With Wales’ team having finally qualified for a major international tournament for the first time since 1958, S4C is broadcasting a six-part TV series about the history of Welsh football.
Stori Pêl-droed Cymru kicks off on Tuesday, October 20 (9.30pm, English subtitles available), just ten days after Wales qualifying for Euro 2016.
Falling at the final hurdle has been the story of Wales’ football team with the exception of their success in reaching the final rounds of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden when Wales lost in the quarter finals to Brazil with a 17 year old Pelé scoring his first World Cup goal.
But series’ presenter, author and avid football fan Dewi Prysor says, “Thinking about the way we got to Sweden in 1958, some people say we used up half a century’s worth of luck in the process.
“Considering what we’ve been through since, it would be easy to agree because, as every Wales’ supporter knows, despite the dramatic victories and the thrilling campaigns, ‘almost there’ has been the story every time. We’ve drowned so often near the shore.”
Although Wales didn’t win their way through directly to the 1958 World Cup final rounds, they got a second chance when Arabian teams pulled out refusing to play Israel. Wales beat Israel twice in a two-leg further qualifier and in Sweden they made it through the group stage to the quarter finals.
The first programme in Stori Pêl-droed Cymru takes us all the way back to the formation of the Welsh Football Association at a meeting in the Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Wrexham in 1876 and the key role played by solicitor and footballer, Llewelyn Kenrick who advertised in The Field magazine for players to form the first Wales national football team.
Dewi Prysor also tells the stories of disappointment as Wales failed to qualify for four major tournaments – the World Cup in Argentina in 1978, Spain in 1982 and the USA in 1994 and Euro 2004 in Portugal.
Euros Wyn, producer of Stori Pêl-droed Cymru, said, “After so many disappointments, it’s great that followers of the Wales team can celebrate at last. The present team is among the best ever to play for Wales and they have the skills and talent to make a big impression in France next year. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better finale for our series Stori Pêl-droed Cymru.”