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[FM20] Bangor City - The New Italian Job

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Management History

Spoiler

 

2019-2020-----Bangor City FC-----Cymru North (Champions)-----Welsh League Cup (Quarter Final)-----Welsh Cup (2nd Round)

2020-2021-----Bangor City FC-----Welsh Premier League (finished 2nd)-----Welsh Cup (Runners Up)

2021-2022-----Bangor City FC-----Welsh Premier League (finished 2nd)-----Welsh Cup (Winners)-----Irn-Bru Cup (QuarterFinal)-----Euro Cup II (Best Placed 2ndQR)

goldmedal50x50.png.2abcc480a3b8b012d7b71e0570750cca.pngCymru North 2019/20; Welsh Cup 2021/22

image.png.f1fef2dec463809552f59ddbf5a9ebcf.pngWelsh Premier League 2020/21, 2021/22; Welsh Cup 2020/21

image.png.ffa024e97dd8b1d55fc9a274dfb69830.png

 

 

 

Introduction

"Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea"

There's a common turn of phrase in football where fans will identify their favourite team from a particular country. For example, my French team happens to be St Etienne (because I like the band). Well, when I lived in Wales for a few years around the turn of the century, I developed a fondness for Bangor City. Over the years that attachment has not gone, but I've not really kept up with them as much as I would English football. Last year I noticed they had been demoted a number of leagues with the restructuring of Welsh football. I didn't know too much about what had gone on, but with the release of FM20 I noticed Bangor City were playing in the second tier of Welsh football and I thought it would make an interesting long term save.

So I set about setting up a new save and noticed that a majority of their players are foreigners, and most of them Italians. So that covers the title. Bangor City, it seems have been taken over by an Italian-Argentinian chairman and he has imprinted his nation on his new club. Bangor had been badly run by another in a far too large group of poor chairmen, and it seems like things might have turned a corner with the arrival of Mr Domenico Serafino. In the real world he appointed a friend of his, from his life spent in Argentina, to manage the team. A certain Pedro Pasculli, who roomed with Maradona at the 1986 world cup. Bizarre, I know.

Things changed in my world. Pedro said "Bangor?" and Mr Serafino had to turn his search a little closer to home. In the end he plumped for a little known local coach. Me.

Problematically, I don't speak Italian, and three quarters of my squad are Italian. I also have a Bissau-Guinean, a Guinean, an Angolan, a Ghanaian, a Burkinabe, a Uganda, an Argentinian and a few Englishmen. Would you believe it, I even have a Welsh goalkeeper? Just the one though; I am after all in Wales. Luckily I have an Italian Director Of Football, so he'll be helping me with the languages. He's brought along his son too, and he's a reasonable young talent.

He's no owner's son though. This is Francesco Serafino; the bosses lad. He'll be leading the line this season.

Serafino.thumb.png.cbadf4d082843f690817a833aa861c27.png

Here's my entire squad:

Bangor_Squad_1.thumb.png.e23e72af7f1d2674ecb1b6e6b35c7fdd.png

Bangor_Squad_2.thumb.png.ced94f71a55c1f722239898ce2026cff.png

The board want us to gain promotion to the Premier League as champions of the Cymru North. They also want us to reach the final of the Welsh Cup.

Bangordemands.thumb.png.2b0dbeee26c0d9ae4befdbba260228be.png

It's no small ask, but we have a good squad and a few hundred to spend on wages. I could do with another full back and cover for the defensive midfielder position, but if the squad stays fit, and based on pre-season so far, we should be able to walk this league. We're predicted to finish first - in fact we're 2-5 on. We also have eight players in the media dream eleven (though bizarrely our DM is included as GK). They have Yalany Baio as the league's star player, so here is:

491503336_YalanyBaio.thumb.png.12969f580bdcac2370b939f521140a00.png

We have such a talented squad that I'm looking to play a shorter passing formation. Serafino is a natural F9, so he'll be playing deep and the aim is to get IFs and CMs forward with nice link up play. Baio will sit deep to provide a shield to the defense and allow our full backs to get forward. It's a lot more technical than I've ever played at this level of football before, but I believe we have the players to make it work. The worry is what happens if Serafino or Baio get injured. Finger's crossed.

Bangor_Main_Tactic_1920.thumb.png.33a6ddf178bfb51c8b6234fbf3c17454.png

I'm no tactical genius, so this is a work in progress.

Bangor should be a top Welsh club. Let's bring the good times back to the city of Bangor. The Italian-way.

"It's a very difficult job and the only way to get through it is we all work together as a team. And that means you do everything I say."

Further Plans

This save will hopefully be my long term save for FM20. It's not definite that I'll stay with Bangor. My aim is to improve myself and have a career. I would like to get Bangor back where they belong first though. It will take a big job to drag me away from North Wales if I've not done much with Bangor.

The disclaimer is that I'm not a fast player. I put a lot of detail in to my games and I progress slowly. I've tried to keep one of these career updates going before but speed of updates was slow and it got buried. I've not really had an aim with a club before though, like I do with Bangor, because I usually start unemployed. This is the most intriguing start I've had to an FM career for some number of years. I'm not expecting multiple updates per week though.

I also have the whole of Euope loaded, plus USA and Australia. Plenty of scope on where I end up.

The white text background near the end is because I copied a quote from elsewhere - not typing all that again and editor doesn't seem to have that option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by anagain
Added History

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August

The quality of my squad was very evident once I started to get in to the pre-season friendlies, especially in an attacking sense. Defensively we're a little light with probably not enough quality back up. It's the area I am most looking to improve, though, with the transfer window closed and prospects willing to join few in number, I might have to wait.

We dominated our pre-season games, only losing to Celtic U23s, and scored heavily in most games. The highlight was a 3-0 home win over N. Ireland Premiership team Dungannon Swifts. They're likely of a similar quality to what we could meet in the Welsh Premier, so that was a satisfying win. If I took anything negatively out of pre-season it was that this team are good, but also liable to get complacent in matches. It's a trend that would continue.

Competitively, August proved a good month, even if there were a few concerns regarding the afforementioned complacency. We dominated teams in both possession and attack, and are so dangerous in and around the box that we earned no less than four penalties; one ine ach of our four Cymru North games.

01LC1Ruthin12819.thumb.png.7af447809d54ae2660679a720244f575.png

We began with a dominant win the first round of the League Cup, with Serafino and Delvecchio in blistering form.

The Cymru North for August saw us score nine goals and concede just the one.

01CNM1Llangefni17819.thumb.png.67dc447c9762aae3aa4e70f46a0da46b.png 01CNM2Llanfair21819.thumb.png.b42ae0b724bbede26741ce6c4e764c19.png

01CNM3Gresford24819.thumb.png.558dc76de457946d435569e323cc4b2f.png 01CNM4Penrhyncoch30819.thumb.png.a151e7e34427b1a8c2c927aaf3c3d5dc.png

We've been lucky on the injury front so far, too, suffering just one injury to our young Italian keeper, Gabriele Brino. That does mean we have a Welshman on the picth in games now with Jack Atkinson between the sticks. Whether that was a significant factor in us conceding our first league goal is a good question seeing as the injury came just before our journey south to Penryncoch. Brini is out for two to five weeks so Atkinson is in goal regardless for now.

Francesco Serafino is the club's top scorer for August with seven goals from five games, even if four of them were from the spot. Player of the month for me goes to Nicholas Delvecchio for four goals in the first five games. He wasn't my initial thought for first choice winger/IF when I arrived, but a blistering end to pre-season forced me to give him the nod in the LC. His two goals in that match have given the 21 year old the edge in the pecking order so far. For a lad with one finishing and heading Nicolas is lethal in front of goal, especially with his head.

DelvecchioAug19.thumb.png.aaaf22074b219a900dfd4602759cc9ce.png

Hopefully our form continues in to September.

CNAug19.thumb.png.8520cd62cfd5c39944f463bef86a3fb3.png

Cymru North as at 21.30, Friday 30th August 2019

 

 

Edited by anagain

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12 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Christ, spot the Welshman in the Bangor squad.

It is an unusual situation. It does seem that some were playing in Wales already though. I'm not finding too many British players to replace the Italians, so unless I'm forced to change it looks like it might stay this way for a while.

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September

September showed me just how complacent my squad were. It hasn't proven fatal yet, at least not so in the Cymru North, but there were some squeaky bum moments throughout the month. I'm well aware it's comedy and not a true portrayal of all Italians, but when the Walmington On Sea platoon had to guard a prisoner of war camp full of Italians for a weekend Captain Mainwaring labelled them as "a lot of comic-opera soldiers". When my lot get a two goal lead (or sometimes even a one goal lead) they switch from wanting to play football to wanting a glass of vino and a siesta. Even Captain Mainwaring would find himself hard pressed to ease their complacency.

At the start of September, our dominating form had continued in the Cymru North against struggling Buckley. The Buckley result was particularly impressive, but was maybe the chief culprit for what became a sorry tale of complacency and disinterest in the matches to follow. We dominated the first half against Prestatyn only to seemingly lose all interest in the second half and hang on for the three points. The match against Corwen was rescued by a fantastic final ten minutes from Delvecchio (after I had shouted at the team to buck their bloody ideas up), and the final match of September was another lacklustre display rescued by two cracking goals from Serafino, but in truth we should have had the game put to bed much earlier.

01CNM5Buckley7919.thumb.png.1be2e3fc37666fef6ad8282e5b1dd1f4.png 01CNM6Prestatyn14919.thumb.png.6c84a187f808a547e3a8e9d600a08192.png

01CNM7Corwen21919.thumb.png.2b3c15431719f0aea80725bd6cbfbfea.png 01CNM8Ruthin28919.thumb.png.735302256ee41784b3c91f5f0ffd6e4f.png

We also played two rounds of the League Cup in September, and a narrow 1-0 win at last year's relegated Welsh Premier team Llandudno, was followed by our first loss of the season in the Quarter Final at Guilsfield. I made a number of changes to keep the squad fresh, but the display was seriously lacking in anything resembling passion. Guilsfield are our closest challengers in the Cymru North and a win would have given us the impetus against them in league meetings.

01LC2Llandudno4919.thumb.png.de9f490e5dcda9cc2cf4d7b98cb4d0a6.png 01LCQFGuilsfield24919.thumb.png.538afe200ea7e0c6463ddf49c35de99a.png

The chairman is not happy with defeat to Guilsfield, and our first game of October is a top of the table clash against the same team. It's a game we can't lose.

There were no consistent stand out contenders for my player of the month in September, so despite going missing from the Prestatyn and Corwen matches it has to go to Serafino for hitting a hat-trick against Buckley and rescuing the Ruthin game with two goals either side of half time.

SerafinoSep19.thumb.png.a2cded6b834a69dbdd3ae27325da2627.png

It may sound bad for me to be criticising my team so harshly when one sees the table. Eight wins out of eight is impressive, and only two goals conceded is another notch to our belts. Complacency will be punished though, and the most drastic fact shown to me by the Guilsfield cup defeat is that my backup is not of the same standard as my first teamers when they're on form. Not even close. Were Serafino to get injured then the goals might dry up. Guilsfield are playing well, and have two of the best performers in the division. It will be a tough, but must win game.

CNSept19.thumb.png.bd150d59b29c757252676ea84a1691dd.png

Cymru North as at 17.00, Saturday 28th September 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by anagain

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Really interesting back-story what with the Vaughan's being taken over by the Italians. Astonished by the number of non-Brits at the club though.

I wonder if you will get Italians through the Youth Intake? 

Speaking of which.....

 

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Yeah, I saw all that a few days back. It seems like the new board have big plans for Bangor City. I guess it is the resurrection of the club, after what the Vaughan appear to have done. 

I'll have to look again at the youth development quality in game. All we have in the youth currently is a bunch of young Italians and an English right back.

If the ultimate plans for the board are eventually going to be Europe, and they've shown themselves ambitious enough to want it within maybe four seasons, then I'm going to need more Welsh players. Old pros from the English leagues might be best, if the board let me scout England. I can scout South Wales but not England. About time SI did scout range by distance. 

Edited by anagain

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October

The boss ain't happy. Back in July he told me he wanted The Cymru North title, the League Cup and he wanted me to reach the final of the Welsh Cup. I always thought it was no small task, and October proved that. A lack of goals has proven to be the biggest issue we have faced in October, and it proved our downfall in the Welsh Cup. On a gusty day at our Nantporth ground, overlooking the Menai Straight, we met a Rhyl side in good form and they punished a lacklustre display from my boys to triumph 3-0. We were out of both cups within a fortnight, and I was staying out of Mr Serafino's way.

01WC2Rhyl51019.thumb.png.ab4847e3f4a8131344c4f06bb4c9c720.png

We were still unbeaten in the Cymru North though, right? That much was true, though our form dipped in a big way in October to see us drop our first points of the season with 0-0 draws home to second placed Guilsfield and away to Flint, a team who had started to knock on the door near the top of the table. It had been Guilsfield who'd knocked us out of the League Cup and I had really wanted to put one over on them in the league. We dominated large portions of the match, but just couldn't find the winning goal. The Flint Town match was a closer affair, and was more a story of our recent inability to hit the target when in a threatening position. Either side of these stalemates we won a tight revenge match 1-0 at home to Rhyl before meeting lower table opposition in the form of Porthmadog. We finally found our goalscoring boots in the shadow of Snowdonia, though worryingly conceded a couple of really soft goals after defensive errors.

01CNM9Guilsfield21019.thumb.png.5d4eb30dae64efe3178cb831ee5c8cb5.png 01CNM10Rhyl121019.thumb.png.2e755f0eb811296d8d92f5cf04aa681d.png

01CNM11FlintTown191019.thumb.png.d6cc694946250456f3d302ee5f0b87b1.png 01CNM12Porthmadog261019.thumb.png.b627fb8c6258df058ed8965be4abea8b.png

The most concerning trend in October is that Francesco Serafino failed to add to his twelve goal tally through the whole of the month. I had a word with him and either my words were lost in translation or he's a touchy little bugger. I had assured him I believed in his ability to get back on the scoresheet and he replied that I was putting too much pressure on his shoulders. I really need him to get back to his best though, and it may involve dropping him from his natural False Nine position. He just doesn't seem to be finding the positions he was finding before October (might be a lot to do with a big match engine patch around 14th November - my build up play since the patch is much better, but it's completely changed the positions my F9 was finding himself in. More tinkering is needed). His back ups haven't shown any great form in friendlies, so I don't think I can rely on them, but something needs to change.

Picking a Player Of The Month for October is a tough choice. In an attacking sense we have been blunt, and our midfield has not really excelled. I've decided to credit some reasonable defensive displays, aside from the cup match and the trip to Porthmadog. The award goes to our center back, Lucas Surber. Despite my assistant regularly suggesting I drop Lucas for Lennie Armstrong, the Argentinian stopper scored his first Bangor goal in the revenge win over Rhyl. I was tempted to credit right back Eugenio Dalia for two fantastic assists against Porthmadog, but he wasn't as conistent as Lucas.

914268024_LucasSurberOct19.thumb.png.bc90e3ca483588c1ab09bb425d756075.png

In good news for October, a decision was made on how Brexit would effect the world of football. It would seem we're not going to need to do a clear out of all our Italians any time soon. We might even get some more in!

BangorBrexitOct19.thumb.png.a27537058472d50c9bca1429d3d26a40.png

We have three game out of four at home in November. Let's hope we can get some form going again. We're still unbeaten, but things are very shakey.

CNOct19.thumb.png.ac6803b93aa5d47cdfa92764a1e91400.png

Cymru North as at 17.00, Saturday 26th October 2019

 

Edited by anagain

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November

The goals are back in town. November marked a complete reversal in form for us. We've gone from struggling to score to being rampant in attack. With no cup games to distract us, and a nice week's break in early November as a result of our poor cup form, we piled on the pressure in the Cymru North. A number of players have been in scintillating form. I switched Delvecchio to a more support wing role and it has brought Eugeino Dalia in to the game so much more. Our link up play down the right has resulted in a great deal of space for Dalia, and he has shown what an asset he is to the cause with a number of fantastic assists. Up front, Serafino has hit form again and managed to add another six goals to his tally in the month, with Delvecchio adding another five to his tally. Many of Delvecchio's goals have come from headers from set pieces, a fact that suggests a pleasing extra dimension to our play. Defensively we have also been strong, with the two goals we conceded this month being break away goals. We play high up the pitch, and the counter is a threat I've often tried to counter by dropping Lucas Surber a little deeper. I will note that both goals we conceded were speculative efforts and would be contenders for goal of the month. I found it hard to blame our defence.

01CNM13Conwy21119.thumb.png.55821fad6af249785a8c60f7dc92bd8f.png 01CNM14ColwynBay161119.thumb.png.168266b8ea8e96b2316f58b4ff3e752f.png

01CNM15Llanrhaeadr231119.thumb.png.18544d0e508e3afe1c177079cfbb3b6f.png 01CNM16Llangefni301119.thumb.png.e755094b7b0e6b4666f7feac7e6c2405.png

Player Of The Month has to go to Simone Rea. The rock of our back four, Simone made our great month possible with a fantastic average rating of 7.9 for November and his first goal for the club. That goal was a bullet of a free kick from just outrside the area, showing a whole other side to Simone's game.

21679772_SimoneReaNov19.thumb.png.c57ff034a44af25b770ed34e379a4588.png

We go in to December looking forward to three games against low table opposition. We're also over halfway through the season and have a nice thirteen point gap at the top of the league, along with still being unbeaten. The board remain somewhat hard to please, the big gaffer adopting a school exam style system to tell me how I'm doing. The great 3-0 win over Conwy, that kickstarted November, only merited a C+, but even my boss saw the greatness of the result over Colwyn Bay, awarding me an A+. I'm so proud, but do wonder if there might be a little remark noted that I could still do better somewhere on my report. 

CNNov19.thumb.png.968887c30b37933a2de125959dc868cc.png

Cymru North as at 17.00, Saturday 30th November 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The real-life Bangor situation looks like a FM story. I had to double check the chairman and his son and the squad situation was reality but it is!

KUTGW! 

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5 minutes ago, BirdyFC said:

The real-life Bangor situation looks like a FM story. I had to double check the chairman and his son and the squad situation was reality but it is!

KUTGW! 

To be honest, I can't see Mr Serafino Sr listed at the club in my game. I see the chairman, but not anyone separate as owner. Maybe the game doesn't show the owner, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. 

Regardless, I'm going with him being at Bangor anyway. The ingame chairman is just a local man he appointed. 

Thanks for the encouragement! I'm really rather enjoying this save. The football I'm seeing since the ME update is as realistic as anything I've seen in FM before. 

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Mid-Season Stat Blast

As I've reached the middle of the season I thought I'd post a quick mid point stat blast.

Player Stats

01Bangor_midseason_playerstats1.thumb.png.0d2880c193a0a35bea414d6e0f6a75c5.png

01Bangor_midseason_playerstats2.thumb.png.525d94a431f3f1cd05c0962f06177a0e.png

 

Cymru North Player Stats (shows just how dominant we've been)

01Bangor_midseason_CN_playerstats.thumb.png.be10d6b3dab9baefc7de5867f7996ff2.png

 

Bangor City Finances (not so good)

01Bangor_midseason_finance.thumb.png.a3f31ad306a0a3d9145c2e7e97b4f81d.png 01Bangor_budgets.png.ff1157b3f251b1ec060d61eac7958fdc.png

There is even talk of a takeover from a consortium.

01Bangor_Dectakeoversummary.thumb.png.4ec747da9aa18556933b7240309e66fa.png

Mid-season Board summary (well, monthly summary for December 1st)

01Bangor_midseason_performance_Dec1.thumb.png.16a32613877bfaf80b4015d0036ef2dd.png

Can't think of anything else.

 

 

 

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December

Another month unbeaten, but it wasn't as strong a month as November. We looked nervous throughout, and, considering we were playing lower table opposition, I expected more goals. As much as we're doing so well, it is clear my players aren't used to the big time and all the focus they're getting. The month started at home to Llandudno, a team that have been steadily falling down the table. Dismal finishing meant we slumped to a 0-0 draw. We'd had eleven shots on goal in the match and only two had been on target. Better finishing was needed, and to be fair to the lads that proved to be the outcome in the next two games.

Away to bottom placed club Llanfair we dominated the game but found our opposition resolute in defence. It took us until late in the first half to find a breakthrough, courtesy of Serafino from the spot. In the second, Lllanfair came at us more and we took advantage of them risking more to wrap up the game. I was particularly annoyed with some poor concentration near the end of the game that cost us a couple of goals. Gabriele Brino, my young Italian keeper, made a horrendous error for their first. He should have cleared an easy ball away with his feet but tried to pick it up on the edge of the box. He ran out of room and the ball trickled to their striker for an easy finish. It was yet another symbol of the complacency that plagues this squad.

The Gresford game was one of our best performances of the season. Gresford are challenging near the top of the table and showed themselves to be a good side. I'd made a number of changes in midfield because I wasn't happy with some shallow performances. We seemed a little more up for it and Delvecchio slotted home a fantastic hat-trick to win us the game. Our center back partnership of Rea and Surber were superb at the back and formed a solid base for this win.

We finished the month away to struggling Buckley and the game was one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune to witness. The finishing of both sides was bottom drawer, and it took just one moment, in which the Buckley defence switched completely off, for Emmanuel Agyemang to steel in at the back post and turn in Dalia's deep cross. No team deserved to win this horror show, but it keeps our unbeaten run going to twenty games.

01CNM17Llandudno71219.thumb.png.c2254558a0817ae011e0ad8fadd630b4.png 01CNM18Llanfair131219.thumb.png.932a2153408f1c7ab9ec79e485bcaf47.png

01CNM19Gresford211219.thumb.png.eacc8620153150b5fb399c8c7b2a5f5e.png 01CNM20Buckley281219.thumb.png.0a83d474a3c55adf307ef3e52fb4e299.png

My Player Of The Month for December goes once again to Nicolas Devlecchio. His hat-trick against Gresford was delightful and it brought attention on him from further afield with a flurry of bids for my young right winger from Italian clubs. He's certainly not going anywhere for the £0 they all offered however. I want to give a small mention to Yalany Baio who had a very good month in defensive midfield. He's one of those invisible lynchpins of a team that does so much to keep things secure without always getting the plaudits.

DelvecchioDec19.thumb.png.81d81edccc73e70755e7b9434569918b.png

The middle of December brought us news of our youth development program.

01Bangor_DecYouthIntake.thumb.png.99744f5879863149fdc1742bc6ee17d2.png

I am very interested to see if this midfield prospect is as good as my youth coaching team suggests, and whether the whole generation really is golden. Defensive midfielders are a position I am looking for, so it's worry that none are coming through. I would love a man to slot in to midfield at the end of games to solid things up, and it seems I might have to rely on the transfer market to fulfill that need. The prospects my scouts are finding have not been reassuring so far however. Finger's crossed my coaching team deliver.

 

The next two months are very quiet, with just five games across the two months. Being out of the cups has its advantages. I just hope my boss agrees come the end of the season. With a fourteen point gap at the top of the league one might be satisfied that the title is ours to lose. The big game is early February when we play second placed Guilsfield. We must put in a good solid month of January to make the gap enough of a comeback defying one that we could hiccup in the probable top of the table clash.

CNDec19.thumb.png.36b5da04945965be385f94ed71c1c152.png

Cymru North table as at 17.00, Saturday 28th December 2019.

Edited by anagain

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Thanks to your updates, I have just noticed that Colwyn Bay FC have moved 'back' to Wales after being in the English leagues.

 

Keep up the good work with Bangor. It seems like an interesting project, and the youth intake should be worth observing, at least for the nationalities.

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January

As I said last month, January was slower for matches. I was disappointed to start with a 1-1 home draw against mid table Penrhyncoch, but the fact that Guilsfield could only manage a draw that weekend meant that we were let off the hook. My new midfield wasn't working as it had done when I'd decided to swap out the underperformers. Chief of those underperformers had been Piero Cauterucci, and I decided he'd had enough time stewing to show me if he'd learnt from his time out of the side. His message to me was clear when he blasted an Agyemang lay off in to the roof of the net to complete a solid 2-0 win at Prestatyn. My players, it seemed, relish the big occaison. You'd think this bunch of Italians would not understand what the press label a rival match, but that is when they pull out the performances. A week later and we found Corwen a hard team to break down, but we finished them off late in the day, with Azizou Zoumbare scoring his first goal for the club after replacing the underperforming Serafino.

01CNM21Penrhyncoch4120.thumb.png.f879c5d46e4d84afd8facbb808d277e1.png 01CNM22Prestatyn11120.thumb.png.69fd7560750f7b8c82eac637c0ab15ef.png

01CNM23Corwen18120.thumb.png.0a903a588d4c2d41a70b8768016841db.png

Player Of The Month for January has to go to Piero Cauterucci for his manager attention grabbing return to the first team; his scorcher against Prestatyn and a crucial goal against Corwen.

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Cymru North as at 08.00, Friday 31st January 2020

Transfer Window

In other news, January was transfer window month, and my goal was to find another midfielder to booster the squad and fill the midfield stopper I have so wanted for late replacements. My Director of Football came to me at the start of the month with a number of suggestions of which one was a young Czech player by the name of Jan Havlena. On trial, I played him in a youth team friendly and he was the star performer, as well as easily being capable of the role I cherished. Unforetunately he chose Casertana in the Italian Lower Leagues.

The search continued to late in the month. A few names were offered and trials given to see if they might be the player I needed. Then, just over a week before the window closed, I got the bad news that Exeter City had offered a contract to Yalany Baio. He was out of contract at the end of the season and I immediately approached him with a new offer. He was not interested, stating that he didn't believe Bangor could match his ambitions. If anything it reassured me that he probably would have wanted to move on at the end of his contract anyway, but I can't help but wonder why I hadn't tried to secure his future earlier. I would immediately set about securing the future of my other players, but would they feel the same?

The bad news was that Francesco Serafino did feel the same. He refused a contract offer. If he is still here at the end of the season, and promotion has been guaranteed, then I'll try again. I need him in the Welsh Premier.

In the end it turned out there was very little activity in the window on our part. I did manage to find a midfielder who had something of what I was looking for in midfield, and I've decided to give him a contract until the end of the season to let him prove himself. My new Brian-Clough-lookalike is Scotsman Malcolm Melvin. He's spent time in the Welsh premier before, so I believe in him.

1612855721_MalcolmMelvinFeb20.thumb.png.3802b06e069172f7c4363dd6ff0f8b77.png

I attempted to sign a young goalkeeper who I think could make a good first choice in the next league up, but his money wants were a bit much for now. I'll look at him later and see if things have changed when we secure promotion.

Leaving the club on loan until the end of the season are youngsters Salvatore Pascarella (to Mestre) and Matteo Trinca (to Belluno). Pascarella has been on the fringes of the first team squad lately but he hasked to go out on loan and I decided to let him. Elsewhere only Yalany Baio is on his way. He heads to Exeter City, but thankfully not until the end of the season. Replacing him will be hard.

Incidentally, when checking the transfers I did notice that a lot of my squad were signed between 19th June and 1st July. I believe I chose the start of game option to begin at the earliest date for Wales, so I assume these players are in every Bangor start. Maybe not everyone will have the interesting internationally oriented start I have had. This is the first time I've actually looked at the transfers, but it makes sense to me that the new incoming director and his Italian Director Of Football pal signed a bunch of players they were aware of after so many players left Bangor under the former administration. I like the story I have, and am glad it's come out like this...even if I did mistakingly start later than the usual Wales start.

As I chose Bangor from the get go, I think it's likely those players in game at game start. I did cancel the first transfer window though.

~~~

And on to February and the big game against Guilsfield. We'll have had a nice three week break before then, and I've had a chance to refresh the squad and get fringe player's fitness up to a good level. Bring on The Gills, though we're now 20 points clear, so it will be a huge shock if they manage to deny me promotion. They've lost two games recently and it means the big game could be a dead rubber.

 

Edited by anagain

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14 minutes ago, Johnny-Trotter said:

Thanks to your updates, I have just noticed that Colwyn Bay FC have moved 'back' to Wales after being in the English leagues.

 

Keep up the good work with Bangor. It seems like an interesting project, and the youth intake should be worth observing, at least for the nationalities.

Thanks for the encouragement. It is interesting to see Colwyn Bay back playable in the base game. I had a stint as the manager of the Bay some editions of FM ago. I enjoyed my time there, though can't for the life of me recall exactly how it went.

They've managed to drag themselves away from the relegation zone in my world. I believe they were looking over their shoulders at one point.

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14 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Nailed on for promotion.

Yeah, if I bugger this up I deserve the sack... 

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February

01Bangor_CNChampions.thumb.png.f3fe06bd044d8a91b44a640b636e9ea6.png

01_BangorWinCN_news.thumb.png.f2daa4e7d359814d83d0022b2605a2f0.png

In a quiet month for games, the dream came true. The league title challenge that it's looked like we shouldn't bugger up for a few months finally got to a point at which we couldn't bugger it up! Bangor City are the first ever champions of the Cymru North...in its first ever season. Our name goes down in history.

The month started with a tight 1-0 victory over Guilsfield; the team that had been our closest challengers for quite some time. Only in the last few weeks had they started to lose matches, and they had fallen back to be level on points with Rhyl. The game wasn't a walkover, and we only secured victory with a late first half goal from Serafino. A home game versus Ruthin finished the month off for us, and a dominant 3-0 victory after The Town had a man sent off after just thirty-one minutes. It was open doors from that point on and Serafino was even able to miss a penalty.

01CNM24Guilsfield15220.thumb.png.f9118dbdf71d715ef24d5e7972b8fc64.png 01CNM25Ruthin22220.thumb.png.8fe22734e1e6a5b493de0e7ba47d1d7c.png

 

Player Of The Month for February has to go to Francesco Serafino, for two goals this month, his fourth and fifth consecutive matches he has scored in. With so few games this month it was a tight contest, but Serafino has always been there for us to pop up with the goals we needed. He even has a face now, too.

SerafinoFeb20.thumb.png.a8a7c9601fb867dc7ebd6523b460a57c.png

So just seven games left before we start the big job of updating this squad to compete in the Welsh Premier League. I hope to god that Serafino decides to stay. If not we'll need a new striker. Of course, it all comes down to the boss man. He proclaimed his joy that we won the league, but if he focuses on the cup losses then I could be out of a job. I'd be gutted to get the sack, but the wish was to win a cup. He can't be that harsh to deny me my chance in the top division. Can he?

CNFeb20.thumb.png.ab0fff0543fe7c8ccdb7cd1b8f9d59ab.png

Cymru North as at 17.00, Saturday 22nd February 2020

 

 

 

Edited by anagain

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March

Our run in as champions of the Cymru North began with a tough game at Rhyl. The North Wales coast team had been on an upturn in form and gave us a tough game that needed a stoppage time equaliser from my back up striker Zoumbare. I really thought we were going to lose our first game before the Burkinabe popped up to fire home late on. In our next two matches we returned to our magnificent best to destroy relegation threatened Conwy and then Flint Town, who had been up near the top of the table much of the season. And then came by far our worst performance of the season at home to bottom of the table Porthmadog. With the previous two games, and our notching of nine goals, I had hoped for a fantastic display and plenty of goals. It took the second half introduction of Aldair Neto to score our equaliser and preserve our record of being unbeaten.

The match also made me very aware of two particular points regarding my squad. Firstly, my new midfielder, Malcolm Melvin, is unlikely to be the more robust midfielder I wanted. Melvin had been included from the start in the last three games of March. He'd started fine against Conwy, but was my only poor performer against Flint and then had a shocker in the disastrous Porthmadog game. Secondly, I dropped Yalany Baio (who is off to Exeter City at the end of the season) against Porthmadog to give his back up, youngster Lewis Foster, some game time. Although I had also given another youngster some time in defence, we looked a shade of our normally secure defence. Midfield improvements will be the key to performing well in the Welsh Premier next season.

01CNM26Rhyl7320.thumb.png.79a7653356138139b91b116dbcb97b88.png 01CNM27Conwy14320.thumb.png.8bb35bc41f1e5d5cd69d0392ce4f7974.png

01CNM28FlintTown21320.thumb.png.1feecb598eacf7fd35cd075a00fbe48a.png 01CNM29Porthmadog28320.thumb.png.ec342f81715a8c157faec54f3794af3b.png

Player Of The Month for March has to go once again to Francesco Serafino. He scored five more goals in the month and has taken his seasonal tally to thirty-one goals. I think we've seen him enough to gladly go without an image this time.

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Cymru North as at 15.00, Saturday 28th March 2020

Youth Intake

March saw a flock of youngsters arrive at Nantporth as we welcomed my Director Of Football's promised new youth prospects. As a reminder, we'd had the following assessment of our proposed intake back in December:

01Bangor_DecYouthIntake.thumb.png.1f56153813205e3e8c0e92932246c740.png

And the following youngsters arrived, ready and willing to prove themselves to secure a contract:

01Bangor_YouthIntake.thumb.png.554f1c2dbdcdbd41e46d4a3c5598fb39.png

My coaches have identified young Bangorian Dave Dafydd as the best prospect of the group. This young man could be the type of player that I've wanted to sign for our midfield, though I very much doubt he's going to be ready for next season. I'm particularly happy with his mental abilities, and this young man could possibly be a Bangor captain of the future.

1426665458_DaveDafyddY1YouthIntake_Bangor.thumb.png.1d03248775969b9ef2c4cb763eeeed01.png

Elsewhere, Kristian Watson is another young Bangorian and a good prospect in the center of defence. He seemed to get a fat lip on day one though, no doubt defending the coiffure.

1489419016_KristianWatson_BangorYouthIntake1920.thumb.png.1ed7e5028fdf13d3f60706cd5008e30d.png

The rest are your atypical youngsters that may or may not prove themselves worthy. There are a couple of keepers that I have some hope for, and a lot of wide players of lesser quality, as the preview stated. Overall that preview was pretty much on the button. I just don't know that I view this a golden generation, or if it is then I fear for what is not a golden generation. If we get a strong central midfielder and reliable center back then I'll count myself happy though.

~~~~

Three more games then. I've stepped up my search for new recruits, and actually successfully begged for a new contract. I'm contracted to the club until July 2021 now, but I can't help but still be a little concerned that the boss won't view my cup failure as a reason to dispense with my services. The cups weren't required, but preferred, so here's hoping.

Edited by anagain

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This has been a good read so far and a really interesting back story with what's taken place at the club. With being Italian myself, it does interest me and I also noticed one of your GK with the same surname as me. 

Have fun in the Welsh Prem. I had a long save with Carmarthen on FM19 and took me some time to knock TNS off their perch. 

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3 hours ago, Cuomo10 said:

This has been a good read so far and a really interesting back story with what's taken place at the club. With being Italian myself, it does interest me and I also noticed one of your GK with the same surname as me. 

Have fun in the Welsh Prem. I had a long save with Carmarthen on FM19 and took me some time to knock TNS off their perch. 

Thank you. I am looking forward to testing the waters next season. After a quick look at what I can see of current WPL team's players I'm going to tentatively say we could do quite well with the players we have now.

TNS will be the big challenge. They did, in the WPL this season, almost what we did in the CN. 

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April - end of fixtures

Well, April was a funny month. It's safe to say my players are ready for the end of season break. We've won the league and they knew that. Their performances reflected so clearly on that fact.

We started the month at Colwyn Bay, formerly of the English leagues, and we met the team they probably should have been this season. The phrase "we got away with it" probably doesn't do our getting out of jail moment justice. And there's another phrase to sum this match up. We were awful, the player's minds solidly elsewhere. We went 1-0 down in the first half and never really looked like getting an equaliser, with Colwyn Bay having changed to sit back and suck up pressure. Then injury time happened. First Nic Delvecchio was there to nod home Sammartino's deep free kick. I sat back thinking we'd escaped with a point. Then the miracle. Foster's long punt forward from the edge of the box, Neto runs on to the ball and puts a first time cross into the box which Pavel Viera hits first time. A rocket of a volley past the goalie's outstretched arm. The turnaround is complete; but undeserved. I can admit that to the beleaguered Bay boss as he shakes my hand. It's the mark of champions, is it not?

What followed was our first, and only, loss of the season, with just two games to go. Llanrhaeadr were the visitors to Nantporth, and they were a team on form having risen from 9th to 4th over the past few weeks. They'd been third favourites back in July, and they showed us just why that was so. They rocked the glory bandwagon and showed my player's complacency for just what it was. Not one player really performed as they could that day, Agyemang scoring our first half goal before fading. The match probably made up my mind on Malcolm Melvin too. I think his contract will be a short one. My chief scout has recently come to me with a list of players of much higher quality that could be interested.

The last game of the season came in the picturesque seaside resort of Llandudno, and was more a war than a football match. Three sendings off, three bookings, a host of fouls from a defensive Llandudno and a late winner to settle the conflict. Yalany Baio said goodbye to the Bangor fans with what was reported as a horror tackle. I didn't see it but watched disinterested as the young man trudged off the pitch and on to Exeter via the bath. He will be missed though. I'd left Yalany out of the previous two fixtures to test my backup, and before his red card he'd showed me just how good he could be from his deep position in front of the center backs. Replacing him will be key to our chances in the Premier.

01CNM30ColwynBay11420.thumb.png.71c9ddb61e2604c383fa7351b4ea9174.png 01CNM31Llanrhaeadr18420.thumb.png.ae1e79944bcafae1e90800ee1d015114.png

01CNM32Llandudno25420.thumb.png.db6839ecf8f2c2aecc6eaead0ff9fa1a.png

Choosing a Player Of The Month for April is possibly the most challenging decision for a time. From these three poor games who, if anyone, showed me their ability? I will go for young keeper Gabriele Brino just for the fact that without him we would have lost more than once in April. He put together a number of fine saves against Colwyn Bay that gave us any hope of pulling off the robbery that we managed so late in the game. Thank you, Gabriele.

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Cymru North 2019-2020 Final Table

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So, the end of season sees us as champions by 20 points over Guilsfield, who had a good end of season to see them clear of Rhyl. Losing their status in the Cymru North, and dropping down to the regional leagues, is Llangefni, Llanfair, Conwy and Porthmadog. Porthmadog will be most disappointed with that having been given good 4-1 odds to win the division.

I'll be back with an end of season awards and summary, but for now it's scout meeting times whilst my players head on their holidays. I'm sure I'll have a break myself at some point. A weekend in Rhyl, perhaps? One thing is for sure. My dreams will be replete with thoughts of the Welsh Premier League challenge to come. Bring it on!

 

 

Edited by anagain

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End Of Season Rewards/Summary

Disclaimer: I got carried away chatting whilst continuing the game and forgot to do all my stats screens at the end of the season, so we just have the awards and then some transfers. I'm sure people will cope.

We had our club awards evening and dinner in Luigi's Fish 'n' Chips Emporium late one Friday evening, with Mr Serafino having recently bought Luigi out. Francesco Serafino beamed with pride to win the Fan's Player Of The Year award. Simone Rea muttered "fix" as I handed him the runner's up prize. To be fair, the younger Serafino's thirty-one goal season deserved plaudits. Of course, Francesco was up again later to receive his award for Young Player Of The Season. Even I thought that was maybe a bit much for the 22 year old, though admittedly competition was short.

01_Bangor_EndofSeasonAwards_1920.thumb.png.1245eee6c71a44b5421517101237b271.png 

I was asked for my own thoughts and had to applaud the whole team for a tremendous season. I never thought things would go so well as to see us win the division by twenty points and lose just the lone game. I quite rightly thanked Francesco for his goals, but many others deserved credits. Nicolas Delvecchio for his great goalscoring back up to our front man. Simone Rea for a dominant season at center back and a 7.42 average performance rating for the season. Yalany Baio for being the quiet man at the back of our midfield three and because he barely put a foot wrong all season. The whole squad came together to wish him well for his future career at Exeter City.

New Season Build Up And Preview

After our evening of fish and chips I asked to speak to young Francesco regarding whether he would like to stay at the club. He told me he'd love to stay as he had a great passion for the club. He put pen to paper on a new deal that very day. Francesco would be a Bangor player next season and I was delighted. I wouldn't have to find a new goalscorer.

01Serafino_newdeal.thumb.png.0b061c5de433a12949246ad91185cceb.png

A number of players have left the club prior to the new season. Goodbye, and thank you to Luke Purcell (retired), Damase Kiwanda, Ashley Ruane (retired), James Thomas (retired), David Thompson, Gennaro Cuomo, Malcolm Melvin, Davide Salvatore, Francesco Di Crescenzo and Emanuele Zaminga. We've managed to tie the rest of the squad to contracts without significantly increasing our wage outlay. This gives me a nice sum of nearly £3k for new players. The board had given us a generous £26k transfer kitty, but I reduced that to increase my wage budget. There are enough free players out there that I need not spend money.

June 24th came around fast and with it the fixtures for the new season. August will be a big month for us with The New Saints second up and consistent finishers Bala Town ending the month. The big North Wales/Menai Straight derbies with Caernarfon Town will be on the schedule this season and take place within a week of each other on Boxing Day and January 2nd. We end the first phase of the league by welcoming Carmarthen Town to Nantporth. The Welsh Premier League splits in half at this stage and we'll need to be top half to fulfill our ambitious chairman's goals. On to that next.

I was called to the boss' office unexpectedly one morning to discuss his club vision. This time last year he'd been dead set on remaining in the top division, should we get there. This year, it seems, he wants much more. Our chairman, evidently, is more focused on just acquiring chip shops. He wants Europe. I sat quietly in my seat whilst he detailed his desires, a bead of sweat trickling down my spine. "Europe, Nid. Europe. Then the world...but first Europe. We can do it. Look how we won the league."

"The Cymru North, sir. A bunch of amateurs and sheep farmers. No disrespect."

"None taken. Though Papa, he saw many a sheep in Argentina. We take Wales by storm, Nid. Top five and we get in to this new European competition; The Euro Cup II. We can do it!"

He was so convinced that I had no heart to disagree. Not that he'd have listened. Top half it will have to be, and, of course he'd like the Cup Final again.

02_Bangor_SeasonExpectations2021.thumb.png.e1b29839f571f21c3a1afe412654e81d.png

You all know what though? I believe we can do this. As I said at the end of last season, I had a look at the squads we might face and they're not the strength I thought they might be. There are teams we can beat here. A bit of strengthening will be key, but we can compete here.

Our first task will be replacing Biao, and then to strengthen the midfield. I made some polite enquiries prior to the return of my squad. I immediately set my sights on a young midfielder currently in the Cymru South with Haverfordwest. My scouts rated him highly and convinced me he would want much. The young man's name was Tom Dyson and he came back saying he wanted £775 a week. There went that idea, but what a player he will be when he likely gets snapped up by a lower division English club. He is also wanted by TNS and I'll be gutted if he signs for our divisional rivals, though they have the resources no doubt.

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My second choice is a young Belgian at Southampton. He is one of the players suggested to me by my DoF at the end of the season. I offered a contract and I hope he can fill Yalany Baio's boots.

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The search goes on, but there is promise out there. I had a little surprise too when I looked at the early betting odds for this season. You'll have to wait though.

 

C'mon you Citizens!

 

Edited by anagain

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Pre-Season and Transfer Window

July started with a signing. Lucas Defise, the young Belgian defensive midfielder that I had offered a contract to at the end of June, signed on the dotted line. A happy manager shook hands before the camera for the local rag, and then told the reporter he liked to get his business done early. It was true. The defensive midfielder slot was a position that was key to our upcoming season, and whether Lucas cements that role for himself, or not, at least there is a body there.

1564899272_LucasDefise_signs.thumb.png.71a9893ad7b39ef84702de2f2525041b.png

Joining Lucas at Nantporth was a young keeper on loan from Southampton. With Gennaro Cuomo having left the club at the end of June I wanted to bolster our goalkeeper ranks. Jack Bycroft was recommended to me by my DoF and Southampton were willing to loan him out for a season in North Wales. He is costing me wages, but I believe he will overtake Brino as my number one this season.

1420926413_JackBycroft_loandeal.thumb.png.47df44fb6769d000e0914b66f5828b77.png 646786800_JackBycroft.thumb.png.79b290173ae7e747162f1b8df7e4e77a.png

 

There followed a number of friendlies throughout July, and a number of trialists coming in to try and earn a contract at the club. June had also seen my left back backup leave Bangor. Davide Salvatore was never going to be a permament fixture in the WPL, having spent much of the CN winning season unused even as a sub, so I had chosen to cut a wage and look for a replacement full back, preferably one that could play right or left sided. Sadly, that replacement was proving hard to find. I had approached Derby County with an enquiry for a young player of theirs that could play in variety of positions across the back four, but they wanted much more than I could afford. He'd been transfer listed in early July but was then bizarrely taken off that list after my enquiry. Offers to loan him were met with goodbyes.

I would have to look elsewhere, but full backs were proving hard to find for some reason. The Welsh trialists fixture proved a source of non-contracted full backs of whom most were deemed either not good enough by my scouts or they wanted too much in wages when I approached them. I had a number of replies that just said "no thanks" (often in more fruitful turns of phrase) when I offered trial periods. Just one player stood out after scout reports were in and disgruntled replies shredded. He was a RB/CB, so I still had to find LB cover. This was proving frustrating and would continue until the last week of pre-season.

The friendlies we played were uneventful, with only a 4-0 away win at Porthmadog really impressing me. It's all about fitness in pre-season though, and fit is what my first teamers are on the eve of our opening WPL fixture against Cardiff Met Uni at Nantporth.

02_Bangor_friendlies2021.thumb.png.38f97045a2d9f9e58c19691e366f8824.png

I made a number of contract offers for some of my hopeful trialists in the week leading up to our first game, but none have come back to me with a yes or a no yet. It means we go in to our first match a little shorter than I'd hoped. Or, at least I'd thought so. When it came to picking the squad it dawned on me that I'd need two U19 players in each matchday squad. It means that my highly valued youngsters, Kristian Watson and Dave Dafydd will be getting plenty of matchday experience this year. I do find the rule awkward, but it's not like we're the only ones that have to deal with it. The rule promotes young Welsh talent, and that can only be good for the prospects of Welsh teams in Europe. Both Dave and Kristian are up to it, in my estimation, so I am sure we are better off than some teams. I do want to at least try and get a couple more U19 players in though to bolster my choices for this rule. 

So this is how our transfer activity stood as of 6th August 2020:

02_Bangor_transfers_at6Aug2020.thumb.png.471d59084e52f6e208bd0287e3fdac63.png

More to come, I firmly believe. So much for me liking to get my business done early though. 

And then it was time to welcome WPL football back to Nantporth. Deep breath, everyone.

Season Preview

The squad on the season's eve is as follows:

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02_Bangor_Squad2021_page2.thumb.png.174e28fc81e923dce391dbdaeed0b2ef.png

Now you may remember that last we spoke I said there would be a surprise in store for our chances this season. It is the following:

02_WPLOdds2021.thumb.png.b83b4d0b71e844a842fb0151455a1213.png

Yes, the media have us second favourites for the title at 3-1. I was shocked. Completely. I guess Mr Serafino has advanced knoweldge of what the press are saying. Why else would he insist we make Europe? Perhaps he ain't so daft as I thought.

Further, Franceso Serafino is top odds to be top scorer in this season's competition. More reason for me to be so glad the owner's son decided to stay.

02_WPL_GoldenBootOdds2021.thumb.png.53019003234f420c2033b39f4f4adccc.png

Furthermore, the media have this season down as a straight fight between us and The New Saints. They recognise the quality I have managed to get in in goal too.

02_WPL_SeasonPreview2021.thumb.png.1d5f13e53f4a1e30f49134e933ecc1e0.png

So we're still rather internationally flavoured. We've added a Belgian in place of a Guinean, but we do now look to have a Brit in each matchday squad thanks to Jack Bycroft. Let's rock Wales! Continental style.

 

 

 

Edited by anagain
Spelling, grammar etc

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3 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Piece of **** that season.

Dave Dafydd has to be the best Welsh name ever. :D

Hehe, I had a little grin when I saw that name come up. As people will see in August, I think I cursed him though. 

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August

Four more transfers would come in to the club before the end of August. I finally managed to strengthen my fullback roster and boosted the number of midfielders at the club, though the month had started with disappointment. I had offered a contract to a young midfielder that had been released by Manchester United. Mark Helm is a defensive minded midfielder that would have both boosted our quality and provided me with another player under the age of 18 to fullfil the matchday squad requirements for the league. Sadly, he chose Ashton United.

1775645527_MarkHelm_TurnsDownBangor.thumb.png.741ac28f6d118668fdb26c6f240d8343.png

The first new signing was another youngster to fill that U18 role on my bench. Owen Beck is a left sided full back with plenty of potential to develop. He was a youth trainee at Liverpool, and can also play further forward should he be needed to. 

447821257_OwenBeck_signs.thumb.png.0898b75e82347d355c899d14c75829d3.png 604568605_OwenBeck.thumb.png.abbfd3de7dd711cbca51fad681b384dd.png

Next to join was another young man, and one who had been released from the Swansea academy. Cameron Evans is a fantastically gifted natural center back who is just as happy playing wide right. I don't think it will be long before Cameron forces his way to a starting berth. In fact, he would go on to prove that later in the month.

871758526_CameronEvans_signs.thumb.png.386892566af9b05d0641bf728f17f2b2.png 1087756825_CameronEvans.thumb.png.3cf83a4339c9f02a943bdee3b72a3f79.png

Both were joined a couple of days later by experience in the shape of former New Saints defender Chris Marriott. Chris has been a feature of this league for over ten years and knows Welsh football like the back of his hand. He joins the club to provide relaible back up to our defensive positions. He has also taken his coaching badges and I would love to add his experience to our coaching team when he decides to hang his boots up, though that could be a ways off.

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The last signing of the the month joined after a trial period during which my coaches raved about his ability in training. He fills that position of defensive solidity and aggression I have been after for so long. Rob Evans is a natural box to box midfielder who has spent his career playing in the top three levels of the English non-league scene, and he adds much needed depth to our squad.

789134543_RobEvans_signs.thumb.png.298f550ba558bda2b24d6f0ef3320013.png 27447789_RobEvans.thumb.png.68c3ba83119d754e06ef928e28e05da9.png

That left our transfer dealings for the summer window looking as follows (one loan deal of Massimo De Maria heading to Port Talbot Town until January not included):

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The sad news mid August was that my highly rated young Welsh midfielder was injured in training the day after he came on as a late substitute to make his debut. Dave Dafydd would be out for up to six weeks with a double hernia.

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My fixtures for August went so much better than I could ever have hoped for, despite a slow start at home to Cardiff Met Uni. We took the lead in the 7th minute against the students only for our opponents to equalise near the end of the half. The game peetered out after that and I should probably be satisfied we could take a draw. Our finishing had been woeful and I was a little less optimistic than I had been about this league when I'd seen the odds.

That all changed in dramatic fashion a week later. We met the league champions of the past nine seasons at their Park Hall stadium over the border in Oswestry. A day of changeable weather saw a cracker of a match, and our first televised match of my Bangor reign. The first half was tight until a deep Serafino punted a speculative ball in to the path of wide man Delvecchio. Delvecchio's run took him in to the box where he was felled by the TNS left back. Serafino stepped up to take the penalty and calmly slotted home to give us a 1-0 lead. The game had been close up to that point and The New Saints got on to the score sheet in first half injury time. We were in this game and I told the players to go out and do their best second half. I fully hoped we could snatch a point. In actual fact we did better than that. In the 60th minute Sammartino, after some neat play on the left wing, placed a pin point cross to the far post and there was Delvecchio, our first half penalty winner, to poke the ball home. We lost Eugenio Dalia late in injury time to a harsh red card but held out to claim the three points and our first win back in the Premier League. I was delighted, but the TNS manager was less so. It would seem we're tin-pot.

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Next came Penybont and we recorded a marvellous 3-0 win, Serafino scoring an early penalty before Sammartino and Agyemang scored two very late goals with Penybont pushing forwards. It was Massimo Sammartino's first goal for the club.

August finished with the so labelled Gwynedd derby against Bala Town at Nantporth. I played this one cautious, as I was unsure of the opposition. Bala Town have been regular challengers for the top few spots in the league for a number of seasons. They were predicted a little lower this season, but I was sure they could cause us problems. As it turned out we spent much of the match on top, and had our finishing been better we might have romped away. Again, we scored late goals to record a solid 3-1 win. A stunning Serafino hat-trick taking his goal tally for the season to five already.

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The first Player Of The Month for the new season sees three stand out contenders in Serafino, Sammartino and new man Lucas Defise. The new man just gets the award despite Serafino's goals. Lucas has been fantastic in his first four games for the club, easily taking over from Yalany Baio and contributing an assist and seven key passes.

WPLAug20.thumb.png.5da08ab8bb2110abd623d2a96b2fc444.png

Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 18.00, Saturday 29th August 2020

So an unbelievable first month for us. I honestly had never expected things to start this well. I believed we were good, but had no doubt we would lose at The New Saints. We have played two of the top three teams in the league, according to the previews, and find ourselves on top of the tree with ten points. September is a busy looking month of five games, and hopefully our form continues.

I'm sure Scott Ruscoe of TNS will be hoping the tin-pot newboys slip up.

I have every intention of proving the Stroppy One wrong.

 

 

Edited by anagain
Tidy up, spelling, grammar

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1 hour ago, SRL88 said:

Nice work so far :thup: Keep it up

Thank you. I am really enjoying this save. Most fun I have had in FM for a fair few years.

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September

Well, the good news is we're still unbeaten; an amazing fact for our first season back in the top echelon of Welsh football. The bad news is we're not looking great. The football is bland and unimpressive. If it weren't for Francesco Serafino's goals we wouldn't be in the position we find ourselves.

We started the month with a tight 2-1 victory over Cefn Druids in the small town of Cefn-mawr, south of Wrexham. The Druids probably had the best chances of the match, and will see this as an opportunity missed.

We followed this victory up with a three game week; away games at Barry and Newtown sandwiching a home game versus Llanelli. The Barry Town game was tight and frustrating as we had come back from a goal down, and a very poor first half, to lose two points to a 92nd minute penalty. The Barry scorer had missed his penalty, a great save from Jack Bycroft denying him, but my players were half asleep and the Barry player was easily the first to respond to the rebound. My players showed a distinct lack of enthusiasm in this game and the only thing that gave me any real joy was that the scorer of our second was a young man I had just got in on loan from Tranmere.

1302726221_KyleHayde_Loansigning.thumb.png.d44f2dddbd624f5e28b0ed9468ca9c86.png 1109323938_KyleHayde.thumb.png.e0bffe44bcea802d1cd7a0796253711e.png

I was not entirely happy with my back up strikers, and I also wanted more U19s on the bench. My scouts suggested Kyle Hayde of Tranmere and I agreed that he looked like quality enough to provide back up to Francesco. My thoughts came to fruition when I changed the formation late in the game to a 4-4-2 at Barry. On came Kyle in his first game and he stabbed home to make it 2-1, at least until the late penalty drama. I have made all my strikers, but Zoumbare, available for loan. My DoF is doing his utmost to find them some playing time. Zoumbare is a good striker, but he's unlikely to get in ahead of Serafino. We only got a work permit for him on appeal when he re-signed in July, so I think I will let him leave for pastures new. He deserves playing time.

Our home tie with Llanelli was another big disappointment. Both goals came within a minute of each other, and both within the first ten minutes. It was another poor game from us, and I have been very unhappy with form of the likes of Delvecchio and Cauterucci especially. Against Newtown we dominated but had to make do with a sole Serafino goal in the second minute. Delvecchio was very poor again, and I really don't know what has changed from the young man who scored so freely last season.

The month ended with a slightly improved performance when Connah's Quay visited Nantporth. Two Serafino goals either side of half time secured us the win, but we never really looked troubled.

02WPLM5CefnDruids5920.thumb.png.13403d28d9fca11427f6f25b3e5e2ec1.png 02WPLM6BarryTown9920.thumb.png.57c558c5e2eff92dce715b6053ba6961.png

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(yes, the skin I use had an update)

When it comes to picking my regular Player Of The Month there is little choice for the month of September. For netting five out of eight goals this month it has to go to Francesco Serafino. Francesco is top scorer in the competition so far, and five goals ahead of his nearest competitor.

In other transfer news we allowed youngster Lorenzo Castaldo to go out on loan to Port Talbot Town of the Cymru North. Lorenzo is a promising midfielder, so some play time at the level below will do him good. There are a few issues in the build I started my save with for the Welsh leagues. Port Talbot is about as "south" as you can get in Wales, but they have been placed in the Cymru North. In my first season I had thought the League Cup was meant to be just Cymru North/South teams, but Premier teams should be in there too. I am happy to ignore these small issues for now.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Sunday 27th September 2020

So, we find ourselves top of the pile at the end of September, though The New Saints are closing the gap. Both Cardiff Met Uni and Llanelli Town look good sides too, both securing a point against us. Hopefully I can get the likes of Delvecchio and Cauterucci playing well again in October. We are a little short on squad depth for wingers and attacking focused midfielders, and I think that may be the reason for their complacency issues. Harry Blackburn has replaced Delvecchio and done well in most games, but whether he has the ability to become a serious contender for the right wing berth is questionable. Neither of my other first team wingers, in Aldair Neto and Agyemang, have been in fine form so far. Perhaps some competition for places is needed. Since the incomings in defence I sense an increasing competition for places at the defensive end of the pitch. That said, up to now the only seriously consistent performers have been Serafino and Lucas Defise.

If we can find ourself top of the Welsh Premier and also feel that our performances have been lacking, well that can't be bad. Can it?

We head to Cardiff Met Uni and welcome The New Saints to Nantporth in October. It could be a defining month. Scott Ruscoe, for sure will be hoping to get one over on us. I hope we show him just how well a tin-pot little club can play football.

 

 

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October

October started with some interesting news. A local business man wants to take over at Bangor City. As a manager, it is little to do with me. I just answer to the man at the top. I just hope they sort it out before the January transfer window.

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It is on the football field that we do our talking, and October proved to be another similar month. We've managed to stay unbeaten again, a fact that led me to another Manager of the Month award. My experience of these awards is that they lead to bad months, and I ignored the last one. It had come at the end of September. We had just won 2-1 at The New Saints before knocking three past Penybont and Bala Town. We've not managed to score more than twice in a match since. Manager awards breed complacency, but we still sit top by three points.

Defensively we're resolute, only conceding to The New Saints in October. We started with a 1-0 win in Carmarthen, another game in which our finishing was off. Carmarthen were poor and we should have knocked them for six, but an Emmanuel Agyemang 18th minute goal was all we could manage. Our trip to Cardiff Met Uni, a week later, was little better, though we did manage to get a second goal from the spot. It was Francesco Serafino's only goal of the month and his form has really dropped. Nicolas Delvecchio was very poor in Cardiff and I spoke to him after the match. I expected a great deal more from the man who had been a highlight of our Cymru North winning season.

Then came our reverse fixture in which we invited The New Saints to Nantporth. We started the game in much better form, even Delvecchio looking good for the first time in weeks. I had spoken to Piero Cauterucci before the match as well and he decided to make a statement against our closest competitors. In the seventh minute he burst in to the right hand side of the box and laid a perfect ball across the goal that Agyemang slotted home. Our possession was good, but the first half was a close affair and The New Saints equalised in the 32nd minute following a disastrous attempt to claim a deep Saints freekick in to the box by Jack Bycroft. The young loan keeper could only flick the ball on, it landed at the feet of the Saints center back who showed fantastic technique to hammer home. All credit to Bycroft though. He didn't shrink under the pressure of his mistake, and in fact he secured a point for us by saving a Saints penalty in the 49th minute. It was a harsh penalty award, and a Saints win would have been unjustified.

We ended the month at home to Penybont in a seriously frustrating match. Our visitors had two men sent off and another five booked in this battle, but still we could only manage one Delvecchio goal. I'd argue we should have had a second in the second half, but the referee chalked off a Kyle Hayde finish for offside. Penybont put men in the way of everything in this match, but surely even they will be wondering how the match finished 1-0. Just one of those days or a worrying trend?

02WPLM10CarmarthenTown101020.thumb.png.3b4b94bd74d476e8a80718648c262146.png 02WPLM11CardiffMetUni161020.thumb.png.8bd8bd7a6bfe6fd4fa8771f7a89306b8.png

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An even tougher question to answer than how we managed to only beat Penybont 1-0 is that of who wins my Player Of The Month for October. I think I can only give it to Emmanuel Agyemang for his two goals this month.

WPLOct20.thumb.png.7df2db264fe50fac7779bda3ef2759f4.png

Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 18.00, Saturday 31st October 2020

It's clear to me that the Welsh Premier League is a lot poorer in terms of quality than I had thought it would be. If we don't qualify for Europe with the quality of players we have then we should hang our heads in shame. I want to win the league now. I want to test my squad against better players in European competition. We start our Welsh Cup journey next game at home to Rhyl. Let's do the double and end the Saintly dominance of Welsh football.

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13 hours ago, SRL88 said:

Great start to the campaign 

Thank you. I'm totally surprised with how it is going, even if we are sort of sneaking through. I have a feeling it has to go wrong sometime...

 

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November

November turned out to be by far the worst month of my career to date. It had started well with a dominant 5-1 win over Rhyl in the Welsh Cup. Rhyl battled hard but we showed our quality to romp away and book our passage to the next round. Dave Dafydd scored his first goal for the club in a terrific moment for the young man. However, it was late in the game that the month started to turn for us. Lucas Defise injured himself stretching for the ball, and tests later showed he had sprained ankle ligaments and faced up to five weeks out.

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It was to get much worse.

With Lucas out I decided to alter our formation. My back up defensive midfielder is youngster Lewis Foster, but I just wasn't sure of his strength in that role to guide us safely though a WPL game. He had done okay in the Cymru North, but was never oustanding. When I had bought him in near the end of the last season's campaign we had shown a downturn in form. I decided to switch to a 4-4-2; Serafino playing as a False 9, dropping deeper to support the midfield, and Agyemang continuing in an advanced IF role of the left. This would be Kyle Hayde's chance to shine up front.

It didn't work as I'd hoped. For sure, tactical changes need a chance to be perfected, but defensively we are a shambles. Our league form in November has shown just how much Lucas Defise, and Yalany Baio last season, do to protect our back four. It also made Simone Rea look a much worse player.

We travelled to a Bala Town under new management first. Bala have been languishing near the basement, in sharp contrast to their predicted fourth place. We were maybe a little unlucky, but we lost our first game of the season and also lost Piero Cauterucci to an early injury. Test showed a less serious injury than has inflicted Defise, but it's another man lost in midfield. I expect Bala to climb the table now. They looked a good team, and their new manager as clearly got the confidence back.

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A week later, against mid table Cefn Druids, we encountered an opposition goalie performing heroics. I was not impressed with the performances of a number of players however. We hadn't lost, but we should have had enough chances to put the game to bed. I felt prompted to call the lads together and have a word. I urged them to keep going, for whilst things had dipped we still had tremendous quality and could stay the course.

They obviously didn't listen as well as I thought they had. One week later we welcomed Barry Town to North Wales and despite a bright start we faded dismally and slumped to a first home defeat. It was only a number of good saves from Jack Bycroft that kept the score from being humiliating. We had chances ourselves, but Serafino's miss from the penalty spot late in the game summed our day up. I really do hope this is a blip. We've lost top spot.

What was it I was saying about Manager of the Month awards last month? If I never get another award I couldn't be happier.

02WPLM14BalaTown141120.thumb.png.a835069e5579315fed4f46d8c027999f.png 02WPLM15CefnDruids211120.thumb.png.7f0d32c1f5dfb9bf5f97b38f6e738a48.png

02WPLM16BarryTown281120.thumb.png.9e0f3aa95ec91d762040f428d828a17c.png

How do you choose a Player Of The Month after that? I'm tempted to give the award to Lucas Defise for showing me just how much of a key component he must be for us. I'm going to go with Jack Bycroft for showing just how good a keeper he could be despite our loss to Barry Town. I want an easier decision next month though.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football league as at 17.00, Sunday 29th November 2020

December needs to be better. It surely can't be worse. We have an easier month against mid and lower table teams, and I'm demanding an upturn in performances from my squad. We need better finishing, more creativity and improved defending.

I'm gutted though. The title was in our hands and now we need The New Saints to slip up if we're to grab back that handful. I can't help thinking it was my decision to switch to a 4-4-2 that brought this slump on. It never should have had such a dramatic effect, but if anything it has shown the cracks in our defence. Defise will be back soon. I might rename him Polyfilla though, now I've realised he's covered deep cracks.

 

 

 

Edited by anagain
Grammar, little more flavour

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December

In hoping for a much better month of performances, the first hurdle was a trip south to face Llanelli. This was the team that had secured promotion from the Cymru South last year, and they had proved themselves good competitors so far. It would not be an easy game by any means. Again we bossed possession and shots, but again we were struggling to hit the target. Alarmingly, it was Llanelli who took the lead early in the second half. We had to up the pressure and our possession finally made tell with just seven minutes to go. Llanelli had a man sent off a few minutes later, but we couldn't find the winner. It was better, but still not where I wanted us to be.

Newtown turned up to Nantporth a week later and I spelled out to the team that this was a must win game. Thankfully, this time the performance came with the possession and we turned out a 3-1 win. The win was not without casualties however, with Francesco Serafino limping off late in the first half with more ankle problems. Luckily it didn't seem serious, but we'd have to cope without our talisman until at least the end of the month.

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A week before Christmas we made the trip up the coast to face challengers Connah's Quay. Aldair Neto had approached me during training to ask for more pitch time. Agyemang had not been in the best of form and so I agreed to Neto's request. He repaid my decision with our second goal late in the game, Agyemang, having replaced the still patchy form showing Delvecchio, had slotted home our first with eleven minutes left. It had been a much closer game, reflecting the Deesider's league position, and despite them managing a late consolation I was very happy to be going home with a 2-1 victory.

We finished the month by welcoming bottom of the table Caernarfon to Nantporth for the Menai Derby. These games against struggling opposition can always be dangerous so I sat the defence back a bit but went all out for the three points. Squeakiness ensued but we managed to end the ninety minutes with a 2-0 victory, Piero Cauterucci finishing off some lovely passing play in the Caernarfon box for the first before Kyle Hayde tapped in to make things more comfortable. To be fair, things were not comfortable in the second half, with Caernarfon looking scary on the break, but we held firm for a pleasing victory.

02WPLM17BarryTown41220.thumb.png.dff114f9e17e2259eb261be33ac452d3.png 02WPLM18Newtown121220.thumb.png.9eaaffffc3499e96b7f9c31eae2380f4.png

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I'm going to give my Player Of The Month for December to our loanee striker Kyle Hayde. With Serafino injured Kyle was thrust in to the limelight for a month in which we needed to reverse our form. He repaid me with some good performances and a couple of goals. When he slots in to my usual IF/DLF formation he's filling a role he's not entirely comfortable with, so increasing his value to us in December.

We also had news on the proposed takeover of the club that we first heard about back in October. Managing Director Gwynfor Jones is not happy with the prolonged nature of the talks and has signalled his intention to cancel any proposals before the January transfer window happens. I gave him my profound thanks for this protection. Interested business man Dan Smith answered the news in the local rag to say that the takeover is still imminent. If it's taken this long I think I'd rather things stay as they are for the sake of £300k. The money would clear the club's reported deficit of £160k, but of we can make European competition then surely that will bring in some cash.

December also bought news of Director Of Football Max Leghissa's latest crop of youngsters coming through the youth ranks this season. He promised me another golden generation in the new year. Truthfully, young Dave Dafydd has been getting some substitute time on the pitch of late and he has done well. If Mr Leghissa can deliver even one young player with as much promise as Dafydd has shown then I'll consider the intake a success. The promise of a very handy winger has me interested.

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WPLDec20.thumb.png.0c2d19d2389fbfb5ef6b4c14f396e1b7.png

Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 15.00, Sunday 27th December 2020

So we're back to our unbeaten ways with the new year on the horizon. I've let the press know I don't want the Manager of the Month award, not after the downturn in our fortunes it led to last time I was honoured with the award. The new year brings our last two Welsh Premier League games before the league splits in to a Championship Conference and a Playoff Conference. It's clear we can't find ourselves in the lower Conference, but the competition from Barry Town and Cardiff Met Uni will be tight for that second place and qualification for the Euro Cup II. Third place also qualifies, though that is dependent upon the winner of the Welsh Cup. January also sees us face an away tie at Llandudno in the cup 4th round. It's more than likely the remaining weekends in January will see us face one of The New Saints, Barry, Cardiff Met Uni, Connah's Quay or Llanelli. There is an outside chance of it being Bala Town, who have been on a fast rise up the league under their new boss. Regardless, it will be a tough second half of the season.

I said a couple of months back that I wanted the double, partly to stick another finger up to the New Saints boss for calling us tin-pot. The gap is still only five points, but the champions don't look like losing any time soon. I'm not ruling it out.

I hope my Managing Director is true to his word and cancels takeover negotiations to allow me time with the transfer market. I want to strengthen and put a little more pressure on my underperforming stars.

 

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, SRL88 said:

Not far off TNS. Doing a solid job in sticking close to them

Thanks. So much could have been but for that month though. 

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12 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Doing very well.

Thanks.

 

Haven't had as much time to play the last couple of days so it's slowing going towards the January update.

Teaser: Big shenanigans with the board coming up.

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January

January proved to be a quiet month with less games than I'd anticipated. I hadn't realised that there would be a short break in the league after the final game of the first phase. This gave us half a month in which to concentrate on the transfer window. I brought in a couple of players on trials and arranged friendlies to see how they did. There is one right winger by the name of Alessandro Trabacca that had one cracking game and has me very tempted to offer a contract. My thoughts had been to expand the squad, but we are already losing money monthly and I now wonder if it might be better to keep the numbers lower. Another reason is that Aldair Neto had a very good month on the right wing and this has alleviated my concerns centered around the poor form of Nicolas Delvecchio.

The much anticipated board takeover, which had been simmering for a few months now, did actually come to fruition in January. However, despite earlier discussed intentions, Mr Jones decided not to input any money. It seems that Mr Serafino has taken a bit of a back seat at the club. I know he's about, having seen his little Fiat in the carpark, though he seems content to let Mr Jones handle the day to day affairs at the club. His proposed £300k would have been helpful though.

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(I don't actually know what is going on here. I know that in the real world Bangor appears to be owned by Mr Serafino, and I assumed that was so in the game. Maybe he never was in the game, but I liked the idea of him being there and am glad I went with it. I will also continue to do so, but have used the idea of him being a background figure to account for the takeover. It's just a board takeover, is all. Who needs the nitty gritty to make sense? There also appears to be an extra income of around £200k in the finances for January. I don't see why the manager would know of this, so I left it out of the story. The personal message from Mr Jones also said no investment, and that is what the manager - me - is being told. The £200k is under Other in income, so must be some sort on incoming sum of money from outside sources. Just a bail out, I guess, rather than an investment. Semantics.)

I get the idea, though I am not being told everything, that the club is still not financially secure. It's further reasoning to not futher trouble the wage bill. Had Mr Jones said "and here is £300k", as he really did promise, then I'd jump at the two triallists. I've had bids for a number of players at the club, and a number have gone out on loan. Flint Town made a bid for Harry Blackburn recently and I accepted the bid before suggesting to Harry that it would be a good move. I won't be renewing his contract, but should he leave in this window I will certainly offer Tribecca a contract.

The other player is a Zimbabwean midfielder that my scouts have been suggesting for a while now. He has potential but it is not certain he would be a case of 'straight in the squad'. It will be a final day of the window decision. I am most likely to wait until the summer and hope he is still available. Who knows who might appear on our radar by then though. The window doesn't close until early February, so an update later.

The two confirmed loans out during January were our DoF's son Francesco Leghissa, who will spend the rest of the season at Denbigh Town, and hot prospect Kristian Watson to Port Talbot Town. Kristian has already won the League Cup in his loan spell, so congratulations to the lad.

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But, on to actual football. The pitch-type. We had a great end to the first phase of 2020-21Welsh Premier League beating Caernarfon 2-1 at their place before a 6-1 thumping of lowly Carmarthen Town at Nantporth. The Menai derby game at Caernarfon was a tight affair won when Kyle Hayde ran on to long pass from Agyemang and slotted past the keeper.

The Carmarthen Town game was possibly the most complete display I have witnessed in my tenure as Bangor boss. Normally players would switch off at 2-0, but they just kept going against Carmarthen. Braces from Serafino and Agyemang were joined by a scorcher from Dalia and an own goal. The fans voted Agyemang as their man of the match but special mention must go to Aldair Neto. Three chances created, three key passes and two assists were the numbers that signalled a fantastic performance from the Angolan who is now pretty firmly ahead of Delvecchio in my team selections.

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The month ended with the Fourth Round of the Welsh Cup and a visit to Llandudno Town whose manager, Gareth Thomas, and I were becoming fast friends. He has been very vocal in his applauding of my efforts at Bangor, and it is nice to get that sort of praise. We came away from Maesdu Park with a solid 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Neto and Defise, the Belgian's first for the club.

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I'm giving my Player Of The Month award to Aldair Neto. I feel foolish for the fact that the Angolan winger had barely had a look in this season, and that I only gave him a chance after he had to come to me to ask for more game time. For some reason I thought of him as a replacement for Agyemang and not a natural fit for my more supportive right wing role, despite the poor form of Delvecchio. When I have Aldair his chance he showed me just what he can do. Possibly the clearest winner of this award for some time.

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And so it is on to the final ten games of our season. Bala Town really pushed hard under their new manager but couldn't quite overhaul Llanelli Town, so our five final opponents are Llanelli, Connah's Quay, Cardiff Met Uni, Barry Town and The New Saints. We now have a nice five point gap over Barry, and TNS slipped up in January to help us close the gap at the top to two points. TNS are out of the cup too, after a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Haverfordwest. Our own Welsh Cup Quarter Final will be away to Newtown at the end of February. That competition is now very winnable with TNS out.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 22.00, Tuesday 12th January 2021

There are two final news items for January. Both were announced February 1st but do technically deal with January. First we swamped the WPL Team of the Month for January, with five players named.

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Secondly, although far from ideal in my opinion, is another news item that I'm sure readers will guess from my chocie of words. Yes, I won the Manager of the Month for January.

"We're doomed, Captain Mainwaring. Doooomed!"

The bastards...

 

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February

The transfer window ended with a whimper, the only other movement at Nantporth being that of our young center back Lennie Armstrong sealing a loan move to Colwyn Bay. Lennie has potential, but he's struggled to break in to the first team this season. I therefore decided to allow him some match time to show what he could do. Moves that would have allowed me to bring in our triallists never happened. Despite my advice to younguns Harry Blackburn and Lewis Foster that they should grab moves when they were offered, they both chose to stay at Bangor. It was a different story for Azizou Zoumbare. The Burkinabé striker was unlikely to get a work permit so I suggested we look for a new club for him. He agreed, but it would seem no clubs are interested in his services. Bizarrely, despite all I did for him, Azizou is not impressed with me. The fool has chosen to publicly declare I have failed to live up to my promises. Fans across northern Gwynedd are slurping their tea and proclaiming him a fool of the highest order.

With transfer business over we could move on to the final phase of the league season. The Championship Conference began as we welcomed Cardiff Met Uni to Nantporth, and the game couldn't have gone better for us. The lads put in a fantastic performance to run out 4-0 winners over the students. Simone Rea scored his first goal of the season early in the game, and even added a second with a late penalty. He was backed up with further strong performances from our wing partnership of Agyemang and Neto. The only negative to take out of the game is that Serafino seems to be struggling to find his form.

Four days later we travelled along the coast to Connah's Quay. What ensued was a tight game and it took the intervention of substitute Devlecchio to secure us a valuable three points. I do wonder if the team were either just tired from a double game week or perhaps nervous about the tie upcoming a week later.

That tie was our first Championship Conference tie versus The New Saints. If truth be told we were the better team in the match at Nantporth, but both teams were struggling to get an effort on target. As injury time began I was becoming content to send our rivals back to Oswestry with just a point, and to take a valuable point ourselves. It was not to be however. A long ball was pumped in to our box and Bycroft jumped commandingly to gather safely, only he was barged by the TNS forward and the lose ball was rolled in for a late winner. I was furious but the fourth official didn't want to know. Scott Ruscoe beamed as I shook his hand and later told the press they were full value for their win. He couldn't have been more wrong, I thought, and the slowly bubbling fued continued. The players deserved no scorn. It was a nervous game but we had fought well.

A week later we were preparing to face Llanelli Town a day after other games had taken place. The news from Oswestry couldn't have been better.

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Barry are looking a very good team of late. I had to hide my phone to stop myself phoning Oswestry to let Ruscoe know how good Barry were. Bloody tin-pot, that. I was impossible to live with on the coach to Lllanelli.

I told the players to go out and show TNS just how much they had messed up by closing the gap. They did just that, though not without a scare. Llanelli started well to take an early lead and it was clear my pre-match words might just have caused some nerves to show. I'd had to have a word with our front man Serafino before the match to boost his confidence, and I now had to turn my attention to the whole team with a furious interval pasting. Shoes were kicked and chalk snapped. The final score proved to be a commanding 3-1 win, with Serafino hitting a much needed brace. They were scrappy goals but it turned a table for our star man. Simone Rea spoke to the media after the game to tell them it was my half time talk that had secured the win. They love me!

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We needed some R 'n R, and we finished the month off with a trip to mid Wales and a Welsh Cup Quarter Final against Newtown. There was another early scare as a Newtown shot unforetunately ricocheted off Dalia to land in the net, but my lads came back to secure a comfortable 3-1 win and secure our passage to the semi-final. Rob Evans got his first goal for Bangor with a lovely lofted finish in to the goal from the edge of the box, completely perplexing the Newtown keeper.

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For my Player Of The Month I have chosen to reward the fine form of Simone Rea. He scored his first goals of the season this month and barely put a foot wrong. Simone had a shaky month back at the end of last year, but our captain has driven the team forth to be just two points adrift of TNS and five points better off than third placed Barry Town.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 17.00, Saturday 27th February 2021

So six more games to go, and that includes a trip to Oswestry and two games against a very dangerous looking Barry Town. Those five points could be key, and if we win our games against Cardiff Met Uni, Connah's Quay and Llanelli Town then I hope we can be safe in second. March will be the more relaxing of the last two months, with just the Barry away fixture being a toughie. April includes a semi-final alongside a trip to Oswestry and a welcome to Bangor for Barry Town. We finish at home to Llanelli whilst TNS face Barry. That weekend is going to be big. Like a ripple in the fabric of spacetime.

Is that a butterfly farm in my bowels?

Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!

 

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March

Mr Mainwaring, Mr Mainwaring!

Yes Jones, what is it?

Permission to worry you, sir?

"So much for that five point gap," I said to my assistant, shortly after the goal that condemned us to third place.

"So much for Cardiff being the easier game," he replied. I narrowed my eyes and got on the coach.

Things took a decided turn in the downward direction in March. My assistant was referring to my definitive belief that the month of March would be the easier of the final two months of this season, and that was seeing as how we were playing Cardiff Met Uni and Connah's Quay. We'd not lost to the students in my three previous meetings, though they had admittedly held us to a draw in our first game of the season. Last time out we had thrashed them 4-0 and I had fully expected similar. We'd been in good form going in to March.

We had started the match on their campus ground well, and Serafino had given us the lead just before half time. The second half was a different story, and they tested our defence regularly with long, searching balls. They had equalised this way after 54 minutes. In stoppage time we failed to deal with another speculative ball and their big front man headed home a deserved winner. We had not played well.

Barry Town were up next and the butterflies had turned in to sparrows. However, we did have one small bit of good news prior to the game. The New Saints lost again. This time at Connah's Quay. Barry were on a march though. They had dispatched Connah's Quay comfortably.

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I decided to go in to the big tie with positivity, gathering the lads together to tell them that this was a match we could win. We'd had a blip, yes, but our destiny was still in our own hands. We'd lost Simone Rea after our captain had picked up his fifth yellow in the Cardiff Met Uni game, but we would just have to cope. The match turned out to be a very tight affair, though I would have to admit that Barry had the slight advantage in the first half. We held on to 0-0 at the break and I told the lads we were in this. Go out and get payback for the November defeat, I said. They did. On 49 minutes we took the lead, Piero Cauterucci blasting a header home after a lovely Eugeinio Dalia cross from the right.

What I did next may or may not have been right. I decided to sit Rob Evans further back and go with two defensive midfielders and Cauterucci alone a little higher up. The idea was to frustrate a Barry Town team that would have to attack. What I witnessed was our expulsion from Eden. Four minutes later and Barry were 2-1 up. It was a blur. We spent the rest of the game chasing the match, but it was Barry that frustrated us. Our performance had been one of ineptitude of the lowest depths. I told the team just that in the changing rooms. There was no excuse for the poor display they had put in. We now found ourselves behind both TNS and Barry. If it stayed this way I'd have to win the cup to make Europe.

We had to turn in a display two weeks later when we invited Connah's Quay to Nantporth. I worked the squad hard in training, and I'm sure they knew how I felt. Positivity may not have served us well in Cardiff but I would turn to it again for the Connah's Quay game. I expcted nothing less than to turn around this dip in form. TNS again did us a favour a day before our match when they could only draw at home to Cardiff, but Barry kept up their form and blitzed Llanelli 4-2 at home. The league had turned on its head and it looked like Barry might surpass both us and TNS to win the title.

Things could not have gotten off to a worse start against Connah's Quay. A speculative ball down our left flank found Sammartino up the pitch and Rea the man to cover. He missed his interception however, and could only bring his man down from behind. It may have been a bit harsh, as men were covering, but the referee reached straight for his red card. Now we had to win and we had to do so with with 10 men. I pushed Defise forward, deciding there was no reward without risk. And it paid off. Fifty-eight minutes gone, and Nicolas Delvecchio burst on to a punt forward. His pace took him to the byline and he put in an inch perfect cross for Agyemang to slot home. It became backs to the wall after that, but we held on to maintain our chances of winning this title.

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Boy, is it close at the top.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as 17.00, Sunday 28th March 2021

Who else can I give my Player Of The Month to but Emmanuel Agyemang? It was our wide man's goal that saved our season. I'd dropped him before the game, too. Aldair Neto had taken his place on the left wing, but he had had such a bad game that I dragged him off on 48 minutes.

Youth Intake

March also saw the arrival of our new youth prospects, all of whom were vying for a contract in football. It's not as good an intake as last year.

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Joey Banks is the bigest hope among my youth coaches, and could be vying with Delvecchio in the next few seasons.

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Cian Looney is also well thought of, but I really don't see him as a winger. I'm going to suggest he be retrained to a more aggressive central midfield role. His passing is good and he has strong mental capabilities.

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And so we head on to the biggest final month there could possibly be. Three big match weekends to decide a title.

 

9th-11th April 2021

The New Saints vs Bangor City

Cardiff Met Uni vs Barry Town

16th-18th April 2021

The New Saints vs Connah's Quay

Bangor City vs Barry Town

23rd April 2021

Bangor City vs Llanelli Town

Barry Town vs The New Saints

 

Hopefully the students can do to Barry as they did to us, then we just want to win our games and hope our fellow challengers can not be seperated on the 23rd.

Did I say sparrows? I meant owls...

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Edited by anagain

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April

And so it has arrived. The month of destiny. A Welsh Premier League finish so tense you could rest a sleeping kitten on the air over the country.

This deserves to be told piece by piece. It builds the tension, you know...

Were this on ITV, they'd go for an ad break after every match. "What was the score? We'll let you know...after the break."

3rd April 2021

We started with the small matter of the Welsh Cup semi-final against Cymru North side Ruthin Town. It was clear the atmosphere in the squad was one of nervousness, and we all know these games against should win opposition are the ones that end in annoying defeat. We dominated possession but failed to use it in any meaningful way. Our shots were off target and I honestly believed Ruthin would nick it. Every time the minnows went forward I said a little prayer.

It was looking like we couldn't be seperated until up stepped our talisman, Francesco Serafino. Dave Dafydd received the ball from Neto on the edge of the D and then the lad spotted the run of Serrafino. The teenager's ball was sublime, right on to our strikers right foot and then in to the bottom right corner of the net, outside the range of the outstretched keeper.

Stage one complete. Welsh Cup Final made.

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6th April 2021

The bad news to come out of our skin of our teeth victory over Ruthin was that winger Agyemang had been ruled out for up to five weeks after a mid park collision. I needed numbers and turned to our recent triallists with the decision that we would just have to spend the money. Bad news. They'd gone back to college and given up on their dreams of a football career. Trabacca was back in Italy and the young Zimbabwean had moved to London to go to Economics school. There's no patience in football.

I had one more avenue to turn to and signed a young Welshman that I had taken on trial back in the summer. He was numbers only, but Chike Kanda signed on an amateur deal. The fans asked what I was thinking. They were probably right, but a desire to show the world what you can do can sometimes lead to greatness. My scouts are convinced he is Premier league level.

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10th April 2021

Kanda would barely have a chance to train, but he'd be in the squad for our next big game as we travelled to Oswestry to face the holders The New Saints. I called the squad together before we travelled with the aim being to boost confidence. I told them we could give ourselves a chance of winning this league if we could just put the title favourites to bed. We'd done it before, so why not again? It didn't have the desired effect and the atmosphere on the coach was one of nerves. I don't think there was a player on that bus without headphones and a look of I'd rather be in bed.

My own choice of music was Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts.

We had the cameras to deal with too, and the pre-match atmosphere was dominated by questions regarding my feud with Scott Ruscoe. I might have got in a little dig, but I'm sure had me and Scott been together we'd have told them all to bugger off or get us a beer. The New Saints form leading up to this month of champions had been as bad as ours. Four points in their last four games. Only Barry appeared to be playing with confidence, but I secretly wondered how their manager felt.

The match began in bizarre fashion when TNS defensive midfielder Kees de Boer was sent off for a horror tackle on Francesco Serafino. I imemdiately switched our impetus up and urged the team onwards. The butterflies had begun to sparkle a little. Truth be told, however, the sending off pretty much killed the game. TNS were relying on the long ball and we couldn't have hit a barn door from two foot. Our shots were closer to the corner flag.

On came Chike late in the second. "Do yourself proud", I urged him. He actually did quite well and came close to scoring late on. He might have forced an opening had he not been mugged in the TNS half very late in the game to be replaced by Harry Blackburn. My substitute for injury was injured and the game petered out to end 0-0.

A day later Barry Town met Cardiff Met Uni down south but couldn't do what I had hoped they'd do and trip up the charging bulls of Barry. Barry scored mid way through the second half to keep their run going. It was seven on the bounce for them.

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18th April 2021

The penultimate weekend arrived far too quickly for my liking. We would welcome Barry Town to Nantporth on the Sunday in what was undeniably the biggest game of my short career. Saturday did provide some good news though.

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Thank you, Connah's Quay. That left TNS equal on points at the top with Barry. Sixty-four for both, but Barry's goal difference was over ten superior. We were three points behind.

We had to win this game. Just go out and do it for the fans. A little less demanding of the players. I hope.

The game would prove a cracker. I might as well have been on the tallest, longest rollercoaster ever built such were the ups and downs.

21 mins: Nicolas Delvecchio cross and Serafino rises above the first Barry defender. His bullet header nestles in the back of the net and I'm running up and down the touchline hugging ballboys. Concentrate, concentrate.

24 mins: Balls! Barry have possession just inside our box and the ball is passed to the penalty spot, on to the foot of their striker. But Cameron Evans is there. He boots the ball away. The referee blows and points to the spot. He saw a foul. He's blind, but my protests mean for nothing. Jordan Cotterill beats Bycroft. 1-1

40 mins: "Drat and double drat, Muttley". A long ball, and Sean Hanbury takes it down and beats Simone Rea. Into the penalty area and he fires low past Bycroft. I'm livid.

H-T: We're 1-2 down and looking nervous. "You're better than this," I tell the players. "Go back out there and bloody well prove it!" There's a little more belief in the air. From them, not me.

65 mins: A corner from Neto and Delvecchio moves to the near post for one of his trade mark flick ins. He gets barged in the back. It's clear as day. The ref agrees and we have a way back in. It's down to Serafino. He fires home and we're level! We need another, and I urge the team forward. We have Barry rocking now.

74 mins: It's Rob Evans on the ball in the right corner of the box. He moves forward and swings a ball into the box. I think it's been overhit, but there's Neto arriving at the far post. 3-2. 3-bloody-2! There's 15 to go. Calm down, you fool. Organise the team.

F-T: The whistle goes and we've done it. 1-0 up. 1-2 down. 3-2 winners. I couldn't be more proud of the second half effort. We were immense.

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23rd April 2021

The final weekend of the 20-21 Welsh Premier League season. It couldn't be closer. This is the top half of the table at 19:29 that evening.

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The bottom half is pretty close too.

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And the matches to be played on this final day.

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Barry versus The New Saints is by far the biggest game of the day, but down the bottom Penybont could secure survival by beating Newtown. If Newtown lost then Carmarthen could relegate them.

For us, it was no small task of a home meeting with Llanelli Town. Their Championship Conference form was poor but for a match like this form goes out of the window. A win would give us EURO Cup II football next season. A defeat and we'd be hoping TNS would slip up.

 

Bring it on!

But first...a break...

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Edited by anagain

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Friday, 23rd April 2021

Half past seven on a cool but cloudy Friday evening (or at least in Bangor) was the start time for a final evening's entertainment in the Welsh Premier League for the 2020-21 season.

It would prove to be a momentous couple of hours.

19.30: Kick-Off. We're straight on the front foot. Let's get a win.

19.48: Gregory William Hall puts Carmarthen Town ahead at home to already relegated Caernarfon Town. They move clear of the drop zone.

20.00: Barry Town take the lead against The New Saints with a well taken Scott McHarrie header. Barry are top.

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H-T:  As it stands, Barry are champions and Penybont are going down with Caernarfon.

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Corbett Sports Welsh Premier Football League as at 20.20, Friday 23rd April 2021

20.34: Barry Town are 2-0 up through a Joe Jacobson free kick. The New Saints have it all to do.

20.35: Bangor City take the lead! Francesco Serafino towers over the Lllanelli Town defence to power home a Neto corner. 1-0 to the Citizens. We're level with Barry again. It's c'mon TNS time.

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20.39: Penybont take the lead against Newtown, a goal thats ends the mid-Wales team in to the drop zone.

20.50: Carmarthen are 3-0 up in their game. Safety looks assured for the Old Gold.

20.52: It's a penalty for Bangor. Neto is scythed down on the left side of the Llanelli area and the referee has no doubt. Serafino steps up...and scores. 2-0 Bangor!

20.54: The New Saints are back in the game. Arnór Borg Guðjohnsen deflects a Kurtis Byrne long ranger to give the Saints a hope.

21.13: A second Kostya Georgievsky goal for Penybont, securing safety for the Bont. It also condemns Newtown to relegation.

21.24: It's all over everywhere. Barry Town win the Premier League!

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Final day results and Final 2020-2021 Welsh Premier Football League table

We put in a good performance in our final game. Llanelli were well controlled and it seemed the pressure was finally off the team. There was an almighty cheer from the Bangor end when Barry Town scored their second goal. That told the players that results were in our favour, and it gave us the freedom to secure the win and almost guarantee second spot. When TNS scored I had a little secret hope that they could pull it back to 2-2 and give us the title. Barry held on though. Congratulations to them for racing up the table and clawing back the lead that TNS and ourselves had held.

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And, of course, the win secures our entry in to the EURO Cup II. Hopefully that pleases the board.

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The league is over. There's just the cup final in a week. For now, I need a lie down.

 

Edited by anagain

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May

Welsh Cup Final

The final would take place at Cardiff Met Uni's Campus ground. I'm not sure why it is the case that the final takes place at one team's home ground, but we'd have to deal with it.

We didn't.

The match got off to a terrible start. Cardiff broke on the counter and a long ball over the top confused my defence yet again and Jordan Lam slammed the ball past Gabriele Brino. One minute had passed. Things failed to get any better in the first half. We were incredibly poor, our play disjointed and many of my team looking like they'd rather be elsewhere. The match took a further turn for the worse after 27 minutes, Cameron Evans bringing down a Cardiff player in the box. The penalty was indubitably dispatched and we had it all to do.

The lads got a rollicking at half time. I was not pleased and I made sure they knew it. To give them credit the second half was much better. We pulled one goal back through Serafino, but couldn't find an equaliser. It wasn't quite their and I had to congratulate Cardiff on being the better team on the day. To my own team, there were stern words for some of my players.

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2020-2021 Welsh Premier League Season Review

Final Table (with European Qualifiers)

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Player Stats

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Bangor City Squad Stats Overview

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The 20-21 season went better than I expected, and I can't be truly unhappy to finish runners-up in both the League and the Cup. Both looked winnable at times thugh, and to have come so close is a little galling. I just think back to some of the results we had. The poor run of form in November. The late goal we conceded at TNS in February when we had look destined to get a point from a scrappy match. The fact that Cardiff Met Uni have become our bogey team. Other than the 4-0 win over the students in March, we have never had good fortune against them.

On the player front, again I have to commend Francesco Serafino. His goals were tantamount to the success we have achieved, and without our talisman I shudder to think how we would do. Simone Rea had a solid season defensively, and only really looked troubled when Lucas Defise was out of the team. Lucas was far and away our signing of the season. The young Belgian was immense and did his job quietly and effectively.

We never really found our flow on the wings this year. Our three main wingmen, Delvecchio, Neto and Agyemang, all had their moments, but each suffered patchy form. Also culpable on this front is Piero Cauterrucci. One thing I really want to have next season is solid pressure on Piero. Young Dave Dafydd may be that pressure one day and the 17 year old is really starting to develop well as a player. He signed a brand new contract as the season ended and I hope see him get more time in a Bangor shirt from August.

We take our first steps in to European competition in July, with the first qualifying round of the EURO Cup II scheduled for July 8th. I've been told my own team are not due to return from holiday until 5th July, so hopefully that can be arranged. Otherwise our European trip will be very short. The seeds are in ad we could be facing teams such as Legia Warszawa, Slovan Bratislava, Videton, Ferencvárosi or Cork City. Should we find our way through that first round, then new entries include the likes of Hibernian, Sporting Lisbon, Basel and Steaua București. It will be an adventure.

I have work to do if we're going to push on and do the double next year. 

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8 hours ago, sammummery said:

Great write up, enjoying following it!

Thank you, I'm enjoying writing it. I get carried away some times though, so glad it's being enjoyed. 

Edited by anagain

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2 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Double runners up. Good effort.

Thanks. Honestly thought I'd miss out on top two and Europe at one point.

How Barry managed to rise up from out of nowhere really shocked me. I'd started thinking things were getting easy again at one point in the season, but that climax was really tough. 

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