One day in '87 in the merry month of May... author unknown from issue 30

Thursday 21" May 1987 - a day that will be etched in the memories of all Martyrs worldwide. A Chris Baird penalty wins the 100'" Welsh Cup Final for Merthyr Tydfil FC and gives them the opportunity to compete with the cream of European football in the 87/B8 Cup Winners Cup. Thirteen years on and this momentous day still appears' in my meandering mind, virtually on a daily basis. Living in the past, maybe. Cardiff City have been doing that for the last 73 years. They are also living in the future; big club, massive potential, should be in the First Division etc. Well, us lot 24 miles up the A470 are more realistic in our ambitions...
The departure of Gary Wager signified the end of an era. With the last member of the Welsh Cup winning side now departed it gives us the opportunity to look at each member of the side from that glorious day in May 1987 and ask the question - Where are they now?

1. Gary Wager - stalwart keeper and my Martyr of the Millennium. Sacked by MTAFC in controversial circumstances after a fight with then secretary Viv Reed on the team bus coming back from a DML game. Wager was a Welsh cup winner again last season as Inter Cardiff defeated Carmarthen Town at PP. Now with Cwmbran Town after regaining fitness following a broken arm. A true god.
2. David Tong - Who can forget the 'Tongy Turn'? A sliding tackle following by a swivel of the hips and arse, ball at his feet, and Tongy would be on the attack! I must be honest I have no idea where he is now. An Internet search sent me to a number of web pages including the home page for 'David Tong's personal services' and a list of CV's of students at a University in Hong Kong! If anyone knows what he is doing now then please contact us.
3. Chris Baird - The hero of the replay as he coolly slotted home the decisive penalty that eventually won the cup for the Martyrs. 60 years earlier Chris' great uncle Fred Keenor lifted the English FA Cup at Wembley with Cardiff City. After the Welsh Cup win the rumour mill sent out vibes that Chris was off to Forest Green Rovers. Luckily, Chris stayed at PP but his dislike of training ultimately cost him his place in the side to Peter Jones and he departed. Latest reports suggest Chris is working for Jeff White Motors Sales department in Cardiff. He still looks back fondly on his days with the Martyrs.
4. Chris Holvey (Capt) - The legend of the 1970's and 1980's for Merthyr fans. Granted a testimonial season that culminated in a fixture against Watford at PP. Best memory, the wave he used to give us when Holveyesque version of the Pet Shop Boys song Domino Dancing was sung, Probably still a 'sparky' in Ebbw Vale.
5. Roger Mullen - Stylish, if a touch on the slow side, central defender. Has been with a number of clubs in the Rhondda since he left the Martyrs but currently with AFC Rhondda and, if the Wales on Sunday is to be believed, playing as a centre forward (and doing quite well, too!).
6. Steve Williams - Tough tackling midfielder who, since those halcyon days, has had several spells back with the Martyrs as well as nearly every other club in South Wales. Played at PP in the 1999 Final for runners up Carmarthen Town. His other final appearance was with Barry Town earlier in the decade. He was on the winning side on that occasion. Steve used to scare me due to the fact that he was the spitting image of Cyfarthfa High School's maths teacher Jeff Meade. He used to fucking hate me and during a 5-a-side tournament at Rhydycar he took me out with an atrocious tackle that put be on crutches for a week.
7. Kevin Rogers - Local lad done good, worked his way to the pinnacle of the tourist industry, The Castle Hotel. The Martyrs signed Kev after his exploits in European competition with Wrexham. Renowned for his jet black hair (continually dyed) and liaisons with many ladies of the town... The Rogers' free kick was legendary - always went 2 foot over the crossbar. After MT he went on to play for Newport, Cwmbran and Hoover Sports. Still believed to be playing cricket during the Summer months now that his footballing days are behind him. Recently married for the second time, on the day of the abandoned game at home to Rothwell, in fact, the weekend before Xmas.
8. David Webley - The goalscoring legend. Even now, when I watch Tongy swinging that cross over for Webley to rise above the Newport defence and put the ball in the net for the equaliser at Ninian, it brings a tear to the eye. One of his most bizarre moments must have been when he played at Atherstone in a midweek Beazer Homes League fixture with no facial hair after a an accident at work. I will never forget the looks on the faces of the home defence that night as Dai took the field. Another journeyman of South Wales soccer who's clubs have included Inter Cardiff, Carmarthen, Newport and Bridgend Town. Currently player/manager of Gwent League side Cwmtillery FC and recently got himself sent off after a 22-man brawl during the 'derby' fixture with Abertillery FC.
9. Bob Latchford - After his short but immensely successful period with the Martyrs Bob left to pursue other business opportunities. 8ecame an area rep for Corals, the bookmakers. Spotted by a member of the DMFM crew at a Birmingham -vrs- Wolves fixture circa 1993 where he was acting as a PR consultant for the Blues. Since then the trail has gone dead...
10. Andy Beattie - A truly unique character who always had his smart wife and white van in tow. Made the trapping of the football with the arse his own (the Beattie Bum!). Went on to captain Barry Town in their Welsh Cup win and, as player/manager, led Caerleon Town to the quarter finals of this season's Welsh Cup, where they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat at home to Bangor City (Beattie was one of two Caerleon players to be sent off!). Andy is also current manager of the Welsh under-18 girls' team.
11. Ceri Willioms - Every Merthyr supporter will have a tale to tell about our own 'Georgie' - maybe the time he slept the night with a lady friend in the caravan at PP (that acted as the commercial office!). Due to the 'activity' of the night, he ended up toppling the mobile home or how he was found pissed in a bus stop in the Gurnos the day after a Martyrs midweek home game. But, in Newquay, Cardiganshire, in the Summer of 1988 Ceri and his road tarmacing mates saved me from a good kick-in. The locals in a pub overlooking the beach were giving us nasty stares so far all night. Relief came in the form of Ceri Williams and his colleagues, who stumbled into the establishment, looking slightly worse for wear. He immediately recognised the small contingent of Merthyr lads and came over to talk to us. Seeing we were quite uptight he asked what the problem was. Suffice to say the locals didn't look at us again for the remainder of our sesh. Cheers Georgie! Now at Garw Athletic after touring Wales playing for everyone!
12. Anthony Hopkins - A nightmare of a Manchester United fan, totally blinkered. My mother lived through Anthony's rise to fame as she had to suffer Jean Hopkins' daily run down, at break-time in Thorn EMI, of her son's progress as the Welsh Cup run continued. Now believed to be working as a chargehand in the machine shop of TBS.
Manager Lyn Jones - Recently seen at Wales -vrs- Belgium Women's international in Llanelli and has since been appointed assistant manager of the Welsh women's team. Has also managed Bridgend Town, Porthcawl Town and Inter Cardiff as well as returning to PP for one unhappy spell. His son, Lee, was probably the worst player ever to play for the Martyrs (but we can't hold that against him, can we?). The ultimate tribute to this great man came with the spraying of LYN JONES IS GOD on o wall by the side of the family enclosure.
Trainer - Frankie Hagerty - When will Frankie get a testimonial? Along with Dai Martin, has kept this club afloat. In his whole time being involved with MTAFC, he has never failed to retrieve a ball that has gone out of the ground.


Popular posts from this blog

25 years of Dial M For Merthyr Fanzine

Showing your support by Wolvesy

Great Expectations by Guardy