Relax by Mao

If you were to read the many platforms available on the internet from Twitter through to Message Boards via Facebook you will note that in the narrow world of Southern League football Merthyr Town and more importantly its fans are viewed almost like the round-ball version of Marmite. People either love us or sadly hate us. Why do we polarise opinion so much when all we want is to be loved?

 The initial reason must be that, like what seems to be the majority of the UK electorate, people love to believe negative publicity and Merthyr Tydfil as a town has certainly received more than our fair share of criticism over recent years. It seems that our brave town is the one stop for broadcasters and journalists when a vision of broken Britain is required. Merthyr Tydfil was one of the first truly industrial towns and so the subsequent demise of steel and coal production was always going to cause both social and economic issues across the whole community. We all know Merthyr as a vibrant town, we have challenges of course but we’re no better or worse than other post-industrial towns and cities around the UK.

 However this kind of constant critique of our town from the varied channels of the media will always be absorbed by those intending to travel to us during any season so the tired clich├ęs will often appear on the various platforms of the internet.

 We know of course that Penydarren Park is our home and is a mirror to the collective values of the club and its owners and supporters. We’ve taken pride in the fact that the ground is a haven from the outside world, a safe environment where we can escape the realities of life and enjoy the club that is recognised as representing our town across the UK and Europe.

We are often loud, always passionate, probably sarcastic and we want to win. The size of our ground and our support, added with the potential catchment area for a successful team, set us aside from most of the teams in our league. We are of course also Welsh and Fan-Owned which are our own very unique selling points.

Not everyone can handle a match day at Penydarren Park, the hysteria afforded us after the infamous 2-2 draw with Poole a few seasons ago is a great example of visitors unnerved by the noise and passion of a working-class town getting behind a team of players faced with an uphill struggle on the pitch. The post-match melt down on social media as we, mere supporters, were blamed for on-field incidents and alleged club issues was remarkable for its vitriol. That hangover has continued with many clubs’ fans taking the click-bait and condemning us without any evidence or more importantly experience. The irony is that clubs with larger away supports such as Leamington enjoy their days out at CF47 8RF as they get the chance for booze and banter on old-school terraces. Can you remember any trouble in our ground? No, thought not.

We have nothing to apologise for at Merthyr Town but then again we also need to defend our reputation when required but let’s do that with humour and respect after all they know not what they do.

Chairman Mao

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