It’s hard to imagine the Welsh Premier League without Bangor City. But that’s the shocking situation after one of the biggest clubs around failed in their application for a licence to play in the league next season.
It seems that the whispers that have been swirling around for several weeks are true after all. Things might have been getting better on the pitch – but it’s a different story off the pitch.
It was a very different story on the pitch two years ago.
After years of battling near the top of the league and reaching Europe the club were suddenly battling against relegation. And when new owners turned up promising considerable investment some were obviously excited.
Others were more cautious.
They were worried about the background of some of the money men and their links with other struggling clubs in the past.
And just over two years after they arrived promising the world – and after even considering going full time – the club find themselves out of the Welsh Premier League.
What next? For Bangor and the league.
We’ll have to wait and see what the Bangor owners decide to do. Will they stay and fight or disappear and cut their considerable losses?
The one saving grace is that the Nantporth ground and superb facilities are safe.
There are rumours (yes, even more whispers) that the youngsters will now play in the lower leagues. And the old threat of returning to play in England has been heard again.
It’s true that some supporters are tired of the Welsh system.
But as they put on their rose-tinted glasses and reminisce about the good old days they should remember the good times in Wales as well.
No one was complaining when they won the league twice in the 1990’s. Or the dramatic final day victory against The New Saints to clinch the title in 2011.
What about lifting the Welsh Cup three years in a row?
And that sums up why Bangor are so important.
They have been in the league from the beginning and everyone will be hoping that they return as quickly as possible.
The crowds might have dipped but the potential is obvious. Bangor are a big club with history, tradition and a large fan base.
They are everything that the Welsh Premier League needs.
But they’re not bigger than the league.
The league is developing quickly and the standards are getting better every season. The licence is an attempt by the Football Association of Wales to make sure the progression continues.
Smaller clubs have managed to get the licence which makes the failure of one of the big boys even more frustrating.
You need a strong team to compete on the pitch in this league. But, as Bangor have just discovered to their cost, you need an even stronger team off the pitch.