Showing posts from 2016

Book token for Christmas?

So the fog of Christmas has cleared and all you're left with is four cans of Guinness and a book token, well our advice is to drink the cans and take a few suggestions from us as to quality sports books that we've read this year; Together Stronger by Chris Wathan - St. David's Press Allez Cymru by Gary Pritchard - St. David's Press Kicking off in North Korea by Tim Harley - Y Lolfa The Dragon Roars Again by Jamie Thomas - Y Lolfa Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger - Yellow Jersey When the Whistle Blows by Andrew Riddoch & John Kemp - Haynes The Final Whistle by Stephen Cooper - Spellmount Hillsborough Voices by Kevin Sampson - Ebury Press Another Bloody Saturday by Mat Guy - Luath Press Ltd Pirates Punks & Politics by Nick Davidson - SB Sports Books Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters by Daniel Gray - Bloomsbury Don't forget to buy a copy of Issue 51 of Dial M For Merthyr too of course.

Issue 51 is out

Dial M For Merthyr fanzine issue 51 is now out. On sale at Penydarren Park over the next week or so. If you can't reach the Pearl of the Valleys then why not drop us an email via and we'll send you a copy in exchange for a £1 donation to Stonewall.

Merthyr boys and QP ...

Merthyr boys and QP … So how do we get from the Redskins to Hampden Park? It’s all about spotting a magazine with Chris Dean and the band on the front, one of those short-lived music and fashion publications that lasted about three issues, something about the “ghost of strummer walks through walls”, and so journey begins. A great interview with the band but another article further into the magazine is what really caught the imagination. The new phenomenon of the football fanzine covered in details from the generic issues from When Saturday Comes and Hit the Bar to established club fanzines The Pie, Orientear, City Gent and one called The Web . Supporters writing their own stories. Let’s take a look at that. Pretty soon I’m sending stamped addressed envelopes everywhere with bits of card with coins sellotaped inside. And the fanzines start dropping through my letterbox in Trefechan. Those early fanzines coupled with the rise of the Football Supporters Association ignite

Things we do when we are bored

500 Fixture cards Beach party at Hayes & Yeading Roof the Theatre End badges Christmas jumper day at Cambridge City Open the Steps campaign Hope Not Hate Day at Penydarren Park Enthusiastic Amateur badges All Together Merthyr FC Football match with Syrian Association Sponsored walk for British Heart Foundation from ICI to Treharris Supported Stonewall Cymru with Rainbow Laces project Dial M TV vodcast - 4 episodes Issue 51 of the fanzine Hosted World Kerbsy Championships Players v Fans quiz night Memorabilia in the Park View 10,000 Introduction to Merthyr Town FC leaflets delivered Ryan Prosser Beard Day (incorporating Adopt a Zebra event) Go Zebras badges Orgreave Justice Campaign Issue 52 of the fanzine Commenced archive for the new Merthyr Town FC digital museum Raised £156.11 for the Mia Chambers Journey appeal Full Kit Wanker day at Kings Langley Park View Martyrs flags Magic roundabouts project

So where did we go?

I’ve just finished reading the excellent book “And the Sun Shines Now” which studies the impact of the Hillsborough disaster and the advent of the FA Premier League on how modern football has developed. The book is worth reading if only for the first and final chapters which describe the author’s survival on the fateful day in 1989 and then the final vindication of the families’ campaign for justice for the 96 innocents who died that sunny afternoon. The Taylor Report was a catalyst for change in the game and the book details the chances spurned along the way. The journey from the late eighties certainly sparked some memories for me. Those days are now in sharp focus with how the current game is set up, many of us of a certain age will sometimes look around us on a Saturday afternoon and wonder if the product has become a little sterile, has the match-day atmosphere improved as the stadium facilities have over the years? It’s easy to become nostalgic for how we first watched foot

Bob McIlvenny

Sad news has reached us at Dial M For Merthyr. Bobby McIlvenny who was one of the matinee era boys from the early 1950s sadly passed away in Exeter on 15 th May aged 89 years. Bobby was an inside forward who developed in wartime Irish League football. He was born in Belfast on 7 th July 1926. He played for Balmoral United and then both Distillery and Glentoran during that era. He then joined Merthyr Town (alongside his brother Paddy) where he again shone helping the Lilywhites to win both Southern League and Welsh Cup culminating in a move to Oldham Athletic in March 1950 for £3,000, later helping them win the Division Three North title in 1952-53 by scoring 8 goals and laying on a lot more for Eric Gemmell. He went onto to play for Bury, Southport and Barrow, taking his tally of Football League appearances beyond the 250-mark and earning a reputation as one of the most skillful players of his era playing in the lower divisions. After leaving senior football he played for Yeov

Live and let Dai

I’ve just heard that the supporters’ bus scheduled for Kings Lynn (or KL as we say in the tea houses of Vaynor) has been cancelled. Apparently we didn’t manage to impress 34 of my fellow Martyristas that 8 hours on a bus was worth it just to see Jon Brown take KL Town United Athletic (or whatever they’re called these days) apart. It’s the first game of the season. Come on. The … First … Game … Of … The … Season and we can’t run a bus. What has become of us? What happened to our away support? We used to run a bus to every game back in the day, so have times changed that much? I’m asking a lot of questions here. I probably need to add some answers. We have to face the fact that the average age of our support is getting older by the season and those of us heading north of forty have other stuff circling our lives; where are our loud, boisterous, frankly annoying adolescents who should be using Merthyr Town trips as a rite of passage? You know the score, trips to dull towns, watchin

The magic roundabouts

The idea to name the roundabouts in Merthyr Tydfil after Welsh football heroes from the town is a great idea and we hope that the Borough Council will support the idea emanating from the football club. Whoever thought up the idea deserves a medal for grasping the opportunity of celebrating the Welsh football team in this their greatest year but also twisting it to promote the local players who have worn that red (and not grey) shirt that represents our nation on the worldwide stage. So who should be commemorated on the thoroughfares of the Pearl and also where? Gordon Davies (Penydarren) Dai Astley (Gwernllwyn) Steve Jenkins (the roundabout outside Trefechan shops of course) Rhys Williams (Abercanaid) Moses Russell (Dowlais Top A465) Bryn Jones (Dowlais flats) Ivor Jones (Penyard) Charlie Jones (Troedyrhiw) Gavin Williams (Pentrebach/Hoovers) Jason Bowen (Gurnos) Kath Morgan (Twynyrodyn slip road) Brian Law (the new bus station?) Mark Pemb

The Hospital Cup

The Hospital Cup used to be a big deal in Merthyr Tydfil between the wars. I’m not really sure of the rationale behind the tournament or even the teams that competed but it was a fine trophy that Merthyr Town won on a few occasions. I got to thinking about this old competition during a recent weekend break in Cornwall where a few of the local clubs play in a pre-season charity tournament called the Brian Biggin Cup which last season raised over £1,000 for Help for Heroes. I watched Newquay win 5-1 at Perranporth’s ground in the competition which was well supported whilst the game itself was competitive. So could we do the same in the Taff valley? A pre-season competition based on our artificial surface at Penydarren Park over the duration or perhaps a week in mid-July to raise money for Prince Charles Hospital. 8 teams; 2 groups of 4, culminating in a Final. As for clubs to join Merthyr Town, well the obvious ones would be Penydarren BC, Merthyr Saints, Aberfan SDC and Trehar

Strikers - End of an era

Amberleigh House has finally been demolished. It was an island of decay in our sea of revitalised commerce for a while but now the final remnants of that mythical pleasure palace Strikers have disappeared into history. Many of you will remember the place as the Jubilee Club, one of the first commercial avenues explored by the good burghers of Park Terrace back in the 70s. It was part of my youth, cans of Top Deck and bags of crisps after home games with my Dad who probably had an Allbright. The clubhouse was basic but it belonged to us and it was the Football Club, the darts teams have kept that moniker ever since those early days, after all it does what it says on the tin. This is about football. Pop and crisps post-match and if I was lucky then we’d still be there when the Football Echo was delivered which gave me a chance to analyse the day’s results and update the league tables for my Dad. It was a safe environment but in the old sense that everyone knew each other so the la


Great to see so many Merthyr Town fans in France. We know how to party in Merthyr and we're bringing it to France this summer.

Merthyr Town Sports Club?

Merthyr Town is a fan owned co-operative as everyone knows. We’re registered as a Community Sports Club in effect. We’ve visited this idea before in the pages of the fanzine but should we look to adopt a more continental approach to how we use Penydarren Park for the future? In essence we’re talking about becoming a sports club rather than solely concentrating on football. Clubs throughout Europe have a wider portfolio of activities available to their members and it’s true from Barcelona to Istanbul via Stockholm. The opportunities for members can be varied and eclectic and most would be out of our scope due to both capacity and facilities but should we be looking to attract other sports or hobbies to Penydarren Park to further enhance our position as the best community venue in the Valleys? If we use Galatasaray as an example, we’re not expecting to provide motorsport, water polo or swimming along Park Terrace but could we not use the new facility (why don’t we have a name for

Penydarren Park Petanque possible?

Would you play petanque for Merthyr Town FC if we built a piste at Penydarren Park? Theatre End would be perfect if you know where it is. We could even play at the above piste one day against Hammarby FK in Stockholm.

Saturdays without football by the Ceredigion Martyr

We all know that Saturday feeling, something experienced by football fans up and down the country in a very different but at the same time in an all so familiar way. Whether it’s a flutter or two in the betting shop before heading to the club to see the lads before a home game or waking up early and grabbing the cans before a trip to an English town which you previously had no knowledge of to represent your town and its people in some sort of battle. Well, this was the usual routine for me season after season, until deciding to move to University in deep mid Wales, almost two years ago. After two years in the seaside town of Aberystwyth and meeting people from all over Cymru, and not forgetting the numerous nights out in Aber and even a few in Bangor and Caernarfon, it is hard to argue with the popular belief that “university is the best years of your life.” But, if there is one thing in life that gets worse after moving to uni, then it’s the Saturday. A day that has always se

A cause for optimism?

To be honest it's been a tedious season for me. Endless chatter about the new clubhouse. Delays. A different pre-match countdown to each game. The Grawen, The Park View, The Winchester and even the Express on one grim afternoon. You tend to forget how much of a routine watching the Martyrs becomes over the years, people have their own journey to Penydarren Park especially on a Saturday. A bag of cockles, the Morning Star and a Lucky 15 on the horses is my starting point but this campaign I've not had the Candac as a destination. True, I've had a few decent pints in the Winch, enjoyed the juke box in the Park View and fielded questions in the Grawen but it's not the same as the comfort of our own clubhouse. Have I mentioned the delays yet? The gallows humour that runs beneath the surface of every conversation in Merthyr emerged every weekend. The lack of information on the project a constant source of frustration to supporters who had bought into the fan-owned philosophy
Mickey Carter at Barry Town. Everyone in that pic bar two is probably from Merthyr.

Blue Moon Day

Matthew Davies has done a great job on the 1987 story but let's not allow him to rest on his laurels, hey mate what about the story of the 1990 4-1 win at Ninian Park? Webley was after all white hot and of course he destroyed the city. Sanderson flying on the wing. Russ the bus nipping in with a goal. It's gold dust. Altogether now, "We can see you sneaking out!"

The Martyrs of 87

The Martyrs of 87 film is amazing. If you're from Merthyr, whether you follow the Martyrs or not, it should be essential viewing for everyone. Matthew Davies has excelled in bringing together everything about that year that made Merthyr Tydfil the hub for Welsh football. From the players to the fans it resonated with everyone who viewed the premiere on Friday in the new Romans room at our brand new clubhouse facility. It was especially poignant to see John Reddy speaking on the film, his vision now rightly being recognised by everyone. Here was a man who refused to allow Merthyr to be second best, be that in kit, stadium or even friendly opponents. It was great to see the new film dedicated to his memory. The goals, the fashion, the tackles, the hair styles and even the spaghetti took us back to another time when our town was at the centre of the perfect storm of football. Baird, Beattie, Latchford, Webley, Georgie and of course Lyn Jones (is God) all sharing their memories of an u

Teifion Williams

We're looking to help Ceri Stennett with his research on former Wales schoolboys internationals from Merthyr Tydfil. One of those players is called Teifion Williams who played for Wales schools at Wrexham v Scotland in 1935. Do you have any info on this player? If so please get in touch via