Recently in North Wales I passed the closed ground of Bangor City which has not been used since they abruptly ended their fixtures not even halfway through last season. Bangor City had an illustrious past as one of Wales most successful sides and were renowned for their European nights. But all had not been well at the club, one of the oldest in the UK and one of the founder members of the Cymru Premier (Welsh National League).
Perhaps the beginning of the end was when they moved from their atmospheric Farrar Road ground, that they had used for nearly 100 years, when it was redeveloped as an Asda supermarket and they moved into a new purpose built stadium with views up and down the Menai Straits. The new ground with its provision for 1500 seats would enable Bangor to welcome European games should they qualify as they had always had to play at other North Wales grounds in the past due to their home ground not coming up to UEFA standards.
The club, one of the oldest in the UK, was founded in 1876 and was instrumental in being founder members of many of the premier leagues in Wales as well as the Northern Premier League in England. They took part in the inaugural Welsh Cup and won it on eight times including three back to back victories in 2008/2009/2010 and won the Welsh Premier League three times.
Their new ground was not without local controversy, The Nantporth Stadium (Bangor University Stadium) was built for Bangor Council and leased to the football club for I believe 30 years. It was finally opened in December 2012 having been started in 2008. The Auditor General of Wales review of the lease in December 2020 critisised the councils governance over the lease and recommended that in future there should be proper recording of all meetings where the public and the press are not present and that they should ensure the appropriate advice is taken prior to decision making.
After falling to near the bottom of the Cymru Premier in 2016 the club was sold to a Cheshire based consortium who promised strong investments into all aspects of the club. Members of the Vaughn family were involved in running the club. In April 2018 the Football Association of Wales Club Licensing Appeals Body decided to revoke Bangor’s Tier 1 and UEFA license due to not meeting financial criteria and the club were to be relegated to the second tier the following season. HMRC in June 2018 revoked a second winding up order for non payment of tax as it was paid late but their auditors resigned in October 2018.
In 2019 the FAW charged the club with varying offences which would have resulted in points deductions but the club were eventually successful in challenging all of these. By September of 2019 the owners of the club, VSN, sold their shares to an Italian based musician Domenico Serafino whose son was a Bangor City player.
Serafino brought in Pedro Pasculli as manager whose pedigree included a World Cup medal with Argentina. The Covid restricted season, 2019/20 was based on points per game played before the cessation of the league program and Bangor finished 5th in the second tier. The 2020/21 season was totally scraped due to Covid restrictions but in April the clubs Tier 1 license was refused due to the non provision of accounts and the issue of coaching qualifications. Another new head coach was hired but non payment of player wages was the latest problem and it became known that the same issue had arisen at an Italian club owned by Domenico Serafino, A.S. Sambenedettese that had been declared bankrupt and expelled from their league. The FAW called the club to a disciplinary hearing in October 2021 to put their case and ruled that all outstanding monies should be paid within 31 days. When this deadline passed the FAW fined Bangor City and deducted 3 points for each un played game until 18th February when the club informed them that they had withdrawn from the league. At the end of February a club that was recognised as Bangor City was offered for sale for £1.25 million.
Since then there has been no further published information but the majority of supporters have now switched allegiances to a newly formed fan-led club, Bangor 1876 FC. The new club have been elected to the third tier of Welsh football after finishing fourth in their league last year.
They are playing at the Treborth Ground of the University of Bangor and as they progress maybe one day they may play at Nantporth.
Wimbledon made it back to the English Football League and a ground in Plough Lane, Clapton will soon be back at The Old Spotted Dog ground and Bury F.C. have regained Gigg Lane so anything is possible.
Lets hope that Bangor will once again be involved in European football.