• rsz_airbus_50th_years_anniversary_formation_flight_-_air_to_air
    Stock Code:
    Business Type:
    Date Founded:
    Guillaume Faury
    Headquarters Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Key Product Lines:
    Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380

Multi-national European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is a large and diverse company, with over 130,000 employees on its books as of 2020. It is best known for its production of airliners, but it also has other divisions such as Helicopters and Defence & Space. There is even a football team that bears the company's name, whose stadium is situated adjacent to its Broughton factory.

A long-standing factory team

The football team in question is known as Airbus UK Broughton FC. It plays its home matches at the southern end of the Airbus factory in Broughton, Wales. This site is adjacent to Hawarden Airport, and thus the team's stadium is known as The Airfield. However, under current sponsorship, it bears the name of the Hollingsworth Group. Since 2014, it has had a synthetic '3G' pitch surface.

The team has been in existence since 1946, long before the formation of Airbus. In its early years, it functioned as the works team for the tenants of the adjacent factory, initially Vickers-Armstrong. In the years that followed, users of the site have included BAE Systems, British Aerospace, de Havilland, and Hawker Siddeley.

The site at Broughton dates back even further, having been established in 1939 to support wartime aircraft production. The airfield also began life at around this time as RAF Hawarden. It remains active today, with Airbus's Beluga and BelugaXL freighters often visiting to transport the wings produced there to Toulouse.

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The glory years

The team has spent much of its life playing regionally and plying its trade in the lower divisions of the Welsh football league system. However, in 2000, the same time as it took on its Airbus UK identity, the side won promotion to the second-tier Cymru Alliance. After four years of playing at this level, Airbus UK won another promotion to the top-tier Welsh Premier League.

After a difficult start to life in Welsh football's top division, Airbus UK began to establish themselves as a competitive side. In 2007, it was renamed again, taking on its present Airbus UK Broughton FC moniker. It retains a strong connection to Airbus, with an A380 appearing on its badge, as seen in the tweet above. Rather aptly, the club's nickname is also 'the wingmakers.'

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The 2010s marked a particularly glorious era for the team, whose stadium floodlights are retractable owing to the rare proximity of an active airfield to the playing surface. Airbus UK came 2nd in the Welsh Premier twice during this time, as well as reaching the Welsh Cup final in 2016. The side even played in the UEFA Europa League for three straight years, owing to their domestic success.

Bouncing back

In recent years, Airbus UK has not enjoyed such success. The team was relegated in 2017, although it regained its top-flight status two years later. Another relegation followed, but the club stayed optimistic. It stated last year that "we are now hoping the 2021/22 season will see the Wingmakers bounce back to the Cymru Premier division under the guidance of manager Steve O'Shaughnessy."

As it happens, this is exactly what occurred, with Airbus UK winning the league by nine points, with 72 points from 28 games. It kicked off its most recent tenure in the Welsh top flight against Aberystwyth Town at The Airfield. It set a concerning tone for the club as Airbus UK lost that particular fixture 2-1.

The wingmakers were hoping to soar to new heights as the season progressed. However, it, unfortunately, finished bottom of the Cymru Premier table and was relegated back to Cymru North. The team's most recent fixture was a 5-0 loss away at Colwyn Bay in the Welsh League Cup second round.

Broughton will play the first game of the new season on Tuesday. They will travel Buckley Town, hoping for a solid start to aid in their return to the top flight.

Airbus also holds an innovative engineering and design facility in Filton, South Gloucestershire. Just last month, it opened an innovative wing technology development center here. The company expresses that the site will play major part in its Wings of Tomorrow program, which is primed to assist in ambitious net-zero goals.

Still, Airbus' Broughton site remains an integral site for the company's operations. With such a strong local presence, affiliation with the local football team is a great way to stay connected on the ground.

Were you aware of Airbus UK Broughton FC? Perhaps you've even seen 'the wingmakers' play? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Source: Airbus UK Broughton FC