Manager Neville Powell could not hide his pride as Bangor City FC booked their place in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League with a 2-0 victory over Rhyl FC in Saturday's Welsh Premier League play-off final.
"It's unbelievable when you think about it, we just wanted to make it into the top six and see where it took us, and now we're in Europe," Powell told UEFA.com following his side's win. "The youngsters this year have been like a breath of fresh air. When you mix that with the experienced players and the local players who know what it means to play for Bangor City, it's a great combination."
Les Davies opened the scoring for Bangor on 64 minutes, a little under a quarter of an hour after Rhyl's Peter Dogan had been sent off. Davies's strike partner Chris Jones added a second from the penalty spot ten minutes later, much to the delight of the majority of the 1,442 in attendance – the biggest Welsh Premier League crowd of the season. Rhyl then had Tom Donegan dismissed in the dying seconds.
"Les created the only goal last week [in the semi-final win against Newtown AFC] and he was unplayable," added Powell of his prized asset. "He is the first name on the team sheet and he would be for every team I have managed in the last 20 years. He is Mr Bangor City and he typifies everything that we are about."
Defender Michael Johnston – made captain in the summer in the absence of long-term injury victim James Brewerton – fully-appreciated the significance of the achievement. "It's brilliant," said the 26-year-old. "We made a few changes in the summer and the lads who have come in have made us better.
"We all work for each other, and that's what has got us into Europe. It's massive for the club. Missing out on Europe last season brought us closer together, it opened a few people's eyes. It's amazing to be captain on a brilliant occasion like this, which doesn't come around very often, and it's a great honour for me personally."
Powell represented Bangor as a player in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, when the north Wales outfit were eliminated by Club Atlético de Madrid in the second round. Since taking charge of the squad in May 2007, only once has he failed to qualify for Europe.
"I've got Bangor blood running through my veins and it's a privilege and a pleasure to be manager," he added. "We have a small squad, but they have taken us over the line today. There's a strong bond and team spirit here and they are up there with the best teams that we have had at this club.
"We're back in Europe and we need to be in Europe. Bangor City is a big club and there are fantastic people running it, and when you look at the support here today, that is what football is all about."
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