A vision of the future
Word has reached us that our Board has been meeting with the FAW regarding the possibility of Merthyr Town FC joining the Welsh pyramid system in the near future. There can be no issue with that, we need to understand the financial benefits to us giving up 111 years of history to make a leap of faith into the Cymru Leagues. Many of us remain unconvinced and the odds of the owners voting to abandon our current membership with a 75% majority, as per our constitution, must be pretty high.
If the FAW are looking for a repeat of Colwyn Bay’s damascene change of direction at Penydarren Park then they will need to convince us that they respect us and what we will need to leave behind in order to leave our spiritual home in the Southern League once and for all.
It would seem that there is a steady stream on social media of Welsh football fans who think we are insane to continue our lonely furrow within the non-league scene in England. That is understandable. For every Merthyr Town fan the current status of the club is normal in that we play in the Southern League and we’re a club that can compete at the top but on the whole we’re pretty safe in mid-table most seasons, we dream of a FA Cup run which we know deep down that we’ll never get and still we turn up in our hundreds, there’s a hard-core support of about 500 fans. To the outside world this looks crazy as we’re apparently going nowhere – the reality is though that we don’t want to go anywhere really as watching Merthyr Town FC is a social event on so many levels. For me personally I only go to meet my mates and there’s a football match happening in the background at the same time.
All in all we’re in no hurry to change our habits. Our status in the English system has been maintained by the hard work and resilience of generations of Merthyr football fans and to blithely throw their sacrifices away by selling out our USP as the best non-league club in Wales must not happen.
If Wales wants us then sell us the dream. We’re from Merthyr and we are stubborn. We want to be seduced.
Belittling us via social media makes no sense – that’s no way to woo someone.
Let’s imagine that the FAW have a negotiator with the seduction style of a certain Cllr Carter, keen to close the deal but also happy to pay, then where would we play?
Many of us would expect to be placed in the Welsh Premier League directly as after all we won our appeal in 1989 and were never an exiled club. We followed the FAW protocol and successfully convinced their panel that we should be allowed to continue our ambitions in England. There is a lot of ignorance out there though, again on social media, as to our club’s provenance and how we remained as associated members of the FA; Merthyr Town FC settled the “football debts” of Merthyr Tydfil AFC and therefore were accepted by both National Associations to remain a member of the English pyramid. There is no gap from 1945, we are a continuation of those soldiers’ dreams of sending home shillings to resurrect semi-professional football in our town. Those servicemen at the end of a global war need to be respected by the FAW – these roots run deep.
For many within the current Welsh pyramid it is expected that we would join the Cymru South League in direct correlation with Colwyn Bay’s return to the Cymru North this season. There’s a lot of understandable reasons for this, why should the current clubs in the Cymru Premier accept us as an extra club? How would that division operate as 13? And most important of all would we gain a license to operate at that level and therefore also for UEFA competition?
The Cymru South could be a good staging post for us. The Western League was a success on many levels for us when we dropped those levels, we were able to regroup and slowly rebuild as a fan-owned club.
There would be immediate benefits to playing our games in the southern half of our country. First of all our travel costs would be greatly reduced, no more visits to Truro and Poole, and of course we would take more away fans although that could be a negative as our volatile (that’s our polite word for describing our ramshackle bunch of lunatics that we attract for big away games that offer a chance of alcohol and football) away support may overwhelm some grounds. We’ve previously experienced over reactions by Welsh Premier League clubs to our excitable away fans a few times in the past and it’s never end well.
You can’t drink on the terraces in the Welsh pyramid by the way so no more booze to dull the pain of another home defeat.
Entry to the Welsh Cup would be fantastic though, let’s be honest about that, as it’s a competition that we could actually win, don’t forget we’ve won it “fucking loads” (three times) – note to every one of our English readers that we have only won it when ALL clubs in Wales were able to enter.
There is another argument in support of the Welsh system that we could attract more sponsorship with the extra coverage on social media, TV and press reports. It would be great to receive more attention than just a half-page report in the Merthyr Express and a desultory match report in the Non-League Paper.
As for the Wales C team, if we do join the Welsh system then that team can go fuck itself.
The very nature of this article will show that any decision on our pyramid status will be debated at length by our supporters and unlike all of the clubs in the Cymru Premier we are fan-owned by constitution and that means an AGM vote by the club’s owners who are of course its fans.
Merthyr Town FC may be on offer, it’s up to the FAW to convince us to swipe right.
Tommy Nuts & Bolts