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Showing posts from 2019

No more heroes by Chairman Mao

We had a General Election on 12 th December in the UK and I’m sure we all sat up late into the night for the exciting conclusion to the vote in the Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency; could the Labour Party defy the odds and make it 119 years in a row? The central issue for the election was of course Brexit and a possible solution to the continued paralysis of government in London. There are too many consequences of leaving the EU to list here but this is a football fanzine so how could it affect us? We’re not sure that anyone really understands the current “Good Deal” offered by Johnson as an alternative to the catastrophic “No Deal” solution that was also threatened by the ERG fundamentalists and their mates in Brexit Party Ltd. but there will be consequences for professional sport and everyone will be affected in the short term as the numerous trade deals are negotiated over the next couple of years. Merthyr Town FC has of course benefitted directly from EU funding f

Celf Crys Cymru review

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Russell Todd (@llannerch), founder of the Wales football podcast Podcast Pêl-droed, reviews the recent Celf Crys Cymru / Art Of The Wales Shirt exhibition at St Fagans. Wales qualified for a second successive Euros last month with a feast of footballing panache, resilience and - rarely for us lot - little drama with successive 2-0 wins over Azerbaijan and Hungary. But with that succulent feast came the perfect side order as for a week either side of that double-header the St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, hosted the Celf Crys Cymru / Art Of The Wales Shirt exhibition. I was fortunate to be invited to the official opening as well as the FC Cymru live event at which the likes of Ian Walsh, David Giles, Natasha Harding, Robert Earnshaw and Joe Ledley reminisced about their memories of wearing the dragon. The exhibition was quite a simple affair, but therein lied its strength. Upon entering the newly redesigned spacious entrance at the Museum - recen

MERTHYR SHE WROTE by Chairman Mao from around 2003

So I'm standing outside the Main Gates at Worcester City when Miss Marple gets out of a taxi, she's short of the fare, well it's ridiculously expensive in England, she obviously doesn't know the taxi chat ("Working late drive?" or Busy in town tonight?") so I step over and hand out some arian and pretty soon she's through customs and into the crime scene. Worcester have stolen a point and I want it recorded for the record. Worcester is not really a favourite destination for the Dial M For Merthys entourage, we were and still are innocent ! For me, it's an awkward trip - it's neither here nor there, it's a half day off work and a mad rush to Merthyr for the fast car over the border. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to your pilot; The Brown Baron. Now, Mr. Brown loves a burger, and especially a burger from Dowlais Top so almost sixty minutes after leaving the Baili Glas we've travelled less than two miles, but soon it's

Bright and Breezy by Chairman Mao

The Dial M group assembled at Anthea's cafe at Bro Dawel with the news of the Newport deals fresh from the press. Shepherd in exchange for our old friend Clarkey, it seems good business to me. Gary Shep has never really caught the imagination of the Martyrs fans, we've been used to players like Paul Caviel and more recently Phil Green who always gave everything for the black & white shirt no matter what the occasion. It was never a matter of confidence for these players but more of pride in the Merthyr shirt. Gary Shep is capable of getting goals, his goal at Ninian Park in the FAW Premier Cup being one of the best of this season, an exquisite header showing that he can finish. Maybe a change of scenery will suit him, let's hope he doesn't finally get going at Spytty Park on April 24th, irony? Don't get me started. I only hope that by the time that this issue appears that Darren Ryan has returned from his loan deal at the Gwenties a favourite of this publicati

Do you remember the first time - by Chairman Mao

So do you remember the first time? Was it how you imagined? I remember all my friends in school talking about it. A few of them boasting that they’d already undertaken this rite of passage but were they lying? I was twelve years old when I finally did it and travelled to an away game solo. It was always going to be Barry Town. Our closest rivals and of course our derby match. Jenner Park was a hostile place back in those days. It was the era of youth tribes of course so you had to belong to one of them. The Trefechan lads had already adopted the skinhead look as the two-tone movement spearheaded by The Specials swept across the country. Tuesday night at the youth club, if it wasn’t closed because of fighting, was spent around the single turntable record player trying to get your vinyl played. Did you get the older lads’ approval or was your choice of music laughed out of the hall? Being a member of one youth group attracted the attention of other groups of course, by th

A Martyr in LA by Jammy

What? Wales playing in LA?   A part of me thought “oh no”.   I had already committed to going to China and thought that would be my only big trip of 2018 but I’ve never been to America.   A few of the boys did their usual “Yes I’m all over that” but when it came down to it I expected the inevitable fact that I’d be going on me todd.   The boys love to tease though, more than those girls behind the bay windows in Hamburg. The first thing to sort out after flight and hotel was the ESTA visa.   Now this was a fairly straight forward and cheap process compared to the rigmarole of a Chinese visa, and probably something we are all likely to have to get used to post-Brexit.  I say likely because who knows what’s going to happen with that but that’s as political as I’ll get here. So my journey to Gatwick began. First by train then a night in a Travelodge before my 6am flight.   I flew with Norwegian Air and got a cheap flight.   Norwegian are an airline I’d recommend but they seem to h

A proper derby match by Chairman Mao

The recent postponement of the Copa Libertadores Cup Final between Boca Juniors and River Plate sparked a frenzied social media debate as to the most passionate derby match in world football. Whereas the varied suggestions from Glasgow, Rome, Sao Paulo, Newcastle and even Wrexham all have their claims to the title of the best derby match there is only one true derby match that sets the benchmark for a traditional local football match played regularly between neighbours ….. The Trefechan Derby The Trefechan estate nestles quietly in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, it is after all in Breconshire and not Merthyr Tydfil, and apart from a fantastic chip shop it’s a pretty quiet place these days but it wasn’t always like this. They say there are two sides to every story and here on this small housing estate that’s very true as you will always be classed by your side of the Vaynor Road that bisects the village. Top Side and Bottom Side – taxi drivers know these terms.

No More Detours anymore - by Chairman Mao

Football has changed. There’s no doubt about that and there’s plenty of obvious examples of that. From the demise of the Football Pinks on Saturday to the absence of toilet rolls thrown from goal line terraces. Things has changed so much that many traditions seem to have faded away with little or no fanfare. Sometimes though you can be reading a fanzine or chatting over a beer and something will spark a memory of a bygone age buried deep down within the football psyche. I’ve just read the current When Saturday Comes magazine (there’s an article on Merthyr Town’s football league period in there) and I came across a double page on Watford which took me down a rabbit-hole of nostalgia as I remembered 1979 and Chesham United. These days a Saturday morning is often begun with a text or tweet advising that there’s been a pitch inspection hundreds of miles away in the flat barren wastelands of England and the game has been called off. Some local ref has turned up and ruined your day

The forgotten trip - by Chairman Mao

The Anglo-Italian competition had been played in different formats between 1970 and 1996 between clubs from England and Italy. It was founded by Gigi Peronace , the Italian super-agent who had sorted the transfer of John Charles from Leeds United to Juventus in 1957.The first final in 1970 was abandoned early due to violence and   Swindon Town declared the winners. The Cup limped on until 1973 when it was dropped through lack of interest. The much-maligned tournament returned as a semi-professional tournament from 1976 before it was abolished again in 1986 but in that final year the usual format was interrupted as a Welsh club was invited to participate (via the Southern League) – Merthyr Tydfil AFC. Our club played a masterstroke before even leaving Wales as the Board acting upon a suggestion by club secretary Ken Tucker invited John Charles to accompany the team on the trip to Italy. Charlo, as Terry affectionately called him through the interview, accepted on the condition that

The Great Army of Fans - by Chairman Mao

It is no exaggeration to say that without the support from Supporters Direct (SD) eight years ago we would not have a football club playing in the English pyramid structure. The organisation had started under Tony Blair’s football task force in 1999 with the prime motive of encouraging fans to gain a stake in their clubs and to make fan-ownership a realistic target for fans too. The Supporters Trust model was born at Northampton Town in 1992 and provided a framework for fans to work within a not-for-profit business model to ensure good governance and transparency in club boardrooms. It was Supporters Direct who contacted us back in 2004 to invite Merthyr Tydfil fans to form a supporters’ trust. Little did we know that this organisation would resurrect the town’s football club in 2010 and become the first fan-owned club in Wales. The late Jacqui Forster was our first SD caseworker and she travelled to Penydarren Park on a dark winter’s night in our first year to encourage us t

Tired and Weary by The Purple Elephant

With growing financial problems, dwindling crowds and an alarming lack of interest, is it time for one of the remaining members of the original "irate eight" to cut their losses, admit they were wrong and return "home" with their tail between their legs? At approximately 9.10 pm on February 16th 2000, Andy Morrell slotted home his seventh and Wrexham's eighth goal of the evening to round off a miserable and totally unjustifiably embarrassing night for Merthyr Tydfil Football Club and their dwindling band of supporters. I say evening but could easily have said season. I could have taken a broader view and said the last five years or so. The stark truth is that there is a strong possibility that our team could be playing Western Division football next year. From what I've seen this season we are certainly not too good to go down. There should be no excuses for what happened at the Racecourse Ground. The result was just a culmination of the mis-management and

Who do you support - by Mao

It seems that the ever curious football fan has returned to following our national team home and away, you know the one I’m on about, he (and it’s always a he) needs to know where you’re from in Wales and of course more importantly who you support? We’ve covered this issue before in the fanzine. A very long evening in Vienna was endured by about twenty of our fellow Martyrs as our loyalty to our black & white heroes was called into question. You aren’t Cardiff fans? Then you must be Swansea seemed to be the logic of that Austrian adventure. We have a giant Wales flag that appears every now and then at Penydarren Park, it’s too big for most grounds in our league so it very rarely leaves the Pearl too. It’s banner headline is a play on the Socialist Workers’ Party slogan but for us it’s “Neither Cardiff Nor Swansea But International Merthyrism” and it tells a tale for all clubs in Wales in that we have our identity and most certainly culture that sadly a lot of football lea

Rebels to a Very Lost Cause by Wandering

For many of us Tuesday, 10 th October 2017 will live long in our memories, but for all the wrong reasons! But as the events on the night started to unfold I could only cast my mind back to Dr. Kuber-Ross’s 5 step model of coping with loss - titled ‘Dealing with the Grim Reaper’ an article published in Issue 53. To be four nil up at half time and to lose five-four you have to ask yourself how on earth did that happen. How did Slough Town achieve the unthinkable? How did they manage to overturn a four-goal deficit and win the match in second half stoppage time? It is a result which left many lost for words, not least the Martyrs supporters. Joint Rebels manager Neil Baker exclaimed “I don't think you'll ever see a game of football like it in your life” . Were we heading in Mikey D’s words ‘on the journey to our inevitable mediocrity’? Unlikely, as we were ‘burning like a supernova’ in the first half! The Martyrs were in front after five minutes through Ian Traylor with