Happy birthday to a Bangor City hero

Aled Rowlands (front row, second from left) celebrates winning the 2000 Welsh Cup with Bangor City

Back in 2000 he was man of the match in the Welsh Cup Final for Bangor City.

A former Wales Under-21 international, he spent three years at Manchester City and won the Island Games gold medal with Ynys Môn.

Today, he is 43 – happy birthday Aled Rowlands.

Born on June 9, 1978, the Valley-based left-back or left-winger is one of the brightest talents to emerge from Anglesey over the past 20 years or so.

His international experience included playing in Under-21 Euro qualifiers for Wales against the Netherlands in 1996-97.

On October 3, 1996, he started in a 2-0 defeat at Ninian Park, Cardiff, and came on as a sub a month later in a 1-0 win at the Rat Verlegh Stadium in Breda.

Aled was a Manchester City prospect between 1995-98, a period which saw the club relegated from the Premier League and spend two seasons in Division One before dropping into Division Two.

He did not make a first-team appearance for City and joined League of Ireland club Sligo Rovers in 1998.

Bangor City came calling in 1999/2000 and the left-footer, who could excel in defence or midfield, soon became a key player at Farrar Road.

He was a member of the Citizens side which on May 7, 2000, defeated Cwmbran Town 1-0 at the Racecourse to clinch the Welsh Cup for a fifth time in the club’s history.

Aled (left) with Bangor City team-mates Sean Hazelden and Graham Brett

Covering every blade of grass on the pitch, he was adjudicator Ian Walsh’s choice as man of the match.

Aled went on to represent City six times in European competition, performing in home and away legs against Sweden’s Halmstads (2000/01 UEFA Cup), Sartid Smederevo of Yugoslavia (2002/03 UEFA) and Gloria Bistrita from Romania (2003/04 Inter-Toto).

He spent five seasons at Bangor, making 133 League of Wales appearances for the club (15 as substitute) and netting five goals. Although highly regarded at Farrar Road, his time there could have been even more productive but for bad luck with injuries.

In 2004/05, Rowlands joined Porthmadog, where he spent three more LoW seasons, playing in another 49 games to make his overall top-flight stats 182 matches (28 as sub) and five goals.

After ending his stint in the Welsh Premier, he later represented Llanfairpwll.

Aled has enjoyed a number of representative honours throughout his career, which almost included a full set of Welsh caps.

He played Schoolboy (Under 15, Under 16, Under 18 and Under 21 – a total of 23 appearances).

Aled earned five Wales U21 caps and also won the Northern Ireland Milk Cup with the U18s.

In 1999, Rowlands was a member of Ynys Môn’s International Island Games winning squad in Gotland.

He scored in a 3-1 semi-final victory over the Isle of Wight before featuring in Anglesey’s 1-0 success against the Isle of Man in the showpiece game.

Polite and likable and never giving less than 100%, Aled will always be remembered with fondness by Bangor City fans and many others.

Happy birthday Aled, have a great day.

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