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A proper derby match by Chairman Mao

The recent postponement of the Copa Libertadores Cup Final between Boca Juniors and River Plate sparked a frenzied social media debate as to the most passionate derby match in world football.
Whereas the varied suggestions from Glasgow, Rome, Sao Paulo, Newcastle and even Wrexham all have their claims to the title of the best derby match there is only one true derby match that sets the benchmark for a traditional local football match played regularly between neighbours …..
The Trefechan Derby The Trefechan estate nestles quietly in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, it is after all in Breconshire and not Merthyr Tydfil, and apart from a fantastic chip shop it’s a pretty quiet place these days but it wasn’t always like this.
They say there are two sides to every story and here on this small housing estate that’s very true as you will always be classed by your side of the Vaynor Road that bisects the village.
Top Side and Bottom Side – taxi drivers know these terms.
I grew up in Trefechan.…

No More Detours anymore - by Chairman Mao

Football has changed. There’s no doubt about that and there’s plenty of obvious examples of that. From the demise of the Football Pinks on Saturday to the absence of toilet rolls thrown from goal line terraces. Things has changed so much that many traditions seem to have faded away with little or no fanfare.

Sometimes though you can be reading a fanzine or chatting over a beer and something will spark a memory of a bygone age buried deep down within the football psyche.
I’ve just read the current When Saturday Comes magazine (there’s an article on Merthyr Town’s football league period in there) and I came across a double page on Watford which took me down a rabbit-hole of nostalgia as I remembered 1979 and Chesham United. These days a Saturday morning is often begun with a text or tweet advising that there’s been a pitch inspection hundreds of miles away in the flat barren wastelands of England and the game has been called off. Some local ref has turned up and ruined your day. Fair eno…

The forgotten trip - by Chairman Mao

The Anglo-Italian competition had been played in different formats between 1970 and 1996 between clubs from England and Italy. It was founded by Gigi Peronace, the Italian super-agent who had sorted the transfer of John Charles from Leeds United to Juventus in 1957.The first final in 1970 was abandoned early due to violence andSwindon Town declared the winners. The Cup limped on until 1973 when it was dropped through lack of interest. The much-maligned tournament returned as a semi-professional tournament from 1976 before it was abolished again in 1986 but in that final year the usual format was interrupted as a Welsh club was invited to participate (via the Southern League) – Merthyr Tydfil AFC.

Our club played a masterstroke before even leaving Wales as the Board acting upon a suggestion by club secretary Ken Tucker invited John Charles to accompany the team on the trip to Italy. Charlo, as Terry affectionately called him through the interview, accepted on the condition that the club…

The Great Army of Fans - by Chairman Mao

It is no exaggeration to say that without the support from Supporters Direct (SD) eight years ago we would not have a football club playing in the English pyramid structure. The organisation had started under Tony Blair’s football task force in 1999 with the prime motive of encouraging fans to gain a stake in their clubs and to make fan-ownership a realistic target for fans too. The Supporters Trust model was born at Northampton Town in 1992 and provided a framework for fans to work within a not-for-profit business model to ensure good governance and transparency in club boardrooms.
It was Supporters Direct who contacted us back in 2004 to invite Merthyr Tydfil fans to form a supporters’ trust. Little did we know that this organisation would resurrect the town’s football club in 2010 and become the first fan-owned club in Wales.
The late Jacqui Forster was our first SD caseworker and she travelled to Penydarren Park on a dark winter’s night in our first year to encourage us to follow th…

Tired and Weary by The Purple Elephant

With growing financial problems, dwindling crowds and an alarming lack of interest, is it time for one of the remaining members of the original "irate eight" to cut their losses, admit they were wrong and return "home" with their tail between their legs?
At approximately 9.10 pm on February 16th 2000, Andy Morrell slotted home his seventh and Wrexham's eighth goal of the evening to round off a miserable and totally unjustifiably embarrassing night for Merthyr Tydfil Football Club and their dwindling band of supporters. I say evening but could easily have said season. I could have taken a broader view and said the last five years or so. The stark truth is that there is a strong possibility that our team could be playing Western Division football next year. From what I've seen this season we are certainly not too good to go down.
There should be no excuses for what happened at the Racecourse Ground. The result was just a culmination of the mis-management and …

Who do you support - by Mao

It seems that the ever curious football fan has returned to following our national team home and away, you know the one I’m on about, he (and it’s always a he) needs to know where you’re from in Wales and of course more importantly who you support?
We’ve covered this issue before in the fanzine. A very long evening in Vienna was endured by about twenty of our fellow Martyrs as our loyalty to our black & white heroes was called into question. You aren’t Cardiff fans? Then you must be Swansea seemed to be the logic of that Austrian adventure.
We have a giant Wales flag that appears every now and then at Penydarren Park, it’s too big for most grounds in our league so it very rarely leaves the Pearl too. It’s banner headline is a play on the Socialist Workers’ Party slogan but for us it’s “Neither Cardiff Nor Swansea But International Merthyrism” and it tells a tale for all clubs in Wales in that we have our identity and most certainly culture that sadly a lot of football league fans …

Rebels to a Very Lost Cause by Wandering

For many of us Tuesday, 10th October 2017 will live long in our memories, but for all the wrong reasons! But as the events on the night started to unfold I could only cast my mind back to Dr. Kuber-Ross’s 5 step model of coping with loss - titled ‘Dealing with the Grim Reaper’ an article published in Issue 53. To be four nil up at half time and to lose five-four you have to ask yourself how on earth did that happen. How did Slough Town achieve the unthinkable? How did they manage to overturn a four-goal deficit and win the match in second half stoppage time? It is a result which left many lost for words, not least the Martyrs supporters. Joint Rebels manager Neil Baker exclaimed “I don't think you'll ever see a game of football like it in your life”. Were we heading in Mikey D’s words ‘on the journey to our inevitable mediocrity’? Unlikely, as we were ‘burning like a supernova’ in the first half! The Martyrs were in front after five minutes through Ian Traylor with Mo Touray doubl…

AND IT WAS A BLOODY GOOD LAUGH by Chairman Mao from the early 2000s.

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The phone rang at 6. In the morning. The call was coming from Merthyr to get up and get ready. Glamorgan were at Lords and the whole of South Wales seemed on the road. The DMFM crew were set to join them. Around 45 minutes later, the peace of my Cynon Valley haven was shattered by the arrival of our charabanc, whether this mini-bus would reach London seemed doubtful, it seemed to be held together by sellotape. I climbed aboard, all were present, only RTB to be collected at Quakers Yard to make up the nine selected to represent Merthyr Tydfil FC, having the dubious pleasure of delivering us at the home of cricket.
The length of the M4 seemed to be full of all manner of transport transporting Glamorgan supporters eastwards, even the sight of two Gloucestershire coaches sparked weird celebrations as cars, vans, mini-buses and coaches tried to flag them down to share in the vast cider lake that was heading towards London. Wingnut had started his sesh at 6.30 am outside the Norton, he was …

Merthyr in the Orient Express. author unknown

It's 8.30 a.m. The place, as usual, is the Merthyr Law Courts. The DMFM Crew are once more gathering one by one for what will hopefully be another memorable trip. The destination, The English Capital, for our F.A. Cup tie with the mighty O's of Leyton, E10. The Supporters Club buses are filling up nicely and the sight of about four hundred Merthyr fans queuing up is great. Just like the old days, eh?9.00 a.m. arrives and our minibus still hasn't turned up along with a couple of the boys ie Jimmy Kranky and Mr Strong. However, we are joined amazingly by Typey sporting two bruised eyes courtesy of the bouncer at the Pitz. 9.30 a.m. and our minibus finally arrives with Mick, Gwynney, Hulby and, as Shaun Ryder would say, Mad Cyril on board. A quick trip back up to Dowlais to collect Mr Strong and the booze from the Miners and we are away, with a quick stop in Treforest to collect P.J. Woodcraft - Welsh Lovespoon maker.
The journey up is quiet although the traffic in London is …

Issue 58

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Issue 58 will be on the terraces for tomorrow’s visit of Basingstoke Town.