Think of Chirk and coal and football come to mind.

The colliery unearthed more than coal during the 1880s with the village home to a generation of football stars.

Between 1886 and 1894, Chirk were winners of the Welsh Cup on no fewer than five occasions and would become one of the pioneers of the game in Wales.

The man behind the success was T.E. Thomas, headmaster at Chirk School and a man reputed to have introduced 49 future Welsh internationals to the game.

The early Chirk teams were mainly composed of miners from the two now closed village coal mines and were known as the Colliers then as they are today.

Like all Welsh villages the local football club often fielded members of the same family.

Chirk was no different with the Morris and Owen brothers featuring in their early success.

However Chirk also had the Meredith’s.

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Billy Meredith.

Billy and Sam would both become heroes of Chirk and the national team.

Billy was considered one of the early superstars of football due to his performances, notably for Manchester City and Manchester United.

He won each domestic trophy in the English Football League and gained 48 caps for Wales, scoring 11 goals and winning two British Home Championship titles.

He moved to Manchester United in 1906 after being banned for bribing Aston Villa half-back Alex Leake £10 to lose a match in one of the great controversies of the day.

Meredith went on to help found the Players’ Football Association (PFA) and returned to Manchester City in 1921 at the age of 47 and played a further 32 games before retiring in 1924, making him the oldest ever player for City, United and Wales

Older brother Sam is often forgotten in the shadow of his younger brother but he also enjoyed a professional career at Stoke City between 1901 and 1904 and earned eight Welsh caps.

Chirk’s other Welsh football family was the Jones’.

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Di Jones.

Di Jones had been born in Trefonen in 1867 and signed for Chirk in 1883, helping the club to the Welsh Cup.

The defender was destined to enjoy a successful career for club and country with a decade at Bolton Wanderers from 1888 to 1898 and five years at Manchester City before his death in 1902 from blood poisoning.

Among the bereaved was his nephew Lot who had just signed for Manchester City after impressing for Chirk where he was born in 1882.

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Lot Jones.

Jones made 281 appearances in a 16 year career at Maine Road also emulated his uncle in playing for Wales 20 times, scoring six goals.

Jones was one of only six City players left on the pitch in a famous 4-1 defeat at Arsenal in 1906 when heat exhaustion had ravaged the ranks.

He had spells at Wrexham and Aberdare Athletic before ending career with his beloved Chirk in 1921 and died in the village in 1941.