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Dec 17 2012

News » Lakesiders kick on for European glory

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Lakesiders kick on for European glory

A football club's quest for European glory has been boosted by the continent's biggest trailer maker.

High flying Bala Town FC have secured sponsorship from Ifor Williams Trailers for what's being billed as the biggest game of the season.

The top of the table clash against Bangor City will take place at the Maes Tegid ground on Saturday, December 22.

As part of the sponsorship package, five members of staff whose names have been drawn out of a hat, along with a guest, will be given VIP treatment on match day

Ifor Williams Trailers spokesman Daniel Burton said they were delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor such an important game.

He said: "Bala Town are a club that's really going places - and, given the nature of our product, that's something we can really relate to.

"With our headquarters in Cynwyd, the company has its roots in this part of rural North Wales.

"Like Bala Town, we feel we are part of the fabric of the community so we were particularly keen to show our support in a tangible way.

"We'd like to wish the team all the very best for the game against Bangor City and I'm sure it will be a memorable day for the five members of staff and their guests who will be attending on our behalf."

The club's twin ambitions this year are to win the Welsh Premier League and to qualify for Europe after last year's heartbreak when they narrowly lost out on a Europa Cup spot.

The Lakesiders have come a long way since Manager Colin Caton - cousin of the late Manchester City and Arsenal star, Tommy Caton - took over 10 years ago, after a successful semi-professional playing career with Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Witton Albion.

He recalled: "When I came here, Bala Town was just an open playing field really and there’s been a lot of work being put in by everybody doing paths and stands and floodlights and the like to meet the ground criteria.

"Our aim is to get into Europe. We were nearly there last year but we hit the post twice in the final play-off of the European qualifying game.

"We lost 2-1 in the final against Llanelli who have been more or less a full time outfit for the last six or seven years.

"They’ve won the Welsh Premier so for us to come and compete with the likes of them is a massive achievement.

"We had 70 per cent of the play really and their goalkeeper got man of the match. He was outstanding."

According to Colin, the first couple of seasons in the Welsh Premier League were a struggle because of financial constraints caused by the need for ground improvements.

The squad includes players who have experienced the game at the highest level with the likes of ex-Everton right back John Irvine and former Wales international Mark Jones, along with Lee Hunt who's rated as one of the deadliest strikers in the league.

Colin said: "Last season we had the most successful season that the club’s ever had and finished fourth.

"This season we had a bad start but we are currently lying in fifth spot and things are looking good.

"Everything is improving slowly and we’re looking to kick on now and the Bangor City game being sponsored by Ifor Williams Trailers will be the highest attended game here this season.

"Bangor always bring a massive following and it’s always a good atmosphere when they come. It’s the most attractive feature in the Welsh Premier.

"Sponsorship is vitally important, it's the b all and end all. Without sponsorship and impetus and rewards from local businesses, we wouldn’t be able to compete at this level."

"I think what we’ve achieved in the three years we’ve been in the Welsh Premier League has been a massive success. As a club, Bala has been the most progressive and the most ambitious in Welsh football in the last seven or eight years."

It was a sentiment echoed by the club's Commercial Manager, Gareth Moon, who started out as a fan initially.

He said: "I’m delighted with the progress we've made as a club, it's great for the town, great for businesses and great for the everyday football fan that follows us.

"It’s put Bala on the map, especially with matches being televised on Sgorio on S4C.

"To have a business like Ifor Williams Trailers come on board is just fantastic for the community.

"The people who work there come to watch us, people know about them and I would go as far as to say they are world’s biggest trailer manufacturer.

"We’re just so pleased to have them involved. It’s going to be a great day and a great day for their staff who attend."


Caption: From left, Gareth Moon. Commercial Manager, Daniel Burton, from Ifor Williams Trailers, and manager Colin Caton

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