Super Cup programme information
Merthyr Tydfil FC v Atalanta BC
European Cup Winners’ Cup first round 1987/88
Fittingly, given that Wales’s great footballing legend John Charles ended his playing days at Penydarren Park, the finest night in Merthyr’s history came against a club from Italy, where Charles made such an indelible impression with Juventus.
The reward for Merthyr’s third Welsh Cup triumph was a tie against Serie A side Atalanta. On a weather worn pitch, better suited to the Welsh side’s more direct style than Atalanta’s passing game, set-piece goals from Kevin Rogers and Ceri Williams secured a 2-1 home win in front of 14,000 delirious supporters. Away tickets for the return leg soon sold out.
“Half of Merthyr were in Italy, it seemed,” skipper Andy Beattie later recalled. The Martyrs went down 2-0 on the night – and exited the competition 3-2 on aggregate – but even defeat couldn’t dampen the travelling supporters’ spirits.
“Afterwards the players and the fans all went to the pub to celebrate – things like that don’t happen any more,” Beattie added.
Financial problems forced Merthyr into liquidation in 2010, but they have since re-emerged as Merthyr Town and now play in the Southern Football League Division One.