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A season to celebrate

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The current season won’t exactly live long in the memory. I’m not exactly expecting to sit down and tell my grandkids about the 2019/2020 season in the future although it’s probably an average campaign for us really. Mid table safety and another reminder that we should probably save the entry fee for the FA Cup and save us all the bother. It’s been a season so bereft of excitement that it’s only the promise of cob & chips that gets me through the turnstiles most weeks. Yet still we go every other Saturday, very much martyrs to the cause, and of course we know that next season will be different, we just need to have faith and buy that early-bird season ticket. 

I’m here to tell you to have that conviction and to prepare for a season of anniversaries and celebration as we stride confidently into the unchartered waters of the 2020/21 season. Next season will definitely be the one; a promotion campaign and a FA Cup third round tie beckons because we’ll be so busy reveling in our surviv…

Cymru Rydd by Mao

When our town of Merthyr Tydfil hosted a march in support of Welsh independence on September 8 this year, more than five thousand people turned up to champion the movement. So when Merthyr Town posted their support of the event on social media, many welcomed seeing a Welsh working class institution advocating the idea of Wales being free from the shackles of Westminster rule.
Prominent stars from Welsh sport gave also showed their solidarity to the cause, including former Welsh international and widely considered to be one of the finest goalkeepers of his era, Neville Southall, who told the gathered crowd at Penderyn Square to loud cheers: “Wales is the greatest country in the world, but it’s no good having a dragon if the dragon cannot roar”.
However, The Martyr’s support was shortlived, their fear of alienating a minority of British nationalist supporters saw them delete their post and retract all solidarity just four days later as they issued a statement distancing themselves from t…

My first heartbreak by Chairman Mao

I’ve never really been one for the theory that we can suppress bad memories or incidents so that they never appear in our consciousness but a random discussion with a former England international awakened dark memories of a promotion near-miss and my first experience of how cruel a game football can be especially when your heroes seem invincible. The Merthyr team of the late seventies is often overlooked when the histories of our clubs are debated but it could be argued that for a generation of fans it was Doug Rosser’s lads who cemented our affiliation to the black & white (striped then of course) colours at Penydarren Park. 1979 remains an iconic year in history; Margaret Thatcher starts her reign of destruction, the Specials release their first records, I’m in my first year at Vaynor & Penderyn and Doug Rosser’s black & white army is fighting for promotion. My dad took me to Penydarren Park from a young age and as I’ve written in many articles over the decades I spent mo…

Where did all this come from? by Chairman Mao

It’s been more or less 40 years of average football combined with a few highlights and disasters along the way, I’ve made friends for life and travelled all over the UK and also Europe following the mighty Martyrs but why did this club become such a passion for me? Why football and why Penydarren Park? To answer these questions I had to turn to the source of many similar stories as my story is far from unusual in football, why did my Dad support the Martyrs? What sparked his interest in the black & white shirts? David Evans stands on the Wank Bank for every match. If you want to get hold of him for any reason then you can guarantee for every home game he’ll be standing at the nearest barrier to Holvey’s Tea Bar. That’s where he stands for Merthyr Town. That’s his territory. His football journey started when my Grampa, who never once mentioned football at all to me, took him to Penydarren Park to see Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday 5th December 1949 as that year’s FA Cup winners cam…

Issue 59 review

And number 1 is Tommy Hutch….

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Whilst spending 10 minutes at my work desk trawling through the usual bilge on twitter, hidden amongst the 144 characters from Welsh Independents, Anti Brexit and NFL posts, the picture below popped up. Rob Haggert (one of Twitters funniest local posters - @FaggotsnPeas ) had responded to a post from a Manchester United blogger. Tommy Hutchison is a Merthyr terrace legend. He played for the club in the Conference from 1991 – 1994, playing at PP until he was 46. His 73 appearances for the Martyrs somehow only netted 2 goals, neither of which I can remember, but it was his ability to setup chances and bamboozle full backs that gave his such cult status on The Wank Bank. That’s right Tommy was 46 and was probably the best player at the club. On his day (like an appearance versus Colchester United in the FA Trophy) he was imperious and majestic, but when you look at Tommy’s illustrious career, nowhere do you see the seventeen times Scottish international ever played for The Red Devils. So…

To Buda/Pest By the Re-tired Sec

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Well after a long final season it was off on the trail of international glory with our country.I missed Croatia as I was in Benidorm on the Merthyr Cafu’s stag.The less said about my drinking in Benidorm the better, I think I spent more asleep than I was awake, and it was another of those “how did I come home in one-piece trips.” I arrived in Budapest 24 hours before the rest of the Merthyr party. I was given strict instructions by our diplomatic ambassador “aka Minty” to do some early reconnaissance to find cheap bars before the invaders arrived.However I decided if I wanted to see the sights in Budapest I needed to do it before that lot showed up as the only thing I’d see from that moment on is the bottom of a glass.So Monday morning I had a wander around the beautiful city of Budapest.Now it had been described to me as the Amsterdam of the East, with plenty of cheap bars and one or two sex shops, but not so much drugs.I stayed out of them of course as I’m sure would expect from a ma…

No more heroes by Chairman Mao

We had a General Election on 12th December in the UK and I’m sure we all sat up late into the night for the exciting conclusion to the vote in the Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency; could the Labour Party defy the odds and make it 119 years in a row?
The central issue for the election was of course Brexit and a possible solution to the continued paralysis of government in London. There are too many consequences of leaving the EU to list here but this is a football fanzine so how could it affect us? We’re not sure that anyone really understands the current “Good Deal” offered by Johnson as an alternative to the catastrophic “No Deal” solution that was also threatened by the ERG fundamentalists and their mates in Brexit Party Ltd. but there will be consequences for professional sport and everyone will be affected in the short term as the numerous trade deals are negotiated over the next couple of years. Merthyr Town FC has of course benefitted directly from EU funding for the up…

MERTHYR SHE WROTE by Chairman Mao from around 2003

So I'm standing outside the Main Gates at Worcester City when Miss Marple gets out of a taxi, she's short of the fare, well it's ridiculously expensive in England, she obviously doesn't know the taxi chat ("Working late drive?" or Busy in town tonight?") so I step over and hand out some arian and pretty soon she's through customs and into the crime scene. Worcester have stolen a point and I want it recorded for the record. Worcester is not really a favourite destination for the Dial M For Merthys entourage, we were and still are innocent ! For me, it's an awkward trip - it's neither here nor there, it's a half day off work and a mad rush to Merthyr for the fast car over the border. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to your pilot; The Brown Baron. Now, Mr. Brown loves a burger, and especially a burger from Dowlais Top so almost sixty minutes after leaving the Baili Glas we've travelled less than two miles, but soon it's the…

Bright and Breezy by Chairman Mao

The Dial M group assembled at Anthea's cafe at Bro Dawel with the news of the Newport deals fresh from the press. Shepherd in exchange for our old friend Clarkey, it seems good business to me.
Gary Shep has never really caught the imagination of the Martyrs fans, we've been used to players like Paul Caviel and more recently Phil Green who always gave everything for the black & white shirt no matter what the occasion. It was never a matter of confidence for these players but more of pride in the Merthyr shirt.
Gary Shep is capable of getting goals, his goal at Ninian Park in the FAW Premier Cup being one of the best of this season, an exquisite header showing that he can finish. Maybe a change of scenery will suit him, let's hope he doesn't finally get going at Spytty Park on April 24th, irony? Don't get me started. I only hope that by the time that this issue appears that Darren Ryan has returned from his loan deal at the Gwenties a favourite of this publicatio…