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‘I don’t want them to do it’ – TNS keeper has reason to hope Man City fall short

The New Saints v Lincoln Red Imps – UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round – First Leg – Park Hall Stadium
(Image credit: Barrington Coombs)

Paul Harrison has more than one reason to hope Manchester City do not set a new world record with their winning run.

Pep Guardiola’s men will head into Sunday’s Manchester derby chasing a 22nd consecutive victory after getting the better of Wolves on Tuesday evening.

Should they be successful, they will go level with Real Madrid on the all-time list of top-flight European teams with only Bayern Munich, Ajax and The New Saints ahead of them, and the Welsh side’s club captain Harrison is hoping their record remains intact.

The New Saints goalkeeper, Paul Harrison

The New Saints goalkeeper Paul Harrison was part of the team who won 27 matches in a row (Barrington Coombs/PA)

He told the PA news agency with a smile: “I don’t want them to do it – I’m a Liverpool fan. They’ve got the Manchester derby at the weekend, so I’ll be happy with a draw.”

Cymru Premier TNS set their Guinness World Record on December 30, 2016 when they beat Cefn Druids for the second time in five days to complete a run of 27 back-to-back victories in the league, the Welsh Cup, the League Cup and Scotland’s invitational Challenge Cup.

That sequence of results provided the backbone of the sixth of eight successive league title drives, although goalkeeper Harrison admits the achievement, which bettered by one that of the renowned Ajax team of the 1970s, was not really celebrated at the time.

The 36-year-old said: “I didn’t actually realise there was such a winning streak going on. I remember getting to about 17 games and people started really talking about it, saying how good the run was and it just snowballed from there.

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“At the time, we didn’t really celebrate like it was that big an achievement, to be honest, it was a bit strange. We were that busy trying to win another league title, we just carried on.

“I can’t remember how many games there were to go, but we were just concentrating on that.”

In the event, the world-beating run came to an end in the very next game when, having led 3-1 at lowly Newtown, TNS were pegged back by a stoppage-time equaliser as the hosts fought back to force a 3-3 draw.

Harrison said: “I remember the game well. It was a free-kick and he scored, post and in, and it was literally the last kick of the game he scored with.

“It was a bit of deflation, but it was sort of a relief as well so people could stop talking about it and we could just get on with the games.”

City’s blistering form has served to bring TNS’ feat back into the limelight and remind Harrison and his team-mates of exactly what they did.

He said: “The fact that City are getting closer to doing it and people are starting to talk about it, you start to realise how good an achievement it actually was at the time.

“We were quite blase about it, really, but now looking back on it and when people start talking about the achievement, it’s something to be really proud of.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (John Walton/PA)

Asked what advice he would give Guardiola and his team, Harrison added: “I don’t think they need any advice, they’re that good, but it’s just the next game, that’s all you can worry about.

“That’s all we ever did. It was just always about the next game, don’t worry about anything that’s coming after that. It’s an old cliche, but just take every game as it comes.”