Chirk fans turn out as Wales begins first World Cup campaign for more than half a century

The Chirk AAA social club was packed with Welsh football fans as their team’s first World Cup campaign for 64 years got under way.

Some of the fans at Chirk AAA
Some of the fans at Chirk AAA

Huge Welsh flags adorned the club as it became an official fan zone in a link up with Focus Wales.

Popular band Campfire Social, whose lead singer Carrie comes from the border town, provided the musical warm-up for fans before the match got under way. Club steward Suzanne Newell said it was great to be part of the fan zone events.

Father and son Ian and Owen Jones

One of the few who remembers Wales’ last appearance at the World Cup, cheering them on again, was 76-year old Mike (Fred) Riley. “I remember going round to my nan’s to watch it on her TV – black and white of course,” he said.

Four of the AAA club’s members flew out to Qatar to cheer on Wales including John Riley.

His wife, Sarah, said: “The four of them are staying in Dubai and flying in for the games. They are part of the Red Wall and John goes to every single Wales game. We have Red Wall season tickets.”

Club steward, Suzanne Newell, said Focus Wales was organising music at fan zons throughout the cup.

“They are a really good band,” she said.

Entire families turned out to enjoy the atmosphere of watching the game together which ended in a 1-1 draw. They included footballing siblings nine-year-old Faye Evans and 14-year-old Dan, watching with their Dad, Ian.

Faye plays for the Wrexham schoolgirls team while Dan is one of the many Chirk Youth team at the club watching. “Chirk Youth haven’t lost a game this season,” he said.

The fans in the club stood for the Welsh anthem singing at the tops of their voices along with the players and supporters in Qatar.

But the excitement turned to nerves as the game kicked off.Older father and son duo, Ian and Owen Jones, said: “We’ve waited so many years for this and it’s brilliant to come here and watch it together.”

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