Bangor Young Men was formed in 1941 and became the first junior side in the town.
Playing out of the Bangor Sportsplex the club now has 3 teams competing in the Amateur League and Down Area League.
- 1st Team – 2B of the Amateur League
- 2nd Team – 3D of the Amateur League
- 3rd Team – Division 1 of the Down Area League
Very much a family club, BYM is proud of its rich history and is looking forward to the future with our excellent Academy going from strength to strength.
The formation resulted from several members of First Bangor Young Men – a men’s social organisation – breaking away to form Bangor Young Men Social Club. They in turn created a football team called ….Bangor Young Men
The first Chairman of the Club was Syd Maguire the Bangor sports writer.The other founder members in the 1940 side were David Geary, Jackie Burns and Eddie Barry. Eddie Barry was to become a very successful administrator becoming Secretary of the Churches League, Director of Bangor Football Club, Irish Football Association and UEFA representative whilst still being an office holder of the club !
To join the Northern Ireland Churches League the club had to have an affiliation with a church as they were in effect a “church organisation”. In the Young Men’s case this was Trinity Presbyterian Church in Main Street and as a requirement of the Churches League the club had to run a “Bible Class” every Sunday. All players and representatives of the club had to attend every Sunday … if this did not happen the club could be eliminated from the league !!! How ironic it was that such compromising Young Men players as David Geary , Hugh Burns , Tom Douglas , Eric Moore , Nicky Henderson , Archie Moore ….and others such as David Hatton and Davy Huddleston (Bangor Parish) , Geordie Warnock (15th OB ) , Davy Barr (Ballynafeigh YM)…attended a religious service the day after kicking lumps out of the opposition !!!! Frightening … if we had to apply this today.
1940 – 1960
Throughout the period from 1940 to the 1960’s the Young Men played in the Churches League “A” Division. Success was almost immediate when the team reached the semi -final of the Diamond Cup in the 1942/43 season to be defeated by 36th Old Boys after a replay.However,the club had to wait a further 11 years before they won their first trophy winning the Scarlett Cup in season 1953/54
Throughout this period it would be fair to say that the Young Men were a breeding ground for some exceptionally talented players who progressed to play at the highest level. However, such was the popularity of the club that after their period of representation at a higher level was over they returned to the Young Men … an attitude that remained for many years. Some of these players were …
- Dougie Scott (Bangor and Dundela)
- Eric Moore (Bangor and Linfield)
- Norman Legge (Ards, Bangor and Cliftonville)
- Tom Douglas (Linfield, Portadown and Bangor)
- Rainey Beattie (Bangor and Cliftonville)
- John Parke (Linfield, Sunderland and FC Bruges)
- Eddie Duff (Cliftonville)
- John Gore (Bangor)
- George Matier (Bangor)
- Joe Crozier (Bangor)
This was a glory period for Bangor junior football at a time when there were only 3 junior teams … Bangor Young Men, 1st Bangor Old Boys and Bangor Parish. It was such a prolific time that in 1959 a Bangor Reserves team …including Bangor Young Men stars George Matier and John Gore….was made up of 10 local players !!! The only exception was Sammy Hatton, the brother of future Bangor Parish stalwart Davy Hatton, and a member of the famous Linfield team that won the “clean sweep” of all seven trophies in 1960. Ironically Davy’s son Chris was a member of the Young Men first team squad last season.
The Young Men were also helped by an extremely competitive annual Summer League competition. Many of the Young Men players won honours with Abbeyview and The Magpies and this winning mentality amongst the players was carried into the full season and contributed greatly to the building through the 1960’s for the success of the 1070’s
Although few would believe it this period also saw the Young Men field 3 teams for the first time – the first junior club in Bangor club to do so. Although this was not sustained the 3rd team was reformed in the 1980’s and still exists today.
Rumours that Norman Frazer holds the record of having played for both teams is not proven !!
A Youth Team was also formed in the 1960’s. Although the team was not sustained for any period of time it was reformed in the 1990’s and under the guidance of Ally Bell and Lawrence McIlvenna were the last Young Men team to win a trophy.
The 1960’s also saw what would be a very unfamiliar type of pre-season. The format was a trial match between “A” , “B” and “C” teams plus approximately 15 reserves who came on throughout the match. A total of 45 players fighting for places in 2 teams !!!!
Without doubt the 1970’s proved to be the most successful period in the club’s history.
The club was full of talent with a combination of younger players and a number of experienced ex – Irish League players … Eric Moore, Jackie Duff, Freddie Craig and Billy Friar all brought a wealth of experience from a higher level.
In the 1972/73 season under the guidance of manager John Ellison the Young Men had a magnificent season winning a prestigious double. After winning the County Antrim Junior Shield for the first time they followed this up by winning the Churches League “A” Division title.
The Junior Shield final at Castlereagh Park was by all accounts a fantastic game. The Young Men were 2 – 0 down at half time to a dominant Dunmurry Young Men and the game practically over. Substitute Davy Smyth – uncle of current Young Men member of the same name – changed the game. He pulled one back early in the second half and two goals from Archie Moore – the winner less than 10 minutes from time – won the Shield for the Young Men.
The Young Men captained by Eric Moore had become the first club from Bangor to win the Junior Shield…. it was without doubt the club’s finest achievement.
The scenes of celebration after the game were unrestrained. Founder member of the club Davy Geary – and captain of the Young Men’s first trophy winning team in 1954 – was in tears in the changing room and manager John Ellison’s 9 year old son Bobby ended up being dumped in the bath fully clothed !! The trophy was brought back to The British Legion in Bangor for a celebration and as is the Young Men tradition … it lasted well into the night !!
Team ; Eric Moore , J.Duff , P.Vaughan , V.Hyvart , W.Crothers , W.Friar , N.Henderson , F.Craig , J.McManus , A.Moore , M.McCullough Sub. D.Smyth.
In the week following this historic win the Young Men won their remaining league games – including defeating title rivals Dunmurry YM again – while rivals Dunmurry dropped points and the Churches League title was won.Not to be totally outdone by the 1st team’s success Billy Matchett’s 2nd team also won the Beckett Cup. (See photo gallery for team picture)
To round off what was already a great season Freddie Craig and Billy Friar gained individual recognition and were selected in the Northern Ireland Churches League Select side.
As some of the long term servants like Eric Moore and Freddie Craig retired the Young Men continued to blood new young talent in the form of Brian Graham, Ronnie McCready and the McCabe brothers Robin and Ian as the club aimed to maintain its standard as one of the top teams in the league.This was also a period of managerial transition. In 1973 Tom Douglas – a member of the club since 1950 – retired from playing due to a knee injury and took on the manager’s role from John Ellison the following year.
The prodigious but unpredictable talent of Chris Stephens had also been introduced. Chris – “Arkle” to his team mates – was a tremendous player. He once scored a hat trick in the first 15 minutes against Trinity College Methodist in the Junior Cup … then walked off the pitch 5 minutes later saying he didn’t want kicked any more. However , one story really sticks out above all others. He signed for Glentoran after they had chased him for some time but went “missing” after only a few weeks. Tom McNeice – Glentoran chairman and uncle of Young Men manager Tom Douglas – contacted Tom to find out what was wrong but Arkle had not returned to the Young Men !! Tom called at his house and asked why he had left the Glens … and he replied in his distinctive high pitched voice ..
“ … Johnny Jamison won’t pass the ball to me …This was Johnny Jamison .. Northern Ireland International and one of the most unbelievable local talents ever produced. It was a reflection of how good a player Chris was when you consider he played in the same team as Johnny Jamieson , Warren Feeney and the uncompromising Rab McCreery !!
Success was almost immediate in Tom’s first season in charge when in 1974/75 season the Young Men reached the final of the Diamond Cup. However,this was the prelude to a most fantastic season the following year. After defeat in the semi-final of the Junior Cup the Young Men reached the final of the Junior Shield only to loose again in controversial circumstances to old rivals 40th Old Boys … now known as Grove United. The first match finished 0 – 0 but the replay was lost 1 – 0 at Wilgar Park. However, although 40th played the same team in both games the match cards were not the same – one player played both matches under two different names !!
The Young Men did not formally protest to the County Antrim Football Association, the trophy stayed with the Old Boys and the Young Men had failed to retain the Shield. A reflection of the Young Men and the football times as I’m sure many teams would have wanted to win by default rather than on the pitch.
Team ; John Scott : Eric Blayney : Billy Friar : Victor Hyvart : Billy Crothers : Nicky Henderson : John Watterson : Kenny Hazlett : Chris Stevens : Ian McCabe : Robin McCabe. Sub. – Billy Darrah.
However, the 1sts did not come away from a great season empty handed as they won the Diamond Cup and to make it another great season Billy Matchett’s 2nd team lifted the Beckett Cup.
For picture of 1976/77 team click More new players were introduced .. Davy Pawlak in goals, Archie Moore formed a formidable central defence partnership with Billy Friar and Brian Graham, Ronnie McCready, Lenny Sterrett and Michael Keenan were now permenant features in the side. However, as has been the Young Men’s achilles heel over the years they did not turn the undoubted ability into trophies. The closest they came was in 1978 when they were defeated in the semi final of the Junior Shield by Orangefield Old Boys. After a 0 – 0 draw at Shorts – when current club member Brian Douglas made his 1st team debut as a 15 year old – the Young Men lost the replay 1 – 0 at Castlereagh Park in a match they should have won with ease. Definitely a lost opportunity.
However, the 2nd team under the guidance of Terry Lemon won the Beckett Cup twice in two years after two finals at Solitude and this was to prove the last trophies the Young Men would win as a Churches League affiliated club.
On a personal note the progress Tom Douglas was showing with the Young Men was recognised with his appointment as manager of the Northern Ireland Churches League Select team to play their Southern counterparts in the annual representative fixture. This was a critical development in junior football in Bangor. Tom broke the mould of the team being made up of Belfast players and selected the talent from Bangor in the form of the experienced Young Men stalwarts Nicky Henderson, Billy Friar and Davy Hatton of the Parish while introducing youth in Ken Ferguson and Chris Innes from 1st Bangor OB to win the match for the first time in many years. The stronghold that the Belfast sides had on the representative team was now broken and with the introduction of the undoubted talent from the Bangor clubs and the representative side under Tom Douglas had a unique period of success.
Despite the success throughout the 1970’s the 1980’s was to prove an historic yet frustrating period for the Young Men. After an association with the Churches League since 1940 the Young Men were accepted into the Northern Ireland Amateur League for season 1981/82. The standard of the Churches League was dropping and the games were becoming battles in the real sense of the word ! The decision although difficult was the right one. Within a couple of years 3 of the 4 main Bangor clubs – The Young Men, 1st Bangor OB and Bangor Amateurs (previously 2nd Bangor OB) – had all transferred to the Amateur League and were soon followed by the Parish later in the 1980’s
The Young Men entered the league with as strong a squad as they had had for many years. It was a reflection of manager Tom Douglas’s philosophy throughout his long tenure as manager … a mixture of youth and experience. The experience down the middle of the team was vital with Billy Seenan, Ronnie McCready, Paul Donaldson, Ken Ferguson, Kenny Hazlett, Brian Graham, Gary Hill and Ian McCabe providing the experience. Allied to this was a string of young players … Brian Douglas, Robin Crothers, Michael Keenan, Bill Stevenson, Neil Cockroft and Stephen Milburn …all of them still at school who provided the enthusiasm and willingness to learn from the experienced players. The return to the club of Kenny Ferguson and the addition of Gary Hill was critical as they made an invaluable contribution throughout the season. At one stage the Young Men went unbeaten in 10 games, not conceding a goal in 7 consecutive matches and this was with a team that had five 18 year olds. A unique record.
Finishing runners-up in the league by one point in our first season was in fact disappointing as had it not been for an unbelievable 6 – 5 defeat at home to eventual league winners Carreras (previously old Churches League adversaries Ballynafeigh YM) the title would have been secured. Promotion to Division 2B in the first season in the Amateur League was however a very good performance.
On an individual note the club were delighted that Stephen Milburn as an 18 year old Division 2C player was selected in the Amateur League Select Squad … a remarkable achievement and recognition for a fantastic player. As was the nature of the guy Stephen always credited the success of the team as the reason for his selection. Stephen went on to Bangor and then Dundela where he was part of their uniquely successful side that won many intermediate honours. He is also remembered as the last person who always called the manager “Mr Douglas” and not Tom like all the other members of the team.
Opportunities to build on this success were affected by the fact that a number of the younger players moved on to Irish League or “B” Division clubs – Brian Douglas and Stephen Milburn moving to Bangor, Robin Crothers , Neil Cockroft and Bill Stevenson to Brantwood. This was to the credit of the management team of Tom Douglas and assistant Billy Friar who despite having a string of talented young players believed that they should be allowed to move to a higher level to fulfil their potential, thinking also that they may come back in later years as better players. It did though affect the clubs ability to move to the next level and win trophies. Without a doubt if that team had stayed together it could have been the best and most successful Young Men team for many years. It was a successful time for junior football in Bangor but unfortunately dominated by a very talented 1st Bangor team and not the Young Men. There was not a great deal of difference in talent in the teams at this time but the Old Boys kept their team together, had a desire to win that was unbreakable and they deserved all the success they achieved.
In the mid 1980’s more new players arrived. Trevor “Black Adder” Rea, Richard Meehan, Paul Allen and the return of Lenny Sterrett from long term injury made up in some way for the loss of the younger players. There were some remarkable successes … notably a Clarence Cup run to the quarter finals in 1983. After a victory over 1B side GEC Larne the draw took the Young Men to Drome Park to play Ards Rangers – the then current champions in the top division. The Young Men came away with a fantastic 2 – 1 victory with Trevor Rea scoring the late winner after Brian Douglas had saved two first half penalties. The sight of Ian Gunning sprinting round the pitch after the final whistle and the atmosphere in the dressing room after the game will live long in the memory. In light of the opposition this must rank as one of the Young Men’s greatest matches. Although a close quarter-final with top division side Larne Tech OB was lost 2 – 1 it was a memorable cup run.
In general though the consistency was not there and despite the quality of the players at the club it did not bring the success that was probably expected. The remainder of the 1980’s saw an inconsistent period of performance as players and management changed. The long standing management team of Tom Douglas and Billy Friar “retired” to be replaced by Ronnie Snoddy formally manager of local rivals Bangor Amateurs and Barney Larmour guided the club through an inconsistent period to the end of the 1980’s.
Copy of club newsletter from 1986/87 in the days before websites.
Individual and specific details of the 1990’s have proven to be difficult to pull together …. mostly because of the erratic nature of the success of the team. Ronnie Snoddy was succeeded by Raymond McCabe as manager but the club never really raised to the levels that the previous teams had. The only success the club had in the early 1990’s was when Billy McCullough’s 2nd team won Division 3D in season 1991/92.
The arrival of Bobby Coulter as 1st team manager brought initial optimism as an influx of new players brought competition for places that had not been the case for some time. Players like Ian Newell and Dessie Wright brought great talent to the club but not the consistency that was needed to win trophies. Bobby’s reign came to an end in the late 90’s with no silverware to show for a lot of potential. Bobby’s exit heralded a period of transition as some of the players left with him and a period of rebuilding was needed. His replacement Paddy Peden faced a real challenge to raise the playing side of the club. Paddy was able to bring Alan Finlay to the club – Alan had experience with Bangor, Ballyclare Comrades and Harland and Wolff Welders and added great ability to the team. The closest that the club came to any honours was a Cochrane Corry cup semi-final in 1999 and were unlucky to suffer a 1 – 0 loss.
On more positive notes the 3rd team was re-established and with a backbone of some vastly experienced players such as Denis Brown, Ronnie McAteer, Kenny Hazlett and Norman Frazer they won a league championship in the Down Area League.
It just proved that there is no substitute for experience … and this side certainly had it !!!
The Youth Team was also re-formed under the guidance of Ally Bell and Lawrence McIlvenny and with a team of enormous potential won the cup at Castlereagh Park in a tremendous final. Unfortunately, few of this side came through to mature to the first team.
The 1990’s were a disappointing period that showed up many things on how local football was changing. Bangor now had a lot more teams than had traditionally been the case – no longer was there just the Young Men, 1st Bangor, Bangor Amateurs and the Parish – and this led to players moving clubs on a regular basis. Stability in the Young Men side was therefore at times impossible as players moved from club to club at the very sign that something was not going well for them. This not only made success almost impossible but it made managing a team an unenviable task ….. hence the number of managerial changes at the club.
This was no more evident than at the end of the 90’s which finished with a cup semi final and a very good league position …but starting the year 2000 the club faced one of it’s biggest challenges.
After an optimistic end the 1990’s the start of the following season put the club in a very vulnerable position. Paddy Peden resigned during pre-season and a tide of players from the previous season left the club. Dougie McOwat stepped into the manager’s role in an impossible position where only one of the previous seasons 1st team remained from the beaten semi final side of the previous year. It was a reflection of Dougie’s commitment to the club that he fought the year through and this showed how important he has been to the club. However, for the following season Denis Brown took over and was able to bring players to the club and things began to look more positive. The league situation was improved dramatically and with the assistance of ex-Irish League player Ronnie McAteer the club was stabilised and had a foundation to build on again. But once again the optimism was thwarted by inconsistency and player movement and it proved impossible to keep a stable team together. It is not possible to replace players like Colin Strong, Michael Brown, Ricky Paton and others when they move on to other clubs … the players are just not available.
Again after a tricky pre-season Denis resigned and Davy Kerr took the reins for a second spell. The club had seen an influx of young and some new players but Davy stayed only a year and a half until Christmas 2005 when he moved to Bryansburn. Second team manager Ken Maginty stepped in and the performance of the side in the second half of the season was outstanding. If the consistency of performance had been evident in the first half of the season there is no doubt that we would have been challenging for promotion. Although Ken had declared at the end of the season that work commitments would prevent him from continuing in the role the season had ended on a reasonably positive note.
- Junior Shield 1973/74
- Churches League “A” Division 1973/74
- Diamond Cup 1975/76
- Scarlett Cup 1953/54
- Beckett Cup 1972/73 ; 1975/76 ; 1978/79 ; 1979/80
- McCracken Cup 1975/76
- Amateur League 3D Champions 1991/92
- Down Area League TBC
- Youth Team Challenge Cup TBC
- Diamond Cup Finalists 1974/75
- Junior Shield Finalists 1975/76
- Junior Shield Semi Finalists 1977/78
- Junior Cup Semi Finalists 1975/76
- Diamond Cup Semi Finalists 1942/43
REMEMBER THE Time