Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The New Saints




TNS were formed from a merger between Welsh club Llansatffraid and Oswestry Town in 2003, both clubs have separate teams operating independently at much lower levels than the Welsh Premier League that TNS is frequently near or at the top of.

TNS originally stood for Total Network Solutions, but when they were taken over in 2006 by British Telecom the sponsorship came to an end. They finally settled on the name of The New Saints, as it allowed them to keep their initials, but also as Llansatffraid's nickname was the Saints and St.Oswald has strong roots with Oswestry: or at least they say, it seems that Llansatffraid have always had the upper hand in this relationship. It should also be noted that the club wear the green and white of Llansatffraid, although they play across the border in Oswestry. This is not surprising though, as it was the chance of European football that the original Llansatffraid offered that led to the sponsorship deal, and Oswestry, an English club in the Welsh League had always had a somewhat chequered history and were on the verge of financial ruin when the sponsorship deal went through.

The old TNS badge pictured is the exact same as the Llansatffraid badge with the green cross symbolising the Saints, as in the nickname and the red dragon of Wales.

If we look at the Oswestry badge it appears to be a rather aggressive English lion looking at a very small Welsh dragon from the East, but maybe I'm reading too much into it. It is interesting to notice though that the badge has nothing in common with the coat of arms of St.Oswald or Oswestry itself.

The TNS name, as in Total Network solutions first appeared in 199 when Llansatffraid reached the European Cup Winners Cup first round where they went out to Polish opposition. They were the first British team to be named after their sponsors, although the trend has tended to burgeon in the welsh league especially. Two of their biggest European games have been against Manchester City in 2003 and Liverpool in 2006.

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