Bangor 1876 v Menai Bridge Tigers

Bangor 1876 v Menai Bridge Tigers

Bangor1876 in action against Menai Bridge Tigers at TreborthTwo football teams in north west Wales claim to have taken the title of the most local derby in Britain.

Following a Welsh football restructure and a ground switch, rivals Bangor 1876 and Menai Bridge Tigers are now just a goal-kick away from each other.

Their home grounds are just 40 yards apart – less than the 0.17 miles between current record holders Dundee and Dundee United.

“I think we’ve got a situation that’s quite unique in Britain,” Bangor 1876 board member Jonathan Ervine said.

When Bangor 1876 were formed by breakaway fans of Bangor City in 2019, the clubs – like the mainland county of Gwynedd and the island of Anglesey – were divided by the Menai Strait, as well as divisions.

But the Tigers have moved across the bridge from their Maes-y-Coed home in the Anglesey town due to ground regulations and settled next door to the Bangor phoenix club in the grounds of Bangor University’s Treborth sports facility.

There have been two cup games – both won by Bangor – but after the inaugural North Wales Coast West Premier Division season was wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

Aerial shot of the two grounds in BangorWednesday night’s clash at Treborth was the first league meeting between these two new rivals Welsh football’s fourth tier.

Ervine, who was born in Dundee and is now a board member at the Bangor club, believes this fixture is now the closest derby in British league football.

“Derby games are always important at any level of football – they are always an occasion on any level,” Ervine said.

“I know that supporters of both teams were really looking forward to the game.

“I lived in the village of Newport-on-Tay which is the other side of the river to Dundee and I could see Tannadice and Dens Park from my parents’ house.

“I’ve been to see games in the two stadiums in Dundee, but to be honest it’s not the same thing as being a fan of a club like Bangor 1876.

“Football is something different when supporters can be part of the club. It’s important for local clubs to be part of the local community and giving something back to the community like we are trying to do.”

While the Dundee derby dates back to 1911, Bangor 1876 and Menai Bridge Tigers’ rivalry is recent.

Although the Menai Bridge club have a long history – the term Tigers was first used to refer to the club in 1910 – Bangor 1876 were born out of fans’ frustrations with how Bangor City were being run.

Dundee’s Dens Park in the foreground and Dundee United’s Tannadice Park in the background”We’re a new club and were formed for the 2019-20 season,” Ervine added.

“So our first match was January 2020 in a local cup competition and we played earlier this year in a Welsh Cup game that we also won.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve got the bigger fan base. We’re a fan owned club and try to give back through our youth and women’s teams and community projects.

“We’ve not had an afternoon when we’ve both been playing simultaneously so we haven’t interrupted each other’s games yet.”

For the record, the derby game ended with Bangor 1876 beating their very near neighbours 3-1 to remain unbeaten with games in hand on the top two in the North Wales Coast West Premier Division as they bid for promotion to the third tier Ardal Leagues at the end of the season.

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