ABERYSTWYTH Town’s director of football Neville Powell believes that victory over former club Connah’s Quay in the JD Welsh Cup final could inspire the Seasiders to a new era of success.
The Cambrian News reported “It will be the seventh Welsh Cup final that Powell has been involved in, including a hat-trick of wins with Bangor City between 2008 and 2010.
“When I took over 10 months ago, we only had four or five players signed so it’s taken a bit of time, but as the season’s moved on, we’ve got stronger and we’ve improved,” said Powell.
“Securing our league safety was probably more important to us than winning the Welsh Cup, because the club has to be in the league next season.
“But now we’ve got the Welsh Cup final to look forward to. It’ll be a great day out for everyone at Aberystwyth and we’ll enjoy the day, but we’ll enjoy it more if we can lift that cup and take the club to European football.
“I went to Aberystwyth for a reason. They’ve good people running the club and I’d like to be part of it for the next five years and bring them the success they deserve. If we win this Welsh Cup this year, it’s just the start.”
It is almost 20 years to the day since Powell led Connah’s Quay to their only post war Welsh Cup Final appearance.
The Nomads were 1-0 up and minutes away from lifting the trophy at Wrexham Racecourse that day, before an injury-time equaliser from the opposition – Bangor City – took the game into extra time.
It subsequently went to a penalty shoot-out, which City eventually won 4-2.
“We were massive underdogs in that game,” said Powell, who played professionally at Tranmere Rovers.
“It was a fantastic occasion, my first final as a manager and we thought we had it in the bag. I think they’d put the black and white ribbons of Connah’s Quay on the cup, but they had to take them off.
“It took weeks to get over it and it was hard to take. Connah’s Quay took a big crowd with them that day and it was a fantastic occasion for the club.”
He added: “I know a lot of people in Connah’s Quay, and they haven’t been in a Welsh Cup final since then, and hopefully there will be people there who were at the final 20 years ago.
“We know we’re going to be in for a tough game against Connah’s Quay, this time we’ll be huge underdogs on the day, but we’re more than happy with that.
“When we won that semi-final against Newtown, it was fantastic and it was great to see so many people happy. The players believe they can go on and win it.”
After 14 years in charge of the Nomads, Powell took over as manager of Bangor City in 2007, replacing Steve Bleasdale.
He presided over the most successful days in the club’s history since the heady days of back-to-back title wins in the league’s early years, winning the Welsh Cup for three consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2010 and beating FC Honka in the Europa League 3-2 on aggregate in July 2010.
The feats were capped by a Welsh Premier title win in 2011, when City started the campaign with 15 consecutive wins and defeated full-timers The New Saints on the last day of the season to lift the crown.
“It’s been 20 years since I first got to the final with Connah’s Quay, and 10 years since I first won it with Bangor, so maybe it just could be Aberystwyth’s year,” said Powell.
This year’s final takes place at Newtown AFC’s Latham Park, and will be shown live on S4C on Sunday, 6 May.
Among those in attendance at the match will be Wales manager Ryan Giggs and his assistant, Albert Stuivenberg.
The day is sure to be a momentous occasion for both sides, with the Park Avenue outfit last lifting the trophy in 1900 and Nomads yet to win the competition in their 72-year history” here.