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🔎 The Opposition: Newport County (H)

Tyler Chudley takes an in-depth look at Boxing Day's opponents

23 December 2019

It’s the Boxing Day fixture at St James Park, as City face Newport County, looking to make it six games unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two.

Here is all that you will need to know about Thursday’s opponents…

  • Year Founded: 1912 (Reformed in 1989)
  • Nickname: The Exiles
  • Major Honours: Conference South: 2010-11, Third Division (South): 1938-39, Hellenic League: 1989-90, Southern League: 1994-95, Welsh Cup: 1979-80, 

Newport County were originally founded in 1912 but suffered greatly with financial problems which lead to the original club going out of business in 1989.

Despite the folding of the club, fans banded together and formed Newport AFC, who later changed the name to Newport County AFC, which was a combination of the new name and old name of the previous club.

Newport have spent the majority of their history in the lower leagues since their reformation as they were placed into Hellenic League. They won the Hellenic League at the first time of asking and played their football in the Southern League between 1990 and 2004.

After the reformation of the Football League in 2004, Newport were placed in the Conference South, following their fairly successful spell in the Southern Leagues. Initially, The Exiles struggled in the Conference South, after achieving back to back 18th placed finishes in 2005 and 2006. However, in 2010, the club won the Conference South after achieving an impressive 103 points tally, where they scored 93 goals.

They wouldn’t last long in the Conference, as in 2012, County gained promotion to the Football League via the playoffs, after beating fellow Welsh team Wrexham in the final. After the pain of losing their original club, the Exiles had proved the doubters wrong, and were back in the Football League. While they are yet to progress further, they managed to achieve a play-off final last season, but suffered an extra-time defeat to Tranmere Rovers, who won the game 1-0.

The Manager

Michael Flynn

The man at the helm of The Exiles is Newport born and bred. Michael Flynn is very much a highly regarded manager by many. The Welshman was the mastermind behind Newport’s great escape in 2017 following what looked like certain relegation for the Amber Army.

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He started his career at Newport and had spells at a variety of different Welsh and English football league clubs, including the likes of Blackpool, Gillingham and Huddersfield. In his 420 games, he managed to score 75 goals from the midfield. He started his managerial career at Undy Athletic, who currently play their football in the lower divisions of Welsh Football, where he was in a player-manager role.

He was appointed caretaker manager of Newport in March 2017, following the sacking of Graham Westley. After his appointment as caretaker manager, Newport were eleven points away from safety, with only two months left in the season.

Whilst it almost seemed impossible, The Exiles stunned the league by surviving on the last day of the season in the most dramatic of ways. Unsurprisingly, on the 9th May 2017, Michael Flynn was appointed as permanent manager after signing an initial two year deal.

The Ground

  • Name: Rodney Parade
  • Capacity: 7850
  • Year Opened: 1877
  • Address: Rodney Parade, Rodney Road, Newport, NP19 0UU

Constructed in 1877, Rodney Parade is the main stadium in Newport that is served for footballing and rugby purposes. It is currently the second oldest stadium in the Football League as of 2019, just behind Preston North End’s ground of Deepdale, which was built in 1875.

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Whilst Newport play here, and have done since 2012, the ground is owned by the Welsh Rugby Union who also own fellow tenants Newport Gwent Dragons. In the past, Newport Bowls Club have been a tenant at Rodney Parade, as well as cricket teams and athletic teams as well.

There are also currently four courts that are used by the Newport Squash Club, who were formed in 1968. The record attendance at Rodney Parade, stands at 9,836 which is more than max capacity. This is due to the addition of extra seating, which was installed when Newport faced off against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. In the League however, the record attendance stands at just below capacity, at 7,326 when Newport pulled off that great escape in 2017 against Notts County.

One to Watch

Padraig Amond (9 Goals 2 Assists)

Irishman Amond started his career at Shamrock Rovers, where he made 62 appearances between the years of 1999 and 2006. In 2010, he joined Sligo Rovers, where he scored an impressive 17 goals in 27 games.

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After a stint in Portugal for Pacos de Ferreira, he ventured into the Football League, playing for a variety of teams, such as Accrington, Morecambe, Grimsby, Hartlepool and finally, in the 2017 he joined The Exiles where he has scored 32 goals in 107 appearances.

After breaking into the Republic of Ireland youth set up in 2008, making four appearances, Amond finally received a call up to the senior ROI team in 2019, following a successful campaign which made him stand out amongst others. In terms of personal accolades, Amond was announced in the National League team of the season, following his contributions to Grimsby Town’s promotion to the Football League in 2016.

That season he also won Grimsby’s player of the year, marking the 2015-16 season as one of his best in his career.

Season so far

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Most recent meetings

Newport County 0 Exeter City 2 | October 8, 2019 – EFL Trophy Group E

Exeter City leave Rodney Parade with three points, following two goals from Matt Jay in the EFL Trophy Group Stage.


Newport County 1 Exeter City 1 | September 21, 2019 – EFL Sky Bet League 2

An early goal from Lee Martin wasn’t enough to take the three points, as a penalty from former Grecian Tristian Abrahams in the second half denies maximum points for the Grecians.

Head to Head

  • Exeter City wins: 43
  • Draws: 36
  • Newport County wins: 45

Ticket News

The match is proving popular, and is a great way to spend Boxing Day with the family. There are roughly 40 seats left at St James Park (as of 11am on Monday, December 23), so we advise you book early to avoid missing out if you want to sit.

Tickets are on sale at advance prices until 1pm in person on Tuesday, December 24 so you can save time and money, and pick your seat in advance. Click here to book online.

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