A Safer Space by Marc ap Dafydd

  The recent  Sgorio   piece on our game v Weston Super Mare gave the club an opportunity to express everyone’s frustration with the Covid-19  restrictions imposed by our very own government. That game ,  in particular , seem s  the most ridiculous of the two games played behind closed doors. The “Boxing Day” game would have seen a crowd possibly close to 1,000 fans which is sadly unusual for us in recent seasons, a day of reunions as exiled fans return home to celebrate Christmas with loved  ones, a slice of Valleys life concentrated into a football ground. There would  of course  have been  cwtshes  all around the terraces  on that day  so maybe a note of caution over the festive period was warranted  but the next home game with no fans seemed absurd to everyone at  Penydarren  Park when the S4C cameras came to film our empty terraces.  Our average home crowd is about 400 fans these days and let’s be honest we can probably provide any authority in the land with a map of where each of

Why do we live this way by Konrad Bartelski

  Have you ever thought about the way we live? The reliance on the ability of a dozen or so semi-professional or maybe that should be semi-amateur players to complete our week’s endeavors with a competent game of football and if we’re lucky three points . It all  seems a bit ridiculous .  I’ve thought about this for a long time, it’s getting on for 43 years now, and I’ve come to the realization that it’s not absurd for us to believe in a football team to make us happy. Why shouldn’t we? We live in the Valleys, the most hedonistic part of the UK.  The most ludicrous fans hav e got  to be those from the big cities where there  must  be more to life than football, haven’t they got more there after all? They do, we don’t ,  but we  certainly  live life to the full. That’s the  big  difference  in  how we live our lives. Belgrade is a great city. There are more than a few Merthyr fans who have been there to watch Wales over the years and every one of them will tell you that it’s a great cit

A bleak midwinter By Konrad Bartelski

My wife reckons that summer officially starts on the day after the winter solstice, I think she’s clutching at straws but to be fair the days will become longer as we head into 2022 and the second half of this intriguing season which was full of hopes of consolidation but has become more of a fight of attrition against relegation. It’s never been easy to be a Martyr, that goes without saying, but we are about to be tested  once again  with  our club’s fight for survival in this our spiritual home in the top division of the Southern League. A season in hibernation within a global pandemic  has required us to basically start a football club all over again.  Thankfully we were able to keep the off-field business alive albeit in much reduced circumstances, the Wales matches in the Euro2020 tournament  certainly helped raise both funds and morale at  Penydarren  Park especially with  TalkSPORT  basing their coverage at our ground.  The ever - present uncertainty over Covid restrictions ensu

Don’t be deflected By Webley the Fish

So here we go again. Football is evidently considered as low-hanging fruit by our government so once again it’s up to us to ensure that our club gets through another period of empty terraces, no hospitality and absent friends. You don’t need us to tell you that this decision is absurd when we can drink in Roman’s or Webley’s bars at the ground but not outside on our, let’s be honest, sparsely populated terraces but there’s a bigger picture here that has nothing to do with either Delta or Omicron.   The underlying issue for every Covid restriction to our normal way of live is that we must protect the NHS and its staff from being overwhelmed. This reality underpins every law created in Wales to delay or destroy the virus. A noble aim which everyone will support of course but are we masking the fact that the NHS having been neglected by the Tories for over a decade now is seriously under resourced? Many would say that the NHS is heading the same way as British Rail. Starved of resources


France, five years ago  presented most of us in Wales with the best football experience ever, arguably for some the best experience of their entire life. Fortunate to be at 4 of those games including the semi final, the highlight was obviously the night in Lille and I was even able to take my son Shaun, wheelchair and all who still describes it as the best day of his life by a country mile. This time around UEFA, along with Brexit, and the completely horrendous format of the 2020 European championships denied most of us any hope of a replay so for me, the chance to get to any games was too good a chance to miss, even if it meant mostly England games. Have to say, the English FA has been more than good to me, and with some great people who have become great friends so I had no hesitation in telling them I was up for any tickets they could offer. Starting with a boiling afternoon and England v Croatia, I watched Wales' game against Switzerland in the White Hart pub in Holborn wi

Have a back up plan.... by Jonny O

This was a mantra from my old man. It was always what he said. He couldn’t get his head around people not planning. If I was stuck somewhere (Brecon Jazz one a phone box...desperate) How did you get there? Uhhh....I don’t know. You don’t know? Uhhh....I thought that....ummm You thought what? I don’t know. Exactly! Get a bus or thumb a lift. It’ll teach you.   (And I did...I thumbed a lift and arrived home freezing and damp...and it did teach me). One time I’m at the table....I’m about 8 years old. I’m gonna be a footballer!   Are you now? Yes! (If this was a Hollywood film the music would start and there’d be a montage of me trying hard and scoring goal and him shouting from the touchline...instead it was Merthyr Tydfil) And what’s the back up? I don’t need one. Don’t you? Nope! I’m gonna be the new Pele.   Pele? Yes! And what if you’re not. I will be.   But what I you don’t get past 5 foot? (I was below average height at that poi

Baku or Bust by Moppy

Cast your mind back to around 5pm on Saturday 30th November 2019. Can you remember where you were, who you were with and what you were doing? You can’t? Understandable, it was well over 18 months ago. I can though, in fact I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was sat in Gareth Bale’s boozer opposite Cardiff Castle, I was with some work colleagues for a pre Xmas do meet up and I was watching a television nervously waiting for the draw for the finals of Euro 2020 to commence. Seeing as, in 40 years of watching Wales at home and 25 years of watching them away I’ve only ever been in that position once before (4 years previously), events like that are burned in my memory. Four years previously. I was a little slow of the mark booking accommodation for the 2016 finals and ended up with some, er, right ropey joints. So this time I, along with my two regular Wales Away travelling pals, Ritchie Question and Mackie, took it serious. We knew that we could only play in two groups, Baku/Rom