Friday, August 14, 2009

14 August 2003 - The Club That United Two Nations

On 14 August 2003, UEFA ratified the merger of Total Network Solutions FC with neighboring Oswestry Town FC, a combination notable for the fact that the two teams were separated by the border between England and Wales.

Total Network Solutions FC was formed in 1959 as Llansantffraid FC in the Welsh border village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. They played in the lower Welsh leagues until 1993, when they earned promotion to the League of Wales. In 1996, Total Network Solutions, a computer company located in the nearby English town of Oswestry, negotiated a sponsorship by which the club was renamed to "Total Network Solutions Llansantffraid FC." The original name was dropped completely in 1997, so that the club became Total Network Solutions FC, the first time a club in the UK was named solely after its sponsor.

In 2003, the club merged with Oswestry Town, who, despite being located in England, also played in the League of Wales. UEFA initially opposed the merger for combining clubs from different countries, but eventually consented. The merged club retained the Total Network Solutions name and colors, but used Oswestry's colors for its away kit.

In 2006, the club's sponsor was bought out by British Telecom, who ended the sponsorship. The club then changed its name to the New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid F.C., or "The New Saints" for short.

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