Something good comes out of every year.
No matter how down you are on your luck, there is usually always at least one highpoint that you can look back on and say ‘I’m glad that happened’.
Football-wise, Ynys Môn’s men winning the Inter-Island Games and the women getting to the final, as well as Caernarfon Town’s positive impact on the otherwise often sterile Cymru Premier League have been very uplifting.
As for something completely new making a difference, the birth of Bangor 1876 has been a real plus in my diary of memories.
Bangor City’s dossier of doom compiled over the past few seasons has made for extremely depressing reading.
The once-magical club has been cursed by tale after tale of misery and now represents very little of what it used to be. Even the most ardent of fans eventually lost heart in their droves.
Thankfully, some of those supporters created Bangor 1876, a project in its early stages, but still making plenty of waves and constantly building on its promise to help keep local football alive in the city.
I was there right at the very start: July 20, 2019 – FC United of Manchester v Bangor 1876.
The famous fan-owned club born out of the frustration of disillusioned Manchester United supporters were perfect first-ever opponents for the North Wales newcomers.
The result at Broadhurst Park – 12-1 to the Northern Premier League Premier Division side – was irrelevant.
What mattered was the massive turnout of supporters for both sides, creating a marvellous, memorable occasion which represented a new start for grassroots football in the Bangor area.
And that unforgettable first-ever 1876 consolation goal from Benn Lundstram!
Results improved in pre-season, and the signing of former City legends Les Davies and Michael Johnston offered much hope for the campaign ahead.
I am not sure what 1876 supporters were expecting this season, but starting off in the fifth-tier Gwynedd League did, I imagine, raise hopes of a successful start.
What has occurred has been quite remarkable: 11 straight league wins, 79 goals scored and just seven conceded.
In the cups, 10 ties, 8 wins and just two defeats against clubs in tier 2 (Ruthin Town – Welsh Cup) and tier 3 (Llanrwst United – FAW Trophy).
They ended 2019 top of the Gwynedd League, still in all domestic cups and safely into the last 16 of the NWCFA Junior Cup.
1876 have also knocked two Welsh Alliance and one Welsh National (Wrexham Area) team out of cup competitions.
In all, they have scored 121 goals in 21 matches and two of their players – Dylan Summers-Jones (33) and Jamie Petrie (32) – have netted more than 30.
On five occasions, 1876 have hit double figures in a game.
This is a squad of local lads….Davies, Johnston and Petrie have all played Welsh Premier, but are probably, with all due respect, past their peaks at that level.
The football has been majestic to watch at times, the younger element providing the pace, while the more experienced heads often pull the strings.
Although 1876 appear to be the dominant force in the Gwynedd League, they are by no means home and dry as regards the title.
Some teams have pushed them close and will do again.
But Bangor 1876 have been a great addition to North Wales football.
A board of experienced local football followers, a squad mix of youth and experience, a great band of supporters and an excellent publicity machine.
Long may their growth continue.