Club focus: Bangor YM
Now safe from relegation, Bangor Young Men can look forward to celebrating their 75th anniversary as an Amateur League Division 2B side.
It hasn't been the best of seasons for the Bangor Sportsplex club, but results over the last week have secured their place in next season's 2B. With the club's 75th anniversary looming, manager Alan Finlay is looking forward to the celebrations.
"A few clubs have come and gone in recent years, so it's a major achievement for us to reach our 75th anniversary," said the gaffer. "It's difficult to run a football club in this day and age, with all the associated expenses, so it's only right that we take a bit of time out to celebrate our history. It's particularly difficult in Bangor, where you have so many clubs all playing in and around the same level of football. Everyone is fighting over the same players.
"For next year, we've got a celebratory dinner planned, and I believe we might have a few other things up our sleeve as well, so it's a big year for the club."
Bangor Young Men also take their name quite literally. Two of the club's players have started a coaching course under the club's name for aspiring footballers who haven't yet started primary school.
Finlay explained: "We're planning for the future here! The club has started a youth academy that starts with four-year-olds. We looked around Bangor and there was plenty of football for six-year-olds, but we wanted to get them started even earlier, so our players Glen Bailie and Marty Brown have started up a coaching school. They've got over 50 members already, which shows there is a market for it.
"Our first team is full of young players as well. The majority of the team are in their early 20s, with only a couple over 27. I believe this team can improve as they grow together. We want a team that will stay together for a number of years. This is a club that people want to be a part of. I've played in the Irish League and at various other clubs, but I've had the most fun at Bangor Young Men."
With Whitehead Eagles and Grange Rangers doomed to relegation, Bangor YM can now relax with just two games left to play. However, manager Finlay is keen to point out he has already started working towards the 2015/16 season.
"We're safe from relegation, which is a relief, but the work never stops. I'm already building towards next season. I feel that I've got a strong squad here, but the goals just dried up as the season went on. We lost a couple of players due to work and other commitments, and it has really hurt us.
"I'm confident that if I add a goal-scoring threat and a bit of pace to this team then nothing will hold us back. Ideally I'd like to be pushing for promotion next year. That was our aim for this season but it just didn't happen for us."