HAVERFORDWEST Football Club was formed on 7th December 1899 and changed the name, early in its history, to Haverfordwest Town. Most of the team's fixtures in those early days were friendly matches, but the club gained membership of the Pembrokeshire League before the First World War.
Indeed, they remain members of the Pembrokeshire League to this day, fielding their reserve side, but the senior team moved up to the Welsh Football League in 1936. A name change was implemented at the same time and they became known as Haverfordwest Athletic.
The format of the Welsh League has changed on numerous occasions during the past sixty years, and Haverfordwest Athletic remained in the lower reaches until 1955/56 when they won the First Division title and gained promotion to the Premier Division. That same season, The Bluebirds played First Division Cardiff City in the Welsh Cup and held the professionals to a 3-3 draw. The following season, the team won the Welsh League title, with the legendary Stan Richards starring in the side.
It was at this point in their history that the present name of Haverfordwest County was adopted. The town, by ancient charter, holds ‘County' status and permission was given for the club's title to reflect this. In the 1960-61 season, Haverfordwest won the Welsh League Challenge Cup, and for the fifth time were West Wales Cup finalists.
County remained in the Premier Division, finishing as runners-up in 1969-70 and 1970-71, until a disastrous 1975/76 season saw them relegated, back to the First Division, after winning only four league matches all term.
The club just missed out on success for the following two seasons but, at the third attempt, comfortably won promotion to the top flight once more. A highly successful 1980/81 season enabled County to take the championship in their first year back, losing only five games. It was this season that they won the West Wales Senior Cup for the first time. To date the club have lifted the trophy a total of six times.
In 1983, the League was restructured and the ‘National Division' created as a sort of premiership for the better-qualified clubs. Haverfordwest were an obvious choice thanks to their administration, the excellent facilities at Bridge Meadow and the club's playing record.
In the nine years existence of the National Division, Haverfordwest County only once finished outside a top six position, but the championship eluded them. This was not so much a failure of their own, but down to the overwhelming strength of Barry Town during that period. As soon as Barry Town moved into English non-league soccer, so County took the title in 1989/90.
Whilst members of the top division, County won the League Challenge Cup on two occasions. In 1961 they defeated Llanelli and, in 1988/89, they triumphed 3-0 over a strong Barry Town team in the final at Ebbw Vale's ground. County's pedigree during the 1980s made them prime candidates for membership of the League of Wales in 1992/93 and they proudly took their place. In that first season, they finished comfortably in mid-table and consolidated their status the following season.
At this point in 1994, however, other influences came to bear. An offer to buy their Bridge Meadow ground, the club's home since the very early days, had come from the Safeway Supermarket chain. This offer included the construction of a new ground and, looking to the future, County decided this was the way to go. The offer was accepted but, initially, this left the club without a suitable ground on which to play League of Wales matches.
Reluctantly, Haverfordwest resigned from the League and rejoined the Welsh League (the second tier of the pyramid system). Taking the long-term view, the decision has been fully vindicated. County have an excellent new stadium, the New Bridge Meadow, and enjoyed three seasons back in the Welsh League in which they were twice runners-up and, in 1996/97, deserved champions.
Those three years brought seventy league victories and only 16 defeats in over a century of matches. Each season County notched more than a hundred league goals (335 in total!) and, by the time they rejoined the League of Wales in August 1997, the club was well set to continue where they had left off.
1997/98 was a difficult term for Haverfordwest County, and relegation was being accepted following a run of twelve games up to Easter in which they failed to register a victory. That all changed with a 2-1 home win against Connah's Quay Nomads (who had only lost one of their previous 15 league matches). Further successes as the 1997/98 season drew to a close - against Rhyl 2-0 and Bangor City 2-1, both away from home - ensured safety.
The following season began brightly as, based on the goalscoring achievements of Paul Burrows and Richard Gay, Haverfordwest challenged the early-season league leaders. Successive victories by 7-2, 2-0 and 5-2, thanks to a couple of hat-tricks from Gay, put County in fourth place, though a slump was to follow. Nevertheless, the team performed well enough to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
Placed 15th in 1999/2000, County improved to finish 10th the following season. As in the previous term, 16 different players scored in the league for County that year. The next campaign was not without its problems for The Bluebirds, both on and off the pitch, not helped by the fact that 59 different players were fielded in the league alone.
During the summer, the former Norwich City and Wrexham defender Deryn Brace was appointed player-manager with a policy of developing local players Despite finishing the season next to bottom, County retained League of Wales membership as no team was promoted from the Welsh League.
Season 2002/3 saw some improvement, but in 2003/4 the Bluebirds became the surprise package of the league, finishing in third place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. They also went close to repeating the feat in 2004/5, eventually finishing fourth in the Welsh Premier.
However, a cash crisis in 2005/6 saw the departure of several keys players. A new administration aimed at rescuing the Club from extinction began their task in January 2006 and the club stabilised its position to finish eighth in the league.
A poor start to the 2006/07 season saw manager Deryn Brace step down at the beginning of October. He was replaced by former Manchester United and Cardiff City defender Derek Brazil who guided a young side to a mid-table position at the end of his first season in charge.
In Brazil's second season at the Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest County improved to eighth in the league, scoring more goals than in any season other than their first in the Welsh Premier League, and in the following season finished 7th on goal difference, whilst keeping 10 clean sheets during the campaign.
Over the past few years the Directors of Haverfordwest County AFC Limited, a company that was formed in June 2006, have managed to engage new sponsors and much help from local businesses. The financial situation at the club is now healthy and the erection of a new stand was completed in time for the 2009-10 season.