REASONS TO BE PLAYFUL – PART ONE
Reasons why Merthyr Town FC should commence their pre-season preparations:-
• Southern League and The FA have confirmed a start date, although this is earlier than the majority of competitions in Wales this decision was outside of the club’s control and if the start date had been 2021 then the club would have had to abide by that conclusion too. Merthyr Town FC is in the same position as many Welsh sports clubs that play across the border. The start date has been confirmed so we need to be ready to represent our town.
• The club has a general policy of not placing its players under contract and in the current climate of uncertainty this should be classed as a decent contingency plan to ensure its future viability if another general lockdown is imposed across Wales. The self-imposed status of Merthyr Town as an amateur club is a strategy in risk-mitigation and should not be taken as a reflection of a lack of resources.
• Whereas the club has no contract players it does currently employ six staff members (either full or part time) who rely on the club’s activities to provide a working wage for them and their families.
• The club is one of only two Community owned football clubs in Wales. A club with a constitution that provides for the election of board members to run its affairs in line with the club’s values and principles. Merthyr Town FC is a not for profit organization which relies on community support and not a rich owner. This policy will restrict the club’s ambitions but will certainly improve its sustainability.
• The arrangements needed to provide changing facilities for two teams and match officials have already been confirmed at Penydarren Park with the club’s new hospitality lounges designated to house both Home team (Romans) and Away team (Webleys). The current social distancing requirements set by our Government are fully met within the club’s safety plan.
• The club staff have successfully reopened the bar areas in the ground in partnership with the local authority’s licensing team. The “beer garden” at pitch-side and indoor bars have admitted guests on a strict booking system coupled with track & trace data collection with no issues reported thus far.
• Penydarren Park is one of the largest football grounds outside of the professional game in Wales. The WankBank is now the biggest standing terrace in the country. The club, after consultation with the local authority, is ready to action a plan to allow fans into the ground albeit with a reduced capacity based on 2m social distancing and accurate track & trace data retention.
• Merthyr Town FC is part of the very fabric of our community and a successful return to play even without fans would provide the borough of Merthyr Tydfil with a small sense of a return to normality during these unprecedented times.
• The Martyrs attract an average crowd of 500+ to Penydarren Park and a lot of those fans will be elderly and also socially isolated so even viewing a live stream of a game behind closed doors via social media will provide many with a connection to the game they love and a chance to join the wider football family of Merthyr Town once again.
On behalf of the Red Flag Martyrs Central Soviet