What do they expect of us?


What do they expect of us?

Merthyr Town has a tradition, probably more a culture, of its supporters following them home and away. Whether it’s walking up Park Terrace, cycling to Cossham Street, trains to Sholing, cars to Yate or the tried and trusted Travel Club bus to almost everywhere the Martyrs will take fans to an away ground no matter the distance.

In fact it’s a rarity in our division for any club to bring fans to Penydarren Park, even Paulton only brought a mini bus to CF47 for the play-off final last season, notable exceptions have been Poole Town, Mangotsfield United and Leamington in recent years.

So we’ve established that we take a few supporters away with us.

Next would be the fact that we also like a drink or two. So we finally come to the conundrum of the fan/drink/profit equation for every clubhouse in the country. Once a season, unless you’re unlucky to pull a midweek game against the Martyrs, you get about sixty to a hundred very thirsty Merthyr folk pitching up at your normally deserted clubhouse. Now most of our opponents over the seasons have welcomed us into their homes, served us foaming quarts of ale and sat back and enjoyed or more probably endured our noisy, irreverent and mostly silly support of our heroes in black & white.

Some however have been known to take advantage of our generous nature by inflating prices, who can forget the hastily amended chalk board for both admission prices and beers at Bishop Sutton for example? I’m sure you’ll have your own recollection of a club taking advantage of you as you stumbled off a sixty-sixty coach miles from home.

It’s all a moot point to be honest. What can you do? You pay up and enjoy the game. No worries really.

We’ve also faced the closure of bars because of our alleged reputation at Bradford upon Avon. Faced police and security to welcome us off the coach in Totton. Both scenarios caused by clubs relaying a false impression about the Merthyr Town support.

Another issue has been the lack of credible stewarding at away games. No issue in isolation. We’re pretty much into self-policing these days. However as we’ve experienced many times, clubhouses seem happy to serve drinks all day and then complain that the support may have been noisy or rowdy. North Leigh last season was a perfect example of this.

The boycott of the clubhouse at Swindon Supermarine last season was the first example of Merthyr supporters taking positive steps to counter inflated prices and false info to other clubs. The Travel Club is to be commended for organising the stop at the Rat Trap pub local to the ground. It was an inspired choice with great food, a tidy selection of Arkells ales and a pool table which was heavily used.

To be honest this is the future for Merthyr supporters if we aren’t respected then we go elsewhere. 10th January at North Leigh will be the next opportunity for us to impress upon our hosts that if we are not appreciated then we will take our custom elsewhere. We’ll pay for entry and possibly a programme but nothing else.

Obviously these clubs are in the minority, away days are fun, a time to share the common appreciation & love of our proud football club with our fellow club owners. This term I’ll be looking forward to visiting Wimborne, Cinderford, Stratford, Mangotsfield, Taunton, Bridgewater, Yate and Totton. There’ll be a few surprises during another campaign I’m sure with laughs, tears, beers and a few songs along the way. Who can forget Christmas carols at Bristol Manor Farm at Easter?

The message remains though that if we’re not satisfied with the match day experience we may change our habits next time. Just be nice to us!

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