Not a normal Sunday By Clever Trevor
Its just another regular Sunday in the Valleys. A bit of Jonny Owen & Friends on TalkSPORT to start the day and then a wander down to the Club to try to balance a mountain of a Sunday dinner on a china plate. Then a quick catch up with the lads to find out if you’ve made a dick of yourself the night before. The realisation that another Monday is looming casts a long shadow over your day but this is no ordinary Sabbath day and tomorrow promises much more than just another daily grind to fund the weekend.
Tomorrow is of course a unique day in the calendar of every Merthyrite. Tomorrow someone in that there London will include Merthyr Town FC in the oldest national Cup competition in the world. Its time for our annual, probably all too brief, flirtation with the magic of the FA Cup.
There is a certain amount of gallows humour around the Merthyr support when it comes to our expectations for a Cup run every season. We haven’t exactly set the competition alight over the century or more that we’ve been in the FA Cupbut that doesn’t mean we haven’t had some great moments over the decades.
Merthyr Town were the first FA Cup opponents to play at Highbury back in 1915 when we decided to switch the game to North London for the money and suffered a 3-0 defeat. I’msure our Board would welcome a return to Arsenal in January but let’s be honest our recent form is pretty poor so let’s not even dream about that one.
You have to go back 74 years to find our only real giant-killing act when we knocked Bristol Rovers out of the Cup with a famous 3-1 victory at a packed Penydarren Park. Our old ground was even fuller, 20,000+, when Reading knocked us though in the next round. In that post World War II era the club had the opportunity to take on a few Football League clubs, for example taking Ipswich Town to a replay, and it’s a 6-1 Cup defeat at Bradford City that signalled the end of that brilliant team for many Merthyr fans.
A big day out at Swindon Town in the sixties and the heartbreak of seeing other cup conquerors go onto play Newcastle United, Reading and Cambridge United in the seventies and eighties were other additions to our indifferent FA Cup record.
Walsall came to town in 2005 and we got to experience the novelty of being a Sky TV live game. It was heart lifting for us all to see the terraces full at the ground once again and once again Merthyr didn’t disappoint as we also got a streakerto entertain the sofa dwelling masses.
As we know these thrills are few and far between for us but it still doesn’t stop us all wondering if this season will be the one when we finally make our mark on the FA Cup. Will we ever reach the nirvana of the third round? Can we please not get another non-league club if we ever reach the First round? Most of us would be happy to get a Conference club in the 4thqualifying round to be honest.
But hope springs eternal for the football fan and so we will all be waiting for tomorrow’s Cup draw with great anticipation. This season will be our season for sure. Sunderland home in the first round will do us fine. Dreams cost nothing but a Cup run would certainly pay the bills.