Craig Harrison is back in Welsh football as the new manager of Bangor City.
The former New Saints boss won an unprecedented six Welsh Premier titles with the Oswestry club, which went onto break the world record for the longest winning streak in any top flight football league.
Harrison has signed a two-year contract as manager – he replaces Kevin Nicholson, who left the Nantporth club after just one season in charge.
He’s already secured the return of fans’ favourite Les Davies to Nantporth – the forward is returning for his third stint at City, having spent last season with Gwynedd rivals Bala Town. The Lakesiders decided not to renew his contract earlier this month.
Harrison’s arrival comes as City prepare for life in the Huws Gray Alliance after 26 years in the Welsh Premier came to an end with the FAW’s refusal to grant the club a domestic licence for next season. Harrison told a press conference that his number one priority was to get Bangor back in the WPL ”as soon as possible”.
At Park Hall, Harrison also led TNS to seven domestic cup wins – four in the Welsh Cup and three in the WPL League Cup. He managed Airbus UK for three seasons before joining the Saints, going onto become the most successful manager in Welsh Premier history.
He spent most of last season in charge of Hartlepool United, but was sacked in February after winning just one National League game since November. United went onto stay up.
As a player, Harrison was a product of the youth system at Middlesbrough, going onto feature under Bryan Robson as the club won promotion back to the Premier League in 1998.
A move to Crystal Palace followed in 2000, but a long injury layoff with a double leg fracture led to his retirement as a player three years later. He entered football management in 2008 as assistant boss at Airbus.
Harrison told reporters and fans at Nantporth on Wednesday that in whatever league they played, Bangor were still ”the biggest domestic club in Wales” and that relegation had not affected his arrival.
”There’s been a lot of heartache and upset at this club over the last few weeks, that has been well-documented, but now I’m going to use every bit of energy I’ve got to get this club back in the Welsh Premier League as soon as possible. I can’t wait to get started. This club hasn’t had a major success for seven to eight years. My aim is to bring success to this club again.”
He added he had more or less decided the make up of his management team, but would not disclose who would join him in the setup at Nantporth for the time being.
Aside the return of Les Davies, the new manager also revealed he had been talking to some players and will reveal his retained list in the next few weeks before announcing more signings during the summer.
On Davies’ return, he said: ”Les is Bangor through and through – it’s a fantastic first signing. He is someone we can start our building blocks around. He’s a Bangor lad and he wants to be here.”