With no football to keep us entertained right now, it is a perfect time to look back on some of the greatest moments in the history of our domestic game in Wales, and what better way to do that then through the eyes of the people who have made them happen?
That’s why we’ve reached out to some familiar faces from the domestic game in Wales to hear more from them about what their best moments have been during their time spent in the Welsh game.
One of the legends of our games in Wales, Lee Kendall is next up to name his top moments from his career in our domestic game. Check out his top five moments in Welsh football below.
1 – Senior debut for Barry Town in the Europa League
We played against Boavista when I was only 19 years old. Peter Nicholas, I had played for him in his youth team at Crystal Palace in the two years prior to that, then he got the job at Barry and came and got me on loan and took a chance on me really.
To play at that level at 19 years old straight out of the youth team was an unbelievable experience, playing at a very big club in Wales, and I played enough games that season when I was on loan to get a league winners’ medal which was great – even though I left in December to sign for Cardiff City. That was my first memory, so many years back, and probably my biggest moment.
2 – Returning to the Cymru Premier with Haverfordwest
After a spell in the professional game, coming back to the league was a big moment. We qualified for Europe as one of the smallest clubs in the league. I arrived in the January of the season before we reached Europe when the team was second-from-bottom and we managed to stay up, which was unbelievable really, but the following season we were superb.
We were a little bit like the crazy gang – we really bonded, had a fantastic team spirit, qualified for Europe by finishing third on the last day of the season by winning away at Caernarfon. I remember before the game one of our supporters had an epileptic fit and almost swallowed his tongue, and I ended up – because I had training to deal with epilepsy – sticking my fingers down his throat to stop him swallowing it, and that was before the game!
We won the match 1-0 and we had the best ‘goals against’ record in the league that season, even better than TNS, which was incredible.
3 – Winning the JD Cymru Premier title with Rhyl
We won it without kicking a ball really, because TNS played the night before us and they needed to win I think to put pressure on us the next day. We didn’t have Twitter back in them days, so Luke Sherbon – who lived in Aberystwyth, who TNS were playing against the night before – was stood on top of a van outside Park Avenue watching the game and texting the lads that TNS were drawing.
We played the next day and won the league and got the trophy, and I remember Malcolm Allen came into the dressing room after the game and some of the lads bundled him into the ice bath and absolutely soaked him! Memories like that are what stand out, and I had a really good time up there with Rhyl, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, playing Partizan Belgrade – it was a great time.
4 – Qualifying for Europe with Port Talbot
We had an absolutely crazy bunch of players throughout the squad – everyone had a weakness of some sort, but collectively we came together and we were brilliant that year under Mark Jones, one of the best managers that I’ve played for.
We got this group of players together and we just had this relentless winning mentality and managed to qualify for Europe. We got to the JD Welsh Cup Final that year too, losing to Bangor, but what a great year that was overall.
5 – Kendall vs Kendall
I actually played against my late dad when he was in his forties. He got brought in on an emergency contract for Cwmbran after their goalkeeper went down injured in training that week and they didn’t have a back-up, so he agreed to come in and then asked who they had the following Saturday and it was Barry Town, who I was playing for as a 19-year-old.
We played against each other and his team won 3-0, but I was just in awe of him playing up at the other end to be honest with you – he was my hero, my best friend, and to see him playing at the other end of the pitch was amazing.
We were outplayed and I probably didn’t have the best of games, but when it was all over we shook hands, went home and he did what he always did, talking me through what I did well and what I could have done better and he asked me to do the same for him, so that was really special. One of those moments in football where it’ll never happen again – I’m not sure two goalkeepers, father and son, have ever played against each other at that kind of level before?
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