Bangor City has one of the best players in Europe. FACT!!!!!!

18 07 2012

Here’s what happened yesterday………

I’d been without internet access on Monday evening so yesterday morning I logged on a Bangor City message board to see if anything momentous had happened.

Almost as soon as I started reading the messages I was seized by disbelief.  I could see words on the screen and I knew what they meant I just didn’t believe what they were saying.

According the messages Bangor City’s Les Davies has been nominated for the “2011/12 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.”  I looked at the words on the screen and wondered how a player from little old Bangor City could bare comparison with Messi, Pirlo and Iniesta? Especially with Platini’s well-known vendetta against Bangor City.

I logged on to Twitter to see if the story was true. To judge from the tweets directing me towards broadsheet websites  the story appeared to be true. The Guardian, Times and Telegraph wouldn’t lie, would they? Even the Spanish media are on to “Big Les”.  When I saw that somebody on Twitter had proper proof I started to believe that it was all true;;

Just to be sure I checked UEFA’s website. The first thing I saw was a picture of Les. I thought I’d better save a bit more evidence so I took a screenshot;

If Platini wakes up and denies us our moment of glory by deciding it was all a mistake at least I have proof that the name of a Bangor City player appeared on a list alongside superstars.

So it looks like it really is true, Bangor City does have has one of the 32 best players in Europe playing for them.

I didn’t need UEFA to tell me that there was something special about Les, I, like every other Bangor fan already knew he was something special. Everybody else has been slow on the uptake. The reason for the time lag is simple; the Welsh Premier League doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in a world under the spell of Champions League hype.

I knew that we had a special player on our hands when Les played for Bangor the first time. During Les’ first full season there was a tangible crackle of excitement whenever the ball was near him. You just knew that something exciting was going to happen.  “The Truck” would instantly control any pass, perform a little turn and then rampage through defences. No defence was safe, no defence was impregnable. Les was so strong that if even when he was faced by three defenders he would still retain possession.

You could tell that Bangor fans weren’t the only people that thought Les was a great player; he was called up to the Welsh Under 21 squad in 2004 (WPL players don’t normally play international football) and jealous opposition fans would hurl abuse at him.

Les had made such an impact on me that when he left Bangor in 2005 I was almost inconsolable. Things would never be the same again. Porthmadog fans would be witnessing his charging runs, turns and block buster shooting from then on. The season’s first edition of Sgorio (S4Cs football highlights programme) added to my gloom; I watched Les dribble through a defence as though they weren’t there and then smash the ball in. I cursed to myself, he should have still been at Bangor, he should have still been at Bangor!!!

When he was at Porthmadog Les taught me stuff; he showed me just how hard footballers kick footballs. During the pre-match warm up before his first visit back to Farrar Road Les was warming up by having shots at the goal. One of Les’ shot was just too high and the ball headed in my direction. My reflexes and instincts made me attempt to catch the ball but the ball was travelling too quickly, all I could do was palm the ball downwards. The sting in my palms was only matched by the pain in my heart. The sting may have died down after 15 minutes but the heartache remained; Les scored a fantastic goal in the match, he should have still been playing for us!!

In 2007 Les thankfully returned to Bangor. Nev Powell, already a Bangor legend from his playing days, enticed “The Truck” back home. Les’ second coming has had a magical effect on the club. Since 2007 Les has played a major part in our a seemingly never-ending journey of glory;  Welsh Champions , 3 consecutive Welsh Cups and European qualification for five consecutive seasons. Our European adventures have added yet more to the Les legend; FC Midtjylland’s website glorified Les as “En tung tank forward”, which roughly translates as “heavy tank forward”.

Les has been integral to the Bangor City’s recent success because he still offers a potent combination of raw energy, power and skill that literally scares defenders , and were not talking about effete Bentley owners here we’re talking about semi-pro hard cases. Alongside the undeniable panache there’s the evident application to the Bangor cause; Les often runs himself into exhaustion

It’s not just Les’ footballing prowess that stands out. There’s his self-effacing nature and his obvious passion for his club and home area. There’s the fact when he was suspended for the last game of last season (the title decider versus XXX XXX XXXXXX) he stood with the fans behind the goal. He even stood with the fans when we all left the XXX XXX XXXXXX’s pathetic stadium to watch the match from a nearby hill. If ever there was a player that was emblematic of a club it’s Les Davies.

Some people may argue that the inclusion of Les in the list of patently world-class players is idiotic. Other people may say that this decision makes Wales look foolish in front of the eyes of Europe. These people have forgotten what football is about, football is not simply a melodramatic soap opera powered by oligarchical largesse.

Romance still has a place in the sport. As Dave Jones, the Daily Post journalist that nominated Les for the award, says Les deserves to be up there. He’s right, why should the prizes and awards and attention be restricted to so-called glamourous players, players that most people only see on television? Isn’t football about more than hype and PR?

I never thought that I would be able to look at a list of superstar candidates for “European Player of the Year” and say that I once bought a Mars bar for one of them but now I can. I can’t really tell you how proud that makes me feel.

Here’s Les in action;

Behold the first goal!

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