AFTER their historic Welsh Cup win, the part-timers from the tiny village of Llansantffraid embarked on a European adventure.

Before their 1996 cup triumph they knew they were guaranteed a place in Europe thanks to Barry Town’s title win taking them into the Champions League qualifiers, which ensured that the European slot would go to Llansantffraid whatever the result.

The Saints entered UEFA’s now defunct European Cup Winners Cup, open to domestic cup winners of each country.

They were drawn against Ruch Chorzow of Poland, and played the home leg first at Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground.

The Polish visitors took the lead through Dariusz Gesior, but with minutes to go, Aneurin Thomas equalised in front of a crowd of 1,300 – more than the population of the village itself.

But in the away-leg in front of 7,500 people in Poland, milkman Andy Jones had his penalty saved as the Saints went down 5-0 on the night, and 6-1 on aggregate. The tie saw the first involvement of Total Network Solutions, with sponsorship to incorporate the company name into that of the club.

Former County Times editor Graham Breeze was manager of Llansantffraid, and said the experience was the proudest of his football career.

“We already qualified for Europe through reaching the Welsh Cup Final”, he said. “But we were determined to go into it as winners. It was a fantastic adventure.

“We played at Wrexham and got a fantastic draw. Then we had the trip out there to Poland which was a fantastic experience despite the result.”

He added: “None of us could have foreseen it would pave the way for TNS as they are now.

“When I took over they were struggling in the Montgomeryshire League. It was a gradual building, gelling of players, and I pay tribute to officers of the club at the time prepared to put their hand in their pockets to support it.”