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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
TNS thrilled with Liverpool tie
TNS manager Ken McKenna
It's definitely got a nice feel to it
TNS manager Ken McKenna
TNS have hailed their money-spinning Champions League first qualifying round draw against holders Liverpool.

"You couldn't write a story like this - a village team from Wales playing the European champions," said TNS boss Ken McKenna, a lifelong Everton fan.

"I would have preferred to get someone a lit bit easier so we could still be in when the big clubs like Everton come in in the third round!"

TNS are likely to switch their home leg to Wrexham or the Millennium Stadium.

The Racecourse Ground has staged the majority of TNS' European fixtures because their home ground at the small mid-Wales village of Llansantffraid does not meet Uefa criteria.

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, where the Welsh league and cup winners used in their 2003 Uefa Cup tie with Manchester City, would be able to accommodate more fans and so generate more income.

All the injured players could suddenly walk and sprinted out of the physio room
TNS manager Ken McKenna

"If we go to Anfield and Liverpool get a good lead, I'm not sure how many Liverpudlians would want to come to the second leg in Cardiff," McKenna told BBC Wales Sport.

"Wrexham would be easier for Liverpool fans and the neutrals to get to, so that may be a better bet.

"But it's a difficult one because Liverpool have got such a big following all over the country, the game will attract them no matter where we play."

With some many Liverpool-based players in their squad, TNS have been training on Merseyside for the past few weeks.

The players were in a middle of a training session when the draw was announced, and McKenna said they could hardly contain their excitement.

"All the injured players could suddenly walk and sprinted out of the physio room! We're all over the moon," he said.

"We've been running along the Mersey and looking over to Liverpool thinking it would be great to get them so there's a bit of irony about it all.

"It's definitely got a nice feel to it."

Before Uefa changed their rules to allow Liverpool to defend the trophy, TNS managing director Mike Harris side he was happy to give up their Champions League place if they lost a one-off match to the Reds.

That suggestion was quickly scuppered by the Football Association of Wales, but Harris has now got the high-profile tie he had wished for.

"There were a number of clubs we fancied in the first round but financially this is obviously the best."

TNS, formerly known as Llansantffraid, have failed to win any of their previous 12 games in European competition.

The home leg at Anfield will be played on 12/13 July with the return leg a week later.




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