Hundreds of fans of the newly formed Clwb Pêl-Droed Bangor 1876 Football Club are expected to travel to Manchester tomorrow, to watch the club play their inaugural fixture against FC United of Manchester in a pre-season friendly.
In echoes of FC United’s formation in 2005 by disaffected supporters of Manchester United, a group of Bangor City fans, unhappy with club owners Vaughan Sports Management, voted in May to form a breakaway club of their own.
After the three times Welsh Premier League champions were demoted from the top tier of Welsh football for ‘financial reasons’ the full extent of their financial problems became known, with players and suppliers going unpaid and at one stage during last season Bangor City had to play their home fixtures at other grounds after electricity and water bills were unpaid and the supplies were cut off.
In June Bangor City were again faced with a High Court winding up order over an unpaid tax bill. Added to this the club had fallen foul of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) rules by allegedly failing to register players correctly, not paying players and playing ineligible players in a number of matches.
Bangor City were subsequently given a 42 point deduction, which was later reduced to 21 points on appeal and the club narrowly avoided relegation by goal difference. While the club have now taken the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in an attempt to clear their name, the FAW have brought a new charge of playing an ineligible player, which could see the City relegated to the third tier of Welsh football after all.
The Bangor fans, fed up with the way that their club was being run, and fearing for the future of top flight football in the city, voted to form a supporter owned club incorporated, like FC United, as a community benefit society, often known as a Football Trust.
A statement by the Bangor City Supporters Association following the formation of the new club made it clear that “we are not disowning Bangor City FC or its history, the club is ours, it belongs to the fans and the local community”.
The name Bangor 1876 acknowledges the origins of organised football in the city and the club’s badge incorporates the city’s coat of arms.
The Football Association of Wales have confirmed that the newly formed club will begin life in the Gwynedd League, the fifth tier of Welsh football, for the 2019-20 season with the club playing its home matches at Bangor University’s new 3G Pitch facility at Treborth.
FC United’s chairman Adrian Seddon said: “The similarities behind the formation of Bangor 1876 will resonate with supporters of FC United and for us the announcement of this fixture will bring back many memories of the summer of 2005.
“Fourteen years ago, almost to the day, AFC Wimbledon welcomed our fledgling club to Kingsmeadow for our second ever fixture and a bond was created between our two clubs that continues to this day.
“We are delighted that Bangor supporters will get to see the club they own run out at Broadhurst Park and we can share in that special moment just as Wimbledon fans did with us.”
Kevin Owen, speaking on behalf of Bangor 1876, said that “CPD Bangor 1876 FC are absolutely thrilled that FC United of Manchester have agreed to host our first ever fixture at Broadhurst Park on Saturday 20th July.
“The parallels behind the foundation of both clubs reflect a common bond between the two teams and we are grateful for FC United’s support as we begin our journey as Bangor 1876.
“We hope to emulate a degree of FC United’s success as we seek to restore a sense of pride for football fans and the community in the Bangor area. We thoroughly look forward to what will no doubt be an auspicious occasion for both our club and fans”.
Former Bangor City striker Chris Sharp could feature for FC United tomorrow, others who have played for FC United and Bangor City include Phil Priestley, Kyle Jacobs, Liam Brownhill, Rhodri Giggs and Kyle Wilson.
Bangor 1876 are guaranteed a warm welcome at the impressive Broadhurst Park Stadium in North East Manchester for what is a historic occasion, especially for the fledgling club, manager Mel Jones and his newly recruited squad and the travelling Bangor fans.
Match Day Info:
Saturday 20th July KO 3pm
FC United v Bangor 1876
Broadhurst Park Lightbowne Road, Moston, M40 0FJ
£7 Adults, £4 Concessions, £1 u/18s
Turnstiles open at 1pm
Pre-Season Friendly Programme (covering all games) : £2 | Team Sheet: 50p
From 1pm in the SMRE Bar (under the large terrace), we have a ’Course You Can Malcolm’ featuring live music and poetry together with tater ash and a guest ale from The Wild Horse Brewing Company from North Wales, alongside the usual range of beers and lagers. The SMRE Bar will close after half-time.
The Main Stand Function Room will open at 12 noon and closes at 8pm. Between 1pm and 6pm food will be served. Access to the Main Stand before the turnstiles open is via the Main Reception Entrance.
All other food outlets are open serving the full repertoire of matchday food.
The Cask Ale Bar situated under the Main Stand will be serving two guest beers from Beartown brewery. This bar opens at 1pm and closes after half-time.
The club shop will be open from 1pm-3pm and from 4.45pm-5.30pm.
There are no shuttle buses running on Saturday (and not for any of the pre-season friendlies). However supporters can catch the number 181/182 bus from Lever Street in Manchester city centre, which stops outside the ground. Alternatively alight the Metrolink tram at Newton Heath / Moston followed by a 20 minute walk to the ground.
Car Parking is available at the ground for £5 or alternatively at nearby St. Matthews School for £3.
Post Match in the Main Stand Function Room
5:30pm: FC players to join supporters in the bar. There will be food for players and also a chicken curry for fans.
6:30pm – An Introduction to the Players by Manager Neil Reynolds – he will introduce each player and get one or two to say a few words too.
6:45pm – Words from a representative of Bangor 1876.
6:50pm – Presentation of the FA People’s Cup to the FC United disability team. We will possibly have the Manchester FA Women’s Challenge Cup final and the Argyle Sports Cup to the Women’s team but we are awaiting confirmation of that.
7:30pm – Coaches to Bangor depart