Airbus Broughton

Post code:
CH4 0DR
Contact:
ehannah19@btinternet.com
Web site:
Short name:
Air
   Manager
Andy Thomas
ANDREW Thomas stepped into the managerial seat with the Wingmakers after the departure of Andy Preece in August 2016. Chester-born Thomas is a former Airbus player who has been a part of the coaching set-up since 2007 and acted as Preece's assistant from July 2015. A right-sided player, Thomas began his career as a trainee with Wrexham and played in the European Cup Winners' Cup in season 1995/96 against FC Petrolul Ploiesti. He turned professional in August 1996 but failed to make any further first team appearances and was released in 1997. He went on to enjpy a long Welsh Premier career, first joining Connah's Quay Nomads before moving to Cwmbran Town in the 1999/2000 season, but played just twice before returning to the Nomads.  In 2001 he joined Newtown, moving to Airbus and, at the end of his first season, won the Cymru Alliance and with it promotion to the WPL. Thomas made a total of 152 (+30) league appearances, scoring five goals. Works in the Airbus plant as a skilled fitter on the A320 production line

 

HISTORY  Founded  1946
WITH changes in the factory name the football team has followed suit, being known at various times as Vickers-Armstrong, de Havilands, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, BAe Systems and Airbus UK. The club is now firmly established as Airbus UK Broughton and, until the end of the 2003/04 season, played its football in the Huws-Gray Fitlock Cymru Alliance, the second tier of the Welsh soccer pyramid.

The club was formed 1946 and has played in both Chester & District League and the Welsh National League (Wrexham area). Their last move, into the Welsh pyramid system, saw them canter to the Welsh National League (Wrexham area) Division Two title during the 1991/92 season winning it by a clear nineteen points from Gresford Athletic Reserves. In that season they won 28 of their 34 matches and scored a remarkable 130 goals, an average of almost four goals per game. They also reached the NEWFA Challenge Cup final losing narrowly to Gresford Athletic.

They then spent four seasons in Division One, the first two seasons finishing sixth then, in third season, two places better in fourth. Season 1995/96 saw a further promotion, finishing runners-up behind Wrexham Colts at the end of the campaign: enough to see them move into the Premier Division of the Welsh National League along with the divisional champions.

Once again they spent four seasons at that level, the first two witnessing steady consolidation, finishing seventh and sixth respectively. In 1998/99, the side pushed hard for the championship but could only finish runners-up once again, a mere two points behind eventual champions Corwen Amateurs.

At last, in 1999/2000, British Aerospace went one better and won the title with 21 victories from thirty matches, finishing their programme four points ahead of Ruthin Town and Penycae. This success meant promotion once again, into the Cymru Alliance league and to coincide with the promotion the club changed its name from British Aerospace to Airbus UK.

Their first season in the Cymru Alliance was something of a struggle, eventually finishing in a creditable eleventh place with ten wins and fourteen defeats. Unfortunately, the campaign was badly affected by the outbreak of ‘foot and mouth’ disease which disrupted much of life in Wales.

Continuing the pattern seen after previous promotions, the second term saw a steady improvement and in the 2001/02 Airbus UK finished in eighth spot with sixteen wins. The club was clearly ambitious and again showed signs of progress in the 2002/03 season, achieving their highest ever finish of fifth spot in the Cymru Alliance and reaching the NEWFA Challenge Cup final, losing narrowly on penalties.

2003/04 was tremendously successful when Airbus UK took the Cymru Alliance title with considerable ease, winning it by nineteen clear points from closest rivals Buckley Town, and thus gained promotion to the national competition, the Welsh Premier.

‘The Wingmakers’ as they are known carried out steady improvements to their ground sited just inside the massive Airbus Works in Broughton, near Chester. A new stand was built with a pavilion incorporating changing rooms being completed early in 2004 and this year another impressive stand has been constructed on the opposite side of the ground. The pitch has been enclosed and is surrounded by hard standing. Floodlights were installed in time for the beginning of the 2004/05 season in the Welsh Premier League.

In 1992, the club introduced a reserve side which still operates in the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area), and is well established in Division One, winning the Division One Cup in both 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons.

The first two seasons in the Welsh Premier League were a bit of a struggle as Airbus UK came to terms with the higher standards. The club battled hard to avoid relegation and appointed the former Wrexham midfielder Gareth Owen as player-manager following two seasons at nearby Connah’s Quay Nomads.

Performances have gradually improved and The Wingmakers finished 12th in 2006/07 earning a spot in the FAW Premier Cup for the first time. Last season was the club’s best-ever in the Welsh Premier as eleven victories and 42 points saw them finish in 11th place.

Gareth Owen moved to Rhyl during the 2008 close season and the former Middlesbrough player Craig Harrison took over the managerial reins having previously been assistant to Owen at The Airfield.

However, after three and a half years, Harrison moved on to TNS and was replaced by Andy Preece as director of football.

The new management team of Preece and ex-Football League defender Andy Morrison led the club to a Welsh Cup semi-final and seventh place in the WPL after their first half season in charge. But, in the following campaign, the Wingmakers finished in a highest-ever second place to qualify for Europe for the first time in their history.

Preece and Morrison repeated the success the following season, again finishing in the runners-up spot and qualifying for another Europa League campaign, where the Wingmakers were narrowly beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Norwegian full-timers FK Haugesund.

In 2014, the playing surface at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium was converted to synthetic 3G and Airbus went on to secure European football for a third consecutive season, losing on aggregate to NK Lokomotiva Zagreb of Croatia, securing a creditable 2-2 draw in the away leg.

In 2015/16, the Wingmakers ended the season in sixth place, defeated 1-0 in the Europa League play-off final but reached the Welsh Cup final for the first time in the club’s history.

Preece departed just days before the next campaign to be replaced by ex-Airbus defender Andrew Thomas and Airbus finished adrift of the pack and were relegated back to the Huws Gray Alliance after 14 seasons in the top flight.

LEAGUE RECORD

Season Pos Pl W D L F Ags Gd Pts
2003/4 1 32 27 4 1 88 31 57 85
2002/3 5 32 17 5 10 70 50 20 56
2001/2 8 34 16 6 12 55 55 0 54
2000/1 11 31 10 7 14 54 63 −9 37
Total   129 70 22 37 267 199 77 232

Name Played matches Yellow Card Goal Red Card Subs Position
6 2 1 0 Defender
7 0 0 0 Defender
7 0 0 0 Defender
7 0 1 0 Defender
1 0 0 0 Defender
1 0 0 0 Defender
1 1 0 0 Defender
6 0 0 0 Defender
7 0 0 0 Goalkeeper
6 0 1 0 Midfield
5 0 2 0 Midfield
7 1 1 0 Midfield
7 0 2 0 Midfield
2 0 0 0 Midfield
0 0 0 0 Midfield
3 0 0 0 Midfield
6 0 0 0 Midfield
5 0 8 0 Striker
7 0 1 0 Striker
0 0 0 0 Striker
6 0 0 0 Striker
0 0 1 0 Striker
0 0 0 0 Striker