‘My Dream XI‘ – Bangor 1876’s Michael Johnston picks his team

PICTURE by Bangor 1876 FC

FOR what is now the fourth instalment of this interesting series, it is the turn of a Bangor City legend-turned-Bangor 1876 hero to name his ultimate team.

Having previously been part of a Welsh Premier winning Bangor City side, as well as the Wales set up at several levels below the senior side, Michael Johnston arrived at Bangor 1876 last season.

In what was the club’s debut campaign, the talented centre half captained them on to winning the Gwynedd League in a season cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Johnno was one of the more experienced heads in a team full of exciting young talent and a few other former top-flight players like himself.

Here, he has selected a team made up of players who he played with for no less than one season. It’s a cracker!

FORMATION: 4-3-3

GOALKEEPER – Wayne Hennessey

Hennessey in action for Wales. PIC: Football Assocation of Wales.

Johnno says: “Played with him for Wales u16, 17 and 19’s. He didn’t really feature for u16’s because of Chris Sanna ex Colwyn Bay who was at Liverpool at the time keeping him out the side.

“He featured a lot more in the 17-19 age groups and, wow, he was immense. He must be about 6ft8 (6ft 6’ so not far off!) and towered over everyone. Great keeper, shot stopping was excellent and very commanding.

“He also managed to score the goal that helped us progress in the European championships. Literally the last kick of the game, we get a free kick just inside our own half, Wayne takes it and it goes straight in, great strike from a great keeper.

LEFT BACK – Aaron Cresswell

Johnno says: “From such a young age, you could tell that he was going to go far. The fact that he has been ever present in the Premier League for West Ham for many years now speaks volumes about him.

“His technical ability was a joy to watch and I’ve never seen a full back so athletic in all my time. He is still, to this day, very humble and you could fall across him in the street and he would go out of his way to speak to you. Great player/great lad.

RIGHT BACK – Liam Brownhill

Johnno says: “Probably the most technically gifted defender I have ever played with. Nothing but quality when he had the ball and could defend too, great player.

CENTRE BACK – James Brewerton

Johnno says: “Leader, warrior, legend, mentor….. the list is endless with this fella. He knew his strengths and he was excellent at those.

“He would not lose a header, was strong as an ox and was fully committed to what every he would do.

CENTRE BACK – Mike Williams

PIC: Neil Sheldon

Johnno says: “I think he doesn’t get the praise he deserves. He is an excellent defender, reads the game like an expert and has had an excellent career at a very high level.

“Nice lad off the pitch and one whom I regularly still speak to even though we haven’t played together for 2 years now. Excellent player and I have been privileged to share a pitch with him.

MIDFIELDER – Nick Ward

Johnno says: “Probably the fittest player I have ever played with. Scored goals, was box to box every game without fail and still was when I played with him at the age of 40 at Brickfield Rangers.

“He was really talented on the ball and if you look back at some of his goals, there were some absolute peaches in his highlight reel. Although, when he first signed for Bangor, I really had my doubts about him. We had played Newtown on a Tuesday night at Farrar Road and he was playing. He went into a battle with around 3 of our players in one passage of play and, to be fair, he absolutely bullied them all.

“He eventually got fouled and he jumped up tensing shouting, “too strong!” I thought to myself, “Wow! Look at him giving it the big one and thought he must be a right muppet. However, as soon as he signed, he won us all over.

“What a great lad/player/coach/manager. We have became great friends over our time together and he really is a player that I have always admired.”

MIDFIELDER – Dave Morley

Morley (centre) with Johnston in their Bangor City days.

Johnno says: “Absolute legend. For someone who has played so many league games, at some fantastic clubs, you would never have thought it. He was a class act on and off the pitch.

“Scored some very important goals for us at Bangor and was just a calming influence upon the whole team. Also introduced me to red wine!”

MIDFIELDER – Damien Allen

Johnno says: “On his day, this lad could be unplayable. Athletic, strong and an excellent footballing brain.

“Damo had the ability to run and dictate a game and not even break sweat. He was definitely an unsung hero during my time with him and a really good lad too.”

STRIKER – Jamie Reed

Johnno says: “For someone who looked absolutely terrible in a training session, Reedy’s record speaks for itself.

“His time with us at Bangor showed how good a goal scorer he was then he went on to do the same at higher levels for a numerous of clubs. He pulled us out of big holes at times with his goals and, I personally think, the way he performed the season we won the league, he could have moved higher than York.

STRIKER – Les Davies

PIC: Wynne Evans

Johnno says: “The truck!!! This man never ceases to Amaze me. We first crossed paths when he played for Porthmadog. I lined up as a naive 18 year old playing for Tranmere youth team in a pre season friendly. We always laugh about this but I remember turning round to Our left back and saying, “Oh my word! Look at the state of this fella!” I well and truly ate my words, he absolutely bullied me all game. I generally couldn’t get near him.

“He was and is unplayable when he wants to be. I’ve seen him boss the Welsh Prem and still doing the business now. I think the defenders in the Gwynedd league thought they could bully him, rough him up etc but they soon realised that that was impossible.

“The man is a machine and I would definitely rather be playing with him than against him.”

STRIKER – Jamie Petrie

PIC: Bangor 1876 FC.

Johnno says: “Pets (in red above) got the plaudits for his goals last season but people don’t recognise his work rate and his clever movement off the ball to create the opportunities for others.

“Anyone who knows him will tell you how much of a good, honest lad he is. I was there when he broke his leg at Newtown away and I have seen how mentally strong he has been to get back and still not pull out of nothing and not be afraid.

“I think, again, people in the Gwynedd league thought they could rough him up but at times, his pace, skill and determination meant that many couldn’t get near him.

SUBS

Sean Eardley (Defender)

Johnno says: “Unfortunately, his career got cut short due to his heart problems but what a career he could have had. Very strong full back, great distribution, strong in the air, up and down for fun and would give 100% for the cause.”

Dec Walker (Various positions)

Johnno says: “I think his exploits at Aber shows how dangerous he was in an attacking position. Thick as anything but what a player he is. Honest and committed to the cause and would give you 100% in every game.”

Anthony Miley (Defender)

Johnno says: “He came to us at Bangor City young and it was great to see how much he progressed throughout the two years I had with him. The way he performed against Spurs in the FA Cup (for Marine) speaks volumes about how much of a good player he is.”

Sion Edwards (Winger)

Johnno says: “This lad seems to get better with age. Unbelievable talent and a great servant to Bangor City.

“Sion scored some fantastic goals, goals which if Messi or Ronaldinho had scored, people would still be talking about them now. His attitude, work rate and ability is second to none and I’m glad to have shared the pitch with him as he has created memories that will last a lifetime for me.

Marc Williams (Attacker)

PIC: Aberystwyth Town FC.

Johnno says: “Very unlucky to be on the bench and only is because I only spent one season with him and longer with the front three I’ve picked.

“What a talent he is. In our (Llandudno) first season in the Welsh Prem he was integral in the success of the club. His goals, work rate and general class on the pitch was a joy to watch. Great lad to have in the dressing room too.

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