Friday, July 14, 2006

Another good night in Europe

Report from Welsh-Premier.com

LLANELLI celebrated their first-ever appearance in Europe with a superb
2-1 away win at Gefle IF.Two late away goals from Rhys Griffiths and sub Jacob
Mingorance gave the Reds a great chance of progressing to the second round at
the expense of the Swedes.

In the night's other Uefa Cup tie, Rhyl were held 0-0 at their Belle Vue home by Lithuanian outfit Suduva.

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I like Llanelli. Good ambitious club, with an excellent stadium. They've also got a bit of spike to them and I've had a few heated exchanges down there over the years. I remember John Lewis's team kicking lumps out of Cardiff's Youth, and City coach George Wood squaring up to a mob of local Jacks as he got on the coach after the game. A few years later I witnessed the Llanelli bench remonstrating with the visiting Bangor fans. This also nearly came to blows.

They have trouble at Llanelli, having to compete for sponsorship with the dominant Scarlets. This left Chairman Robert Jones to struggle on his own until the club was taken over by JESCO Group a few years ago.

JESCO had lofty aims for the West Walians and cited their ambition to turn professional. But best of all, they brought in some blokes with foreign names. Plenty of column inches and Spain-related headines for the Welsh media, even if the new signings didn't waltz away with the league as some of us had predicted.

But they qualified for Europe last season and last night, they came away with the Welsh Premier's best European result since Barry Town beat FC Porto. Ymlaen !

Rhyl also had a respectal result, but would have been hoping for better. It seems to me that Rhyl's star is on the wane, and they will struggle to reach the standards they set for themselves a few seasons ago. I'm not so keen on the Lilywhites, since I saw their whole boardroom invade the pitch and hassle a referee at the end of a game at Newtown before their disgruntled team set about dismantling their changing room. The ref needed an escort out of the ground as they were still waiting for him half an hour after the whistle.
Still, a 0-0 draw is no disaster and it is not unfeasible that they can score away and progress.

These results are an indicator of the progression of the Welsh Premier, on the field. Gone are the days of Ton Pentre spending their qualification money on a mound of pasties for visiting players, and it seems that TNS, Rhyl and Llanelli have prepared properly for these tricky Summer starts.

A couple of years ago, Bangor City arranged friendlies against Ragged Arse Rovers and the Dog and Duck to prepare for their European games. I mentioned this unhappy situation on a forum once, and it winged its way to Peter Davenport, then Bangor manager. "Dav" kindly took the time out to send me a thunderbolt across cyberspace pointing out the difficulties of arranging matches at this time of year, and bemoaning his lot at the helm of the Citizens.

It is rumoured (apocryphally surely ?) that Dav likes to present himself with a firm handshake and a brief introduction : "Peter Davenport, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, and England." Well, now he can add Colwyn Bay to that list, and wonder quietly at night what might have happened at Bangor with the same preparation that Rhyl, TNS and Llanelli have made for their European forays.

5 comments:

Rhys said...

With him at the helm of the Bay, I'm a bit concerned. Adie was doing a sterling job as manager, just didn't have the full backing of the board.

Mr Gasyth said...

I'm sure the good Turks of Llanelli would have something to say about being called Jacks. No wonder they reacted violently!

Mr Gasyth said...

I'm sure the good Turks of Llanelli would have somethinmg to say about being called Jacks. No wonder they reacted violently!

Gary said...

Just got back from Sweden after what was a fantastic 2nd half performance and an excellent result.

Good to see you back Eric!

Eric the Red said...

I meant Jacks as in Swansea supporters. They were chanting "Jack Army" throughout the game. Self-styled Llanelli Jacks if you like.