Supporters of newly-formed Bangor 1876 Football Club could hardly have wished for two more suitable first signings to get their summer dreams off to a red-hot start.
Bangor City legends Les Davies and Michael Johnston have been announced as the first players to commit themselves to fan-owned 1876.
Striker Davies, 34, and defender Johnston, 31, represented City during a golden period under Neville Powell between 2007-11, when the club won three Welsh Cups in a row, landed their first Welsh Premier title in 16 years and were successful in Europe.
Both Davies and Johnston can be expected to make a major impact for new club Bangor 1876, who begin life in 2019-20 in the Gwynedd League, a fair standard below where these Welsh internationals are used to operating.
The pair have made more than 650 starts between them in the Welsh Premier League. Davies reached the 400-mark last season while playing for Llandudno, while Johnston has started 250 WPL matches exactly.
Both players are committed to the Bangor 1876 project and will also lay the foundations for the future as they have been recruited not only as players but also as coaches with a remit to develop young, local talent.
Plans are underway for Davies and Johnston to begin their pathway into coaching during the coming season.
Davies said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge ahead. I’m committed to giving the fans a football club that they can be proud of, and one that they and the community can support.”
Johnston added: “The people of Bangor are close to my heart and it’s an exciting opportunity that I’m proud to be involved with.
“I’m really looking forward to sharing my experience with young local talent and hope that this will put them and the Bangor 1876 in good stead for the future.”
After a short spell with Caernarfon Town early in his career, Davies first made waves as a powerful 18-year-old striker for Cymru Alliance club Glantraeth during their Welsh Cup run of 2003-04, which included a shock elimination of Bangor City.
The Citizens soon snapped him up, and he spent two seasons at Farrar Road before switching to fellow WPL club Porthmadog for the next two campaigns.
Nev Powell brought Davies back to Bangor in 2007-08 and the striker, who acquired the nickname “The Truck”, was with the Citizens for the next eight seasons, winning numerous honours before signing for Connah’s Quay Nomads in August 2015.
Davies joined Bala Town in June 2017 before returning for a third spell to Bangor, now a Huws Gray Alliance club, last season under Craig Harrison.
In January 2019, Llandudno became his sixth Welsh Premier club. He left Maesdu Park this summer and agreed to join former boss Powell at Aberystwyth Town, but has had a change of mind and committed to Bangor 1876.
In July 2012, Davies made international headlines when he was nominated for Uefa’s Best Player in Europe award.
The then Bangor City striker was on a 32-man list which also included Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The list was drawn up by one selected journalist from each Uefa member country voting for five players.
A single nomination was enough to earn Davies’ place. That nominator was named in many national publications as an “unknown Welsh journalist” – and who are we to spoil the secret!
Davies has represented Wales at under-18 and U-21 level, as well as being capped for the U-23 semi-professional team.
A Wales Under-17 and U-19 international, Johnston was a Tranmere Rovers reserve who joined Bangor City on loan in September 2007.
After being voted 2007-08 Player of the Season for the Welsh Cup winners, he was released from Prenton Park in April 2008 and signed a two-year deal to remain at Bangor.
“Johnno” went on to spend eight seasons with the Citizens, establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Welsh Premier, winning three Welsh Cup winners’ medals and a WPL title along the way.
He made 235 top-flight appearances for the club before signing for Llandudno in 2015-16.
Later spells at Caernarfon Town and Brickfield Rangers followed before Johnston landed back at Bangor City under Gary Taylor-Fletcher in February 2019.
CPD Bangor 1876 have appointed Mel Jones as first team manager and Dylan Williams as his assistant.
Bangor-born Jones is an A licence coach with vast experience as a long-serving head of academy.
Well-known in local footballing circles, he has been appointed, not only fir his coaching capabilities and knowhow, but also for his reputation for developing young talent.
Williams has been a successful head coach with local development sides and was instrumental in laying the foundations for the Llandudno FC Academy.
He will be working towards attaining his A licence qualifications.
Bangor 1876 can also reveal they have struck a deal with Teejac Sports as the official kit supplier for the new fan-owned club.
The link up with Teejac reflects a firm commitment from Bangor 1876 to work closely with local suppliers and the business community.
The official club colours acknowledge the city of Bangor’s proud footballing heritage and pays tribute to the colour scheme chosen by the founders of Bangor’s original football club in 1876.
Home shirts are royal blue with red trim, matched with white shorts and blue socks, while the change strip will red shirts, shorts and socks with blue trim.
Replica kit will be available to purchase in due course.
First Friendly v FC United of Manchester
Clwb Pêl-Droed Bangor 1876 Football Club is thrilled to announce their inaugural fixture will be against fellow fan-owned club FC United of Manchester on Saturday, July 20.
The pre-season friendly will take place at FC United’s impressive Broadhurst Park home, the first-ever ground to be built and funded by a supporter-owned club.
Adrian Seddon, chair of the FCUM board, stated: “The similarities behind the formation of Bangor 1876 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 in four weeks time 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.”
In May 2005, FC United was set up as a member-owned democratic, not-for-profit organisation created by Manchester United fans. The club secured a ground share with Bury FC at Gigg Lane and successfully applied for membership of the North West Counties Football League.
A hat-trick of promotions followed as the club made rapid progress through the NWCFL, UniBond Division One North and UniBond Premier League. After six successive seasons in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, the 2014-15 season saw FC United achieve promotion after four play-off heartbreaks. The season was rounded off in style as FC United opened their new Broadhurst Park home by entertaining Portuguese giants Benfica in a friendly.
Promotion to the National League North for the 2015-16 season would see FC United maintain their status until experiencing the disappointment of relegation for the first time in their history last season.
FCUM will begin the 2019-20 season as members of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division
Broadhurst Park is covered on all sides, with standing and seating in the main stand and a large and expansive home standing area behind the goal, FC United’s purpose-built 4,400 capacity new ground shows what can be achieved when football fans with a vision work together and make things happen.
Members were involved at every stage during the design and construction process and the result is a stadium and community facility that is the envy of many clubs in higher leagues.
A CPD Bangor 1876 FC spokesman said: “Our club would like to express their gratitude to FC United of Manchester for making the fixture possible. 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 wider community in the Bangor area. We thoroughly look forward to what will no doubt be an auspicious occasion for both our club and fans.”