A Way of Life - Issue 53 - by Joshua “Bronte” Williams

I recently saw online that old chestnut of “it’s not just a kit it’s our skin, it’s not just a stadium it’s our home, it’s not just a club it’s a way of life” etc. I had heard it several times but I don’t think I had ever realised how true it was.

I was at a home game with my usual crew in the same old spot on the terrace, waiting to see which end we’d be attacking first when I was so engrossed in a conversation that I had a surprise when the teams started walking out. It was as if I had forgotten there was a football match about to be played, forgotten that I was at a football ground. That’s what Penydarren Park has come to mean to me, that it is no longer solely a football pitch with some covered areas to sit or stand; it is a home, a home away from home. No longer is it just some bricks and mortar I visit to watch sport, but a social hub I can build my life around. I probably would not have met some of my closest friends if it were not Merthyr Town FC, and I certainly would not have enjoyed one of my most enjoyable birthdays earlier this year in a hospitality box if it were not for this club.

I know many fans may say this about their club but at our level the bond is even closer, with fans having an immeasurably closer relationship with players at non league level as opposed to the preening millionaire superstars of the professional game. Where else would you be able to share a drink after the match with the players you cheered on for the 90 minutes? Add to this the fact that we are fan owned takes it to another level.

Merthyr Town is a very unique club indeed. A Welsh club playing in the English league system and owned by its fans. It is so much more than a club; it IS a way of life.

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