Lovell's Athletic was formed in 1918 by George Lovell, owner of a sweet business in Newport. They played in a variety of leagues - including the Western, Southern and Welsh - until they were disbanded in 1969 following the sale of the business.

Lovells joined the Western Football League in 1923 and won the title twice, including their inaugural season. In 1927-28 they beat Newport County in the Welsh Cup 1-0.

In 1930 they left the Southern League and the first-team took up the reserves' place in the Welsh Football League. Lovell's did enter a second side in The Football Combination for one season only (193031), but finished rock bottom of the inaugural Second Division with 15 points from their 26 games. Teams in that league included the likes of AFC Bournemouth, Bristol City, Norwich City, Peterborough United. In 1934 they inflicted a still record defeat on Llanelli AFC winning 12-0 at Lovell's Rexville ground on Boxing Day.

During World War II, Newport County did not field a team as Somerton Park was commandeered for the war effort, so Lovell's were the premier team in Newport for that period. It is the North Second Championship of 1942/43 that makes particularly impressive reading with Lovell's in second place behind Liverpool but ahead of Man City, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Man United.

North Second Championship (December 26, 1942 to May 1, 1943)

1. Liverpool FC 20 15 2 3 64-32 32
2. Lovell's Athletic FC 20 11 5 4 63-32 27
3. Manchester City FC 19 11 5 3 43-24 27
4. Aston Villa FC 20 13 1 6 44-30 27
5. Sheffield Wednesday FC 20 9 8 3 43-26 26
6. Manchester United FC 19 11 3 5 52-26 25

The Toffee-men became champions of the Football League West in 1942/3 and 1943/4,thrashing the likes of Swansea 9-0, Bristol City 6-0, and Cardiff City 8-4.

Lovell's returned to the Southern League fold in 1947, whilst continuing to play in the Welsh Football League, but left again in 1959 after finishing in the relegation zone of the North West Division. They played in the Welsh League until disbandment in 1969. In the 194546 season, they reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup, losing 123 on aggregate in a two-legged match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, having defeated Bournemouth of the Football League Third Division South in the First Round 64 on aggregate. The match was notable for being the debut for Wolves of the great Billy Wright, then aged 17.

Following the 194748 season the club applied for election to the Football League, along with nine other non-league teams. However the two Third Division South teams seeking re-election, Norwich City and Brighton & Hove Albion, were both re-elected. By way of consolation they beat Shrewsbury Town 3-0 to win the Welsh Cup in Wrexham.

In 1955-56 they reached round 1 of the FA Cup being beaten 7-1 by Leyton Orient. in 1958-59 they lost out in the Welsh Cup Final to Cardiff City by 2-0 at Somerton Park.

In their 43-year existence they were Welsh League champions six times, Southern League champions and Welsh Cup winners. The old Rexville ground is now a housing estate named "The Turnstiles"

The map left shows the ground to be near the site of the new Sainsburys store. Rexville was a compact ground with a capacity of 10,000.


HONOURS... WARTIME FOOTBALL LEAGUE (WESTERN REGIONAL) CHAMPIONS 1940/41 1941/42... FOOTBALL LEAGUE WEST CHAMPIONS 1942/43 1943/44... SOUTHERN LEAGUE (WEST) CHAMPIONS 1939/40...WESTERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 1923/24...WESTERN LEAGUE DIV 1 CHAMPIONS 1938/39...WELSH LEAGUE (SOUTH) DIV 1 CHAMPIONS 1931/32 1937/38 1938/39 1945/46 1946/47 1965/66... PREMIER DIV CHAMPIONS 1965/66...WELSH CUP WINNERS 1947/48 RUNNERS UP 1958/59...WELSH AMATEUR CUP WINNERS 1925/26 1926/27 1927/28 1953/54...MON SENIOR CUP WINNERS 1929/30 1930/31 1936/37 1937/38 1938/39 1946/47 1948/49 1949/50 1951/52 1954/55...SOUTH WALES & MON CUP WINNERS 1930/31 1934/35 1936/37 1948/49 1954/55

An article by ex-player James Griffin