The New Saints have become the Welsh Premier’s first dependables in Europe
The New Saints line-up before their heroic effort against Videoton in 2015-16. Pic: Brian Jones

The New Saints‘ latest victory in Europe on Tuesday night got me thinking….

For the first time since Welsh Premier League clubs began entering European competitions in 1993-94, we finally have a team which can virtually be relied upon to win one tie at least.

TNS have got through one round of either the Uefa Champions League or Europa League in each of the past five seasons.

While the likes of Barry Town, Llanelli, Newtown, Rhyl, Bangor City, Bala Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads have all recorded some fine European results over the years, they have generally been of the one-off variety.

WPL champions Saints have established a level of consistency in Europe not achieved by our national league clubs before.

Their record of 11 match wins in 58 outings and seven tie victories out of 29 attempts might not make them Real Madrid, but it is far superior than anything else produced by the WPL.

TNS’ first eight ties in Europe between 1996-97 and 2006-07 are best forgotten about – two draws and 14 defeats in 16 games which included some very heavy hammerings.

The only highlights of this period were facing then trophy holders Liverpool in the 2005-06 Champions League and taking on Manchester City over two legs in the 2003/04 Uefa Cup. Even the latter wasn’t too much to shout about, given City were a decidedly average outfit then compared to the super-power they have since become.

TNS’ marked improvement began in 2007-08 when they beat Ventspils of Lativa 3-2 in the home leg of a CL tie to record their first-ever European victory. Sadly, the full-timers from Park Hall lost game two 2-1 to exit on away goals.

From here on, despite still regular losses, the margins of defeat have become much smaller.

TNS players celebrate their famous win over Bohemian in 2010-11. Pic: Brian Jones


In 2010-11, Saints celebrated winning their first Euro tie when they turned around a 1-0 deficit to thrash Ireland’s Bohemian 4-0 at home in the Champions League.

A two-legged success against Cliftonville in the 2011-12 Europa League was followed by a barren spell until new ground was broken in 2015-16 as the green and whites won both legs for the first time in Europe, seeing off B36 Tórshavn of the Faroe Islands 6-1 on aggregate in the CL.

They were very unlucky to get eliminated at the next stage, losing to crack Hungarian outfit Videoton 2-1 overall in extra time.

Another double success followed in 2016-17 against Tre Penne of San Marino (2-1, 3-0) and in 2017-18 they trailed 2-1 after losing at home to Gibraltar’s Europa, but turned the tables with a 3-1 away triumph for a 4-3 aggregate win.

Last season brought perhaps the most remarkable TNS performance of all in Europe.

After losing 5-0 in Macedonia to KF Shkëndija, Saints stunningly won the return 4-0 but went out of the Champions League by a single goal.

Their reward was a Europa League tie against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar which the Welsh champions won 3-2 on aggregate.

TNS midfielder Jon Routledge (right – No6) in action against Feronikeli. Pic: Brian Jones


And so to Tuesday, July 16, 2019….having been held 2-2 at home by Feronikeli, conceding twice late on, the odds were against TNS in Kosovo, but Dean Ebbe’s late winner put the visitors through to set up a second qualifying round tussle with Denmark’s FC Copenhagen next week.

One man to watch in that encounter is Irishman Ebbe, who is now TNS’ joint-second highest marksman in Europe with five goals in four games. Mike Wilde and Scott Quigley are only one ahead of the likeable striker.

So TNS are flying the flag for the Welsh Premier in some style, rising up the rankings and boosting our co-efficient.

Perhaps the next target could be a real giant-killing in Europe. All their beaten opponents have been competitive, but from generally weak footballing nations.

Copenhagen would be a real scalp, and the way Scott Ruscoe has got them playing, don’t bet against TNS causing an upset against the Danes.

The New Saints in Europe

1996-1997
(club then known as Llansantffraid)
Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup
The New Saints 1-1 Ruch Chorzow
Ruch Chorzow 5-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 1-6)

2000-2001
Uefa Champions League
The New Saints 2-2 FC Levadia Tallinn
FC Levadia Tallinn 4-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 2-6)

2001-02
Uefa Cup
Polonia Warsaw 4-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-2 Polonia Warsaw
(aggregate 0-6)

2002-03
Uefa Cup
Amica Wronki 5-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 2-7 Amica Wronki
(aggregate 2-12)

2003-04
Uefa Cup
Manchester City 5-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-2 Manchester City
(aggregate 0-7)

2004-05
Uefa Cup
Östers IF 2-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 1-2 Östers IF
(aggregate 1-4)

2005-06
Uefa Champions League
Liverpool 3-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-3 Liverpool
(aggregate 0-6)

2006-07
Uefa Champions League
MyPa-47 1-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-1 MyPa-47
(aggregate 0-2)

2007-08
Uefa Champions League
The New Saints 3-2 FK Ventspils
FK Ventspils 2-1 The New Saints
(aggregate 4-4 – Ventspils won on away goals)

2008-09
Uefa Cup
FK Sūduva 1-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-1 FK Sūduva
(aggregate 0-2)

2009-10
Uefa Europa League
Fram Reykjavik 2-1 The New Saints
The New Saints 1-2 Fram Reykjavik
(aggregate 2-4)

2010-11
Uefa Champions League
2nd QR
Bohemian 1-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 4-0 Bohemian
(aggregate 4-1)
3rd QR
The New Saints 1-3 Anderlecht
Anderlecht 3-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 1-6)
Uefa Europa League
CSKA Sofia 3-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 2-2 CSKA Sofia
(aggregate 2-5)

2011-12
Uefa Europa League
1st QR
The New Saints 1-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville 0-1 The New Saints
(aggregate 2-1)
2nd QR
The New Saints 1-3 FC Midtjylland
FC Midtjylland 5-2 The New Saints
(aggregate 3-8)

2012-13
Uefa Champions League
2nd QR
The New Saints 0-0 Helsingborgs IF
Helsingborgs IF 3-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 0-3)

2013-14
Uefa Champions League
2nd QR
The New Saints 1-3 Legia Warsaw
Legia Warsaw 1-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 1-4)

2014-15
Uefa Champions League
2nd QR
ŠK Slovan Bratislava 1-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 0-2 ŠK Slovan Bratislava
(aggregate 0-3)

2015-16
Uefa Champions League
1st QR
B36 Tórshavn 1-2 The New Saints
The New Saints 4-1 B36 Tórshavn
(aggregate 6-2)
2nd QR
The New Saints 0-1 Videoton
Videoton 1-1 The New Saints (aet)
(aggregate 1-2)

2016-17
Uefa Champions League
1st QR
The New Saints 2-1 Tre Penna
Tre Penna 0-3 The New Saints
(aggregate 5-1)
2nd QR
The New Saints 0-0 Apoel Nicosia
Apoel Nicosia 3-0 The New Saints
(aggregate 0-3)

2017-18
Uefa Champions League
1st QR
The New Saints 1-2 Europa
Europa 1-3 The New Saints
(aggregate 4-3)
2nd QR
HNK Rijeka 2-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 1-5 HNK Rijeka
(aggregate 1-7)

2018-19
Uefa Champions League
1st QR
KF Shkëndija 5-0 The New Saints
The New Saints 4-0 KF Shkëndija
(aggregate 4-5)
Uefa Europa League
2nd QR
The New Saints 2-1 Lincoln Red Imps
Lincoln Red Imps 1-1 The New Saints
(aggregate 3-2)
3rd QR
The New Saints 0-2 FC Midtjylland
FC Midtjylland 3-1 The New Saints
(aggregate 1-5)

2019-20
Uefa Champions League
1st QR
The New Saints 2-2 Feronikeli
Feronikeli 0-1 The New Saints
(aggregate 3-2)

MATCHES

Played: 58
Won: 11
Drawn: 9
Lost: 38
Goals Scored 53
Goals Against 121

TIES

Played: 29
Won: 7
Lost: 22

MATCH WINS IN EUROPE (11)

The New Saints 3-2 FK Ventspils (2007/08 Champions League)
The New Saints 4-0 Bohemian (2010/11 Champions League)
Cliftonville 0-1 The New Saints (2011/12 Europa League)
B36 Tórshavn 1-2 The New Saints (2015/16 Champions League)
The New Saints 4-1 B36 Tórshavn (2015/16 Champions League)
The New Saints 2-1 Tre Penna (2016/17 Champions League)
Tre Penna 0-3 The New Saints (2016/17 Champions League)
Europa 1-3 The New Saints (2017/18 Champions League)
The New Saints 4-0 KF Shkëndija (2018/19 Champions League)
The New Saints 2-1 Lincoln Red Imps (2018/19 Europa League)
Feronikeli 0-1 The New Saints (2019/20 Champions League)

TIE WINS IN EUROPE (7)

v Bohemian (2010/11 Champions League, 4-1 aggregate)
v Cliftonville (2011/12 Europa League, 2-1 agg)
v B36 Tórshavn (2015/16 Champions League, 6-2 agg)
v Tre Penna (2016/17 Champions League, 5-1 agg)
v Europa (2017/18 Champions League, 4-3 agg)
v Lincoln Red Imps (2018/19 Europa League, 3-2 agg)
v Feronikeli (2019/20 Champions League, 3-2 agg)

APPEARANCES

Champions League: 13
Europa League/Uefa Cup: 9
European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1

MOST INDIVIDUAL APPEARANCES

Paul Harrison 42

MOST GOALS

Michael Wilde/Scott Quigley 6

TNS GOALSCORERS IN EUROPE

6 – Mike Wilde, Scott Quigley
5 – Dean Ebbe, Matty Williams
4 – Steve Evans
3 – Alex Darlington
2 – Craig Jones, Phil Baker, John Toner, Aeron Edwards, Greg Draper, 2 own goals
1 – Anthony Wright, Steve Anthrobus, Barry Hogan, Martyn Naylor, Chris Sharp, Ryan Fraughan, Adrian Cieslewicz, Blaine Hudson; Danny Redmond, Ben Cabango, Jamie Mullan, Kurtis Byrne.

  • All stats correct up to and including July 16, 2019.
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