayts" re-signed in the summer after some concern that other clubs would steal him away! He almost signed for Cwmbran Celtic but last seasons Captain and Player of the Year made the right decision in the end.
He`s made himself a 1st. team fixture during his 7 years with us and is fast becoming a Risca United legend. A Maths teacher by trade, who is perpetual motion in our mid-field with a great engine who leads others by example. Lets hope he can get his numbers right this season.
24 year old Local boy Lewis has finally made the step up from Gwent County football. A left sided player either at Left Back, Left Wing back or an out and out left winger. Plenty of pace and trickery with an eye for goal and a great appetite for tracking back when needed. Former Manager/Coach Paul Michael tried a few years ago to recruit Lewis from A.C. Pontymister but it`s been down to Simon Berry to succeed where Paul failed.
Although Lewis signed in the summer of 2017 he got injured in a pre season friendly and missed almost all of the season, transferred back to A.C. Pontymister at the end of 2017/18 to get a few games under his belt before working hard this summer in rediness for 2018/19 with us. Has made an eye catching start in pre-season games, back to full fitness now it`s like having a new player.
26 year old mid-fielder Tom, although a Risca boy is now living down west but that hasn`t stopped him signing this summer. Along with Lewis Davies has finally made the move from A.C. Pontymister to us. Another one that former Manager/Coach Paul Michael tried hard to get a few seasons ago and another that Simon Berry finally did the trick.
In pre seson games has already shown what a great addition he`s going to be. Recently married but by the time the season starts will be raring to go. Tom will find the step up is no problem to a player with his skill.
25 year old local boy Josh is a quiet lad who missed all of last season (2016/17) having been a regular for us in our promtion seasons. Decided to take a year out last season. A very good defender who can play anywhere across the back four, probably suited better in the middle.
Now back with us and looking forward to regaining his place in the starting X1. In pre-season matches he`s looked very comfortable. Great to have him back.
24 year old Lewis is an Ebbw Vale boy who signed this summer (2017). The wide right mid-fielder played for Abergavenny Town last season and is a welcome addition to our squad. In pre season games he has already shown us what a good player he is.
Lewis chips in with scoring goals and his crosses from out wide and set pieces will surely help others to get on the end of things. AS a new addition he`s another who has quickly fitted in well with his new team mates.
18 year old Mid-fielder Cole has been with us a few seasons, developed through our Academy and now a regular in our Welsh Premier Development side. Cole is an elegant mid-fielder who scores regularly and will be looking to develop further by playing ar Senior level this season.
21 year old Striker signed from Trethomas Bluebirds on 3rd. Jan. 2018. Tom comes with a huge reputation of being a prolific goal scorer. Made his debut on Jan. 4th. 2018 against Division Two leaders Abergavenny Town in a 1-1 draw. Yet to open his account for us but everyone expects him to get amongst the golas soon.
Tom is a native of Newport but now living in Risca. 30 year old goalkeeper who first played for us 10 years ago when former Manager Paul Michael signed him from Bridgend Street. Almost immediately Tom suffered an horrendous broken leg during a Welsh Trophy game for us in North Wales against Llanwrst. Serving in the R.A.F. helped him along the long road to recovery, when he did return to us his R.A.F service meant a long stint in the Falklands.
Has since played at Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran Celtic and more recently at Chepstow Town. Transferred to us in September 2017 and will push our other `keepers for the 1st. team gloves. Tom`s father Phil also played for us many years ago as did older brother John.
Just turned 18 (Nov. 2018) Chris is a tall, elegant defender who has a great touch which helps him make the game look easy. Sometimes looks a bit casual when on the ball but thats his style. Has progressed through our Academy and is a regular playing in our Under 19`s Welsh Premier Development side. Last season Chris was called upon for 1st. team duty and came of the bench to give an excellent performance.
Ist. team games have been a bit harder to come by for him this season (2018/19) but if he continues to develop he will be a 1st. team regular pretty soon.
Callum is a 20 year old mid-fielder who played for the Monmouth Town Youth side that won the Welsh League Youth title in 2015/16. Joined us at the start of 2016/17 and soon became a fixture in the 1st. team that was relegated back to the 2nd. division in May 2017.
Spent a time away from the game but has just returned to us, signing in January 2018. He`ll be a great addition to the squad.
Mitch, a 22 year old mid-fielder hails from Monmouth and made the switch from the Kingfishers in July 2018. He now joins his older brother Sam in our side. A player with great touch, a football brain and a tireless worker in the engine house of mid-field.
Played for Monmouth Town with great distinction and is a wonderful capture for us, we are expecting a lot from him and we consider ourselves lucky to have obtained his signature having fought off competition from several other clubs.
17 year old from Bassaleg who has been with the club for a few seasons, has come through our Academy and played Senior football for the Reserves during 2017/18 scoring regularly. A Quick, ball playing wide man Ben has stood out in pre-season (2018/19). I`m in no doubt that he`ll make his first team debut this season.
Ben has a big future with us, at 17 he will of course feature in our Welsh Premier Development side and Welsh League Youth sides as well as making the step up to senior football.
17 year old mid-fielder, a product of our Academy. Jordan has been a regular this season in our Welsh Premier Development side and played in some Senior pre season games where he showed enough to be given his 1st. team debut at the start of 2018/19. His continuing development is essential for him to become a future 1st. team regular.
A 16 year old defender who joined us in the sumer after being released by Newport County. Solidly built and loves a tackle he has quickly adapted to the way we want to play. Can play anywhere across the defence but prefers playing at Centre Back. Lewis is a regular in our Under 19`s Welsh Premier Development side but has already been called up to play in the 1st. team, a couple of appearances off the bench has given him an interest in Senior football and he`ll be hoping to get more senior games this season.
17 year old Mid-fielder, product of our Academy. Leon is a regular starter in our Welsh League Under 19`s youth team and has played in our Welsh Premier Development side and played in the senior side coming off the bench recently. Still developing as a youth player and is one that the club will look forward to as he gains valuable senior experience.
Elliott is a 20 yaer old English lad from Bristol. He transferred to us on 17th. October from Cariff Met. Uni. where he had been a 1st. team squad member but was the regular Centre Back in their Reserve side. Joining us he`s looking to face sterner opposition in the 2nd. Division so that he can challenge his obvious ability. A big, strong defender who relishes the physical side of the game, he`s commanding in the air and in the tackle.
Elliott showed in his Risca debut that he reads the game well and can distribute accurately whether long and short. He`s a great addition to our squad and has already struck up a partnership with Shane Parry.
Our most recent signing (27th. Nov. 2018). Arthur Furness originates from Brighton but presently a student in Cardiff University having moved there from Cardiff Met. Uni. where he was an important member of their squad. Most of his games were played for the Met. in their excellent Reserve side.
A classy right sided defender but one of those players who can play almost anywhere on the pitch. A great organiser and talker on the pitch will help his former team mate at the Met. Elliot Ripley strenghten our defence. Arthur has already bought in to the way we like to play out from the back, a great addition to our squad.
Local boy Jordan makes a welcome return (Nov.28th.2018) having spent four months at Trethomas Bluebirds. Already a mainstay of our Youth Development side he makes his return to our seniors where he played in the last two seasons.
A diminutive mid-fielder who has it all, including strong tackling despite his stature. A great reader of the game he can find team mates with his accurate use of the ball. His return will no doubt cause Manager Simon Berry some headcahes as he tries to find a place for young Jordan amongst our other mid-fielders, nice problem to have though ! Welcome back Jordan.
Experienced Goalkeeper signed in January 2019 as an emergency to stand in for regulkar `keeper Tom Chorley who is unavailable for one game. Phil was previously the `Keeper for Trethomas Bluebirds in their promotion from Gwent County footba. He played with the Bluebirds in the Welsh League before joining us to become Assistant Manager of our Welsh League Youth side in 2018/19 season.
The right build for a `keeper and knows what it`s all about.