Check out the BBC Sport fixtures list for Tuesday and, aside from Liechenstein vs San Marino, nothing really stands out as worthy of your attention.
But I’m here to tell you, you are wrong.
You’ll need to scroll down. A lot. Past the Scottish League Cup. Past the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round. Past the U21 internationals. Past the National League. World Cup Qualifiying for South America? Keep scrolling. Hell, keep scrolling past the Lowland League fixtures which are all abandoned for Covid (why are they even listed).
Eventually, you’ll come to a small, harmless looking entry for The New Saints vs Connah’s Quay in the Cymru League.
For the unintiated, the Cymru League is what the Welsh Premier League rebranded to in a move that confounded linguistic purists (“Cymru” being the Welsh word for “Wales” and “League” being the English word for “League.” It’s not wholy unusual for people to throw the odd English word into a Welsh sentence, just watch John Hartson on Sgorio and occasionally you’ll think you’ve slipped into fluency only to be proven wrong in the next sentence. I hope whoever was paid a lot of money to think that name up used this rationale to troll the entire nation. I can get on board with that).
Anyway, why the hell should you invest ninety minutes of your evening watching two teams of famers battling it out of a field covered in sheep shit?
Well, I’ll tell you why!
There’s Nothing Else On and It’s Free!
Ok, other than Liechenstein vs San Marino, what else are you really going to be doing with your evening? Talking to your family? I thought not.
The good news is this game is being broadcast and you don’t need a Sky Sports subscription, just access to the internet.
It is being live streamed through Sgorio’s (think Welsh Match Of The Day) Facebook and YouTube channels. Give them a search and you’ll find the link ahead of the 7.45 kick off.
A word of warning, it is in Welsh, but at least it’s not Alan Green.
They’re The Two Best Teams In Wales
Ok, so Bala Town might be choking on their drink and waving frantically at me in the back ground, but these two realy are the best we have. Bala are close but not quite into that bracket yet. A close third.
If this was Scotland, TNS and Connah’s Quay would be Rangers and Celtic, and Bala would be Aberdeen. If I were to delve deeper into that analogy, TNS with their history of winning multiple titles and wearing green and white Hoops would be Celtic. And Connah’s Quay would be Rangers, except Connah’s Quay can win the league and beat Kilmarnock.
Also, far from being farmers they’re actually real life, grown up footballers. Ones that get paid enough to pay their bills and everything.
In a largely part time league, these are the only two full time clubs.
They’re The Two Best Teams In Wales
Yes, I know that’s the same point as above but I had more to say on the matter and wanted more bold headings to make the article look prettier. Sue me.
Not only are they the only full time teams we have and have been the top two teams the last three or so seasons, they’re also the top two in the fledgeling league table.
After seven games, Connah’s Quay are top on the pile, a point ahead of TNS, who have played one game less.
Both teams have won six in succession.
Ever heard of the expression “the irresistable force meets the immovable object”? Yeah, well TNS are both of those at the moment. Their goals for and against record currently stands at 25-0.
*Disclaimer to the above* TNS were drawing 2-2 with Aberdeen, I mean Bala, in the 87th minute before the floodlights failed, expunging the result. So they have had the ball in their net, twice, it just doesn’t count.
Two Contrasting Styles
TNS are widely regarded as a team that will walk the ball into your net. A lot.
Connah’s Quay are more likely to shove the ball into your net and send your goalkeeper in with it for good measure. A lot.
That’s a slight exaggeration but TNS fans (and Queens Park managers) will tell you they play the nicer football and Connah’s Quay rely on highly physical directness. Some have even used the word “dirty” but, having seen the Nomads first hand against Cefn Druids, I prefer to think of them as firm but fair. And better at football than they’re given credit for.
One thing is for certain, TNS won’t get the space in the middle of the park to play their usual passing game. How they adapt will be an interesting aspect of the encounter.
It’s A Local Derby
Ish. Thirty five miles and 45 minutes (25 minutes if you’re my father in law) separate the two sides.
They Fucking Hate Each Other
Well. Not in the sense of Rangers vs Celtic or Swansea vs Cardiff.
They’ve gone toe to toe for the title for the last three or so years, with TNS generally coming out on top but last year Connah’s Quay were awarded the title, owing to being top of the league when Covid struck.
TNS weren’t happy with this. They’d won eight titles in a row and had their eyes on ten, they weren’t about to let the title be taken away off the pitch.
Their chairman, Mike Harris – who is a showman in my opinion. I can’t repeat some of the other opinions people have of him and you’ve seen the language I’m willing to use in this blog – called on Connah’s Quay on Twitter, saying they should hold a play-off to decide it on sporting merit.
Connah’s Quay, the FAW and the Welsh government all said no. Mike took it to court. The court said no. Some quarters still believe Nomads’ title is a tainted one and this is the first time they’ll have met on the pitch since then.
It could well be viewed as an unofficial battle for validation. In one corner you have “the People’s Champions” TNS and, the other, the offial champions.
Make no mistake, there is bad blood and when these sides come together at the best of times, it’s a proper ding dong contest. As well as goals, expect to see a red card or two.
Both Teams Know Where The Net Is
Football is all about goals. And these teams have several people who know how to get them.
For added interest, Connah’s Quay have Mike Wilde, a man who was (until last week) TNS’s all time record goalscorer.
His record was usurped by Greg Draper, when he scored his second goal against Flint. He then added three more to score half of TNS’s goals that day, and then scored two in Penybont on the weekend.
Wildey has three in the last three as well. Whether he plays Tuesday is another matter as he had three eyebrows last time I saw him on Twitter, following a clash of heads at Cardiff Met on Saturday. Knowing him, it’ll take a lot of keep him off the pitch.
The Weather Forecast Is Ok
Last time the teams met the spectacle was thwarted a bit by Storm Denis (I think. I lose track of what storm we’re on. All I know is it was a hairy drive to Norwich the day before). Connah’s Quay won 1-0, to take themselves to the top of the table, where they stayed.
But the best bit of the coverage was the regular update’s of the ball boy’s plastic chair while it involuntarily made its way around the race track that surrounds the Deeside pitch. BAFTA worthy stuff.
Park Hall has a 3G pitch so no amount of rain will effect the surface and put a dampener on things.
So there you have it.
If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, nothing will.
Please do tune in. You might just find you actually quite like Welsh football!
If you do, there is a live game every Saturday evening on Sgorio. It’s live streamed via Youtube.
Also, highlights of all the games are available on Sgorio’s Youtube channel if you fancy it.
Come on! You know you want to!