European football is rather exciting!!!!

29 06 2014

Last Sunday Bangor fans were rather excited. We knew we could draw any of the following team in Monday’s draw;

Fola Esch
Crusaders
Sant Julià
Shirak
Veris Chișinău
Gabala
Mika
Sioni Bolnisi
Hibernians
Sliema Wanderers
Čelik Nikšić
Astana
Fram Reykjavík
Jelgava
Víkingur
Kairat
Laçi
Turnovo
Dundalk
VPS
Stjarnan
Banga Gargždai
Daugava Rīga
Lovćen Cetinje
B36 Tórshavn
UE Santa Coloma
Sillamäe Kalev
Atlantas
ÍF
Glenavon
Libertas
Santos Tartu
Folgore
College Europa

The appetites of discovery were whetted. The draw covered nearly every corner of Europe; from Gibraltar on the outer edge of the Mediterranean to within touching distance of Chinese border in Kazakhstan, from the edge of the Arctic circle to the shores of the Caspian, from the Baltic to Dublin Bay.

Well I say all appetites were whetted but mine wasn’t, the date of the first qualifying round matches meant I would’t be able to go. If we get through to the 2nd qualifying round I’ll only be able to go to the away match if we’re away in the second leg. Never mind though, it’s been like that for the last 5 years and I’m used to it. Having said that it still hurts when you see people discussing travel plans on facebook, nothing every quells that pain.

By Sunday evening we knew of Bangor’s subgroup in the draw. We were in group 6;

Seeded Clubs

1 Aberdeen FC (SCO)
2 AS Jeunesse Esch (LUX)
3 Tromsø IL (NOR)
4 FK Ekranas (LTU)
5 Myllykosken Pallo-47 (FIN)
6 Bangor City FC (WAL)

Unseeded Clubs

7 Dundalk FC (IRL)
8 Stjarnan (ISL)

9 Crusaders FC (NIR)
10 Tartu FC Santos (EST)
11 ÍF Fuglafjørdur (FRO)
12 FK Daugava Rīga (LVA)

Sadly we’ve missed the chance for a linguistic derby with Lithuania’s Banga. I’ve noticed a metaphorical slight of hand at this level of European football,  sides might look “beatable” but you don’t know what to expect. Even clubs from the “weaker” leagues can play a bit. Consequently I wasn’t sure what to hope for. The Estonians and Latvians are probably skillful, the Icelandic team are probably tricky and the Northern Irish side will be up for it.

In the end we drew Stjarnan. Stjarnan? Who are Stjarnan? A you tube search uncovered  a load of rehearsed goal celebrations.

I’m not sure what these clips tell us about their footballing abilities. Anyway it doesn’t matter I can’t go, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland as well. UEFA also made drew the next round and the winners of Stjarnan v Bangor City will play Motherwell.

That was more like it!!! Then I noticed that if we got through we’d be playing away in Motherwell in the first leg, which means I couldn’t go. Bollocks. Bollocks to it all. I mean that’s just bloody typical that is.

Even though I won’t be able to take a full part in this season’s European adventure I was still excited by the prospect of EUROPEAN FOOTBALL IN BANGOR. Exotic international visitors, summer evenings, a chance of glory, aaaaaaah European football. Europe brings the stuff that makes the trips to Aberystwyth, Afan Lido and Airbus worthwhile.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this banner on the Internet a couple of days later.

Europa League

Finding stuff in foreign languages about Bangor City is why I love European football.

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