PICTURE by Bangor City FC.
IT WON’T be a surprise to many people out there to hear that much has changed at Bangor City in the last five years.
On May 13, 2017 though at least, it had seemed as though the good times were back for the club when it secured a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds following a play-off victory over Cardiff Met in which forward Dean Rittenberg scoring the only goal of the game at Nantporth.
Several controversies, one relegation and nearly three years later and none of the squad that played that day remain at the club. So, where are they now? Here’s a quick look at what the 13 players have been/are up to since departing The Citizens.
1 Connor Roberts (Goalkeeper)
One of the star men on the day City qualified for the Europa League play-offs as he kept Cardiff Met’s danger men at bay with a string of fine saves to deny them a goal.
The Wrexham-born keeper had been with Bangor since 2015 and did stay with the club until June 2018, when he departed to Cymru Premier champions The New Saints (TNS). He then moved to Llandudno on a short loan deal before moving on loan again to Aberystwyth Town – where he has spent the 2019/20 season.
6 Gary Roberts (Defender)
Reliable and hard-working full-back who had previously been with a host of English Football League sides including Yeovil Town and Rotherham United, as well as spells in Malta and with Connah’s Quay Nomads before arriving in Bangor at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
After helping The Citizens qualify for the Europa League, he left under a shadow of controversy when his contract was terminated just few days before City’s big Europa League qualifier against Lyngby at Nantporth.
Since leaving the club, he’s played for Stockport and current club Chester who play in the National League North.
5 Anthony Miley (Defender)
Club captain on that day in 2017, who had been with Bangor since 2013 and become a real fans favourite at Nantporth.
The scouse centre back put in a solid performance against Cardiff Met as his side kept a clean sheet. At the time, he was undoubtedly one of the bes tin his position in the WPL.
Miley stayed at City for another year after their Europa League play-off win before departing for Cymru Premier side Bala Town. He then went onto sign for a club a little closer to home – Merseyside-based club Marine FC – in August 2019, where he has remained ever since.
2 Laurence Wilson (Defender)
Another scouser in the team and another former English Football League player who made more than 300 appearances for the likes of Mansfield Town, Chester City and Accrington Stanley at that level, operating as both a full-back and a midfielder. He signed for The Citizens in August 2016 and became a regular starter at left back.
Wilson eventually left City for Cymru Premier side Connah’s Quay Nomads in May 2018. He went on to make 22 appearances for Andy Morrison’s side, scoring one goal, before retiring in January 2019 at the age of 32.
30 Paul Connolly (Defender)
Another hugely experienced player within this side, Connolly was a full-back who had previously played for clubs as big as Leeds United, Sheffield United and Derby County and as high up in the football league system as The Championship.
The Liverpudlian first came into the world of Welsh football when he signed for Airbus Broughton UK in June 2016, before going on loan to Bangor City soon after. The move later became permanent and, unsurprisingly, Connolly would go on to become a solid and reliable defender for Bangor.
However, he retired from the game aged 34 in June 2017, just a month or so after Bangor had played in the play-off.
27 Henry Jones (Midfielder)
Enjoyed a phenomenal campaign during his one and only season at Nantporth, culminating in him being voted the club’s Player of the Season following the Europa League play-off win. Jones, 21 at the time, was also voted as the Welsh Premier League’s Young Player of the Season and made it into the WPL Team of the Season.
Jones came through the ranks of Swansea City and his class was evident on the pitch with City. However, after such a great season with them, he departed for ambitious National League side AFC Fylde who had been impressed by his performances.
And that form continued as he scored five and assisted four in 23 appearances there, but a year later, he was back in Welsh football when Bala Town swooped in to secure his services. He’s still with The Lakesiders now and is undoubtedly one of the best middle-men in Wales’ top flight.
In his debut campaign for Bala, Jones was incredible, scoring 15 goals and providing 15 assists in 32 games, and also making an appearance for the Wales C squad.
16 Danny Gosset (Midfielder)
A local lad in the side who was much-loved by the Bangor faithful. Gosset, 21 at the time, was a real workhorse in midfield who could also play a great pass.
Having started out at Olhdam Athletic’s academy (and playing for the first team twice), he went onto begin his Welsh footballing journey with Rhyl back in 2014 and later made a switch to TNS. But it was once he signed for Bangor in June 2016 that he really began to make an impact on Wales’ top flight. He played more than 60 times for City and made his Europa League debut appearance on June 29 2017 away at Danish side Lyngby BK.
Gosset then signed for Bala Town on August 2018, where he again became a pivotal part of the starting eleven. However, exactly a year later, the midfielder announced he was fighting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had to take time out of the game to undergo chemotherapy.
In January of this year, Gosset announced that he was now clear from cancer and hopes to return to football in the near future. I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say I wish him all the best!
7 Brad Jackson (Midfielder)
At the time, 20 years old, but showed what he could do whilst playing on loan for City from Burnley. He could play anywhere across the midfield.
When his spell at Nantporth came to an end at the end of the season, Jackson then went on loan to Southport before being released by Burnley and joining National League North side Ashton Unite. In December 2018, he joined fellow NLN side Chester – who he currently plays for.
8 Damien Allen (Midfielder, 79’)
Another fans favourite at City over the years, Allen was with Manchester United as a youngster, before featuring for Stockport County where he made 57 league appearances. He then spent time on loan with Royal Antwerp in Belgium before joining Morecambe in August 2007. Moves to Halifax, Bury and Colwyn Bay followed, before he eventually signed for City in November 2011.
He was a real key player in Bangor’s side for many a season and always gave 110% for the side. He made more than 150 league appearances in his seven years at the club before moving on to Aberystwyth Town in January 2018 and then fellow top-flight side Newtown just five months later.
Allen retired in July 2019, aged 32.
25 Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Player-manager/Attacker, 62’)
The man all fans of the league were talking about during the 2016/17 season, and one who brought some media attention to Wales’ top flight too as a former English Premier League player with Blackpool.
Having played for a host of other big EFL clubs over the years, including Leicester City and Huddersfield Town, a then 34-year-old GTF arrived at Nantporth as something of a star and was looked up to by many.
He took on the role of player-manager at the club and was just as influential on the pitch as he was off of it, becoming the play-maker within this City team and also scoring nine league goals along the way to European qualification.
He departed for Llandudno in November 2018, scoring twice on his debut there in a 4-2 defeat to Bala Town, but then returned to Bangor just a few weeks later as manager of the club, whilst also playing for the club in the Cymru Alliance.
After that adventure, he went back to Llandudno as manager, before leaving just two days later due to business commitments. He officially retired as a player in June 2019, aged 37.
10 Dean Rittenberg (Attacker)
A product of the Blackburn Rovers academy and the scorer of the only goal of the game against Cardiff Met to send Bangor into Europe. The lively forward, who could also play out wide, proved to be a problem for defenders with his pace.
Speaking to AFE soon after the win over Cardiff Met, Rittenberg said: “Yeah that was a great feeling scoring the winner because that was the main aim of our season: to qualify for Europe!
“It was definitely what we deserved from our season and also a good experience to play a couple of games in the competition (against Lyngby BK).”
Having enjoyed a good spell at Bangor, he made the switch to fellow Cymru Premier side Cefn Druids in August 2018, where he remains to this day.
11 Sion Edwards (Attacker, 62’)
A Bangor legend who was part of the 2010-11 Welsh Premier League winning side, coming on from the bench on the final day of the season when City beat title favourites TNS 1-0 to seal the deal. His contribution against Met was the same as he came on as a substitute for the last 28 minutes of the game.
Left-footed winger Edwards spent 11 years at City before briefly moving to Rhyl in January 2017 and then back to City on loan a month later, which was how he played in that Europa League play-off match.
After that, he moved to Porthmadog in July 2017 and then to Colwyn Bay in May 2019. This season, a 32-year-old Edwards has been playing for The Seagulls in the Cymru North division (Tier Two).
14 Yalany Baio (Midfielder, 79’)
A late sub in this game who came on for the influential Allen. Baio was very much a bit-part player during his time at City, but he did come through the youth ranks at Benfica and then Liverpool once upon a time.
The Bissau-Guinean defensive midfielder began his pro career at Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam before ending up at Bangor in January 2017 on a short term deal, going on to make nine league appearances.
He then played for Gibraltar United, as part of a project led by Spanish football legend Michel Salgado, before returning to City again in the 2018-19 season – this time to play in the Cymru Alliance.
A spell at Llandudno in the Welsh Premier League followed, where he scored twice, before he once again went back to City in July 2019. The 25-year-old has now been without a club since being released by the club in December of last year.