Tag: Merthyr Tydfil

Diagnosis: Merthyr

One of the perceived anomalies in European club football is the presence of the six Welsh clubs in the English league system. What a lot of people don’t realise, however, is that historically the Football League was the pinnacle of a system that encompassed both England and Wales, and that prior to the launch of the Football Conference in 1979, Welsh football clubs mainly competed in regional leagues that were the pinnacle of non-league football in England and Wales. Teams from North Wales mainly competed in the Northern Premier League, while the Welsh Football League catered for the teams from South Wales. Once the Conference was formed from teams from the Northern and Southern Leagues, the Welsh Football League became a feeder league for the Southern League. The main reasoning for this was down to logistics. With most of the clubs based in the north or south of the principality, as well as the road layouts favouring west-east travel, rather than north-south, playing English clubs nearer to their part of border was always more favourable than playing those at the other end of the Wales. It was only in 1991, that the Football Association of Wales got around to establishing their own national league. While the timing suggests that this was in response to the FA’s launch of the Premier League in England, the creation of the Welsh Premier...

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Merthyr & Daylight Robbery

The ongoing crisis at Southern League club Merthyr Tydfil has been one of this season’s slow-burning financial crises, but events over the last day or two have given us a clearer idea of the motivation of the club’s owner, and further concern that football’s newest franchise club could soon be foisted upon us unless the game’s authorities step in and make a stand against the chancers, speculators and fly-by-nights and in favour of the actual supporters of the clubs themselves. It is a situation that has come about through a mixture of slow, painful neglect and that is exacerbated by the somewhat peculiar relationship between teams in the Welsh Premier League and the English non-league game. Ultimately, however, the mismanagement of one man the willingness of an anonymous other to cash in on this is threatening the very existence of a club with a long and proud history. As long ago as August, we reported on the frankly bizarre behaviour of Merthyr owner Wyn Holloway, who seemed to want the club’s supporters trust to pay bills that had been run up under his charge and, when the trust submitted an offer to him to take over the day to day running of the club in returning for a controlling stake in the club’s shares, returned the offer to them unopened and barred the Trust Chair from their ground. In...

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Short Stories From The Sharp End

A loss of the ability to see past the end of their noses is one of the more repugnant character traits of the modern football supporter. While the media were treating Chelsea’s absurd claims that “UEFA has got the European Cup final that it wanted” (as a commentator on here this morning pointed out, shame on the BBC in particular for peddling this particular lie on “Breakfast” this morning), clubs were in the process of dying. It brings me no great pleasure in saying this, but the more apocalyptic visions of some observers could well come to pass this summer and no-one seems to care. Here, then, is a brief summary of some of the worst-hit clubs in English football at the moment. Darlington: We wrote a little about Darlington earlier on in the season, when they became the first Football League club in England this season to go into administration. Since then, the club’s manager David Penney left for Oldham Athletic and his assistant Martin Gray has been made redundant, along with nine of the club’s backroom staff, leaving just five full-time staff at the club. A charity match played last weekend to raise funds to keep the club alive attracted a crowd of just 3,500 and raised just £25,000, and a deadline for bids to buy the club passed on Tuesday evening with no new buyer having...

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Merthyr Most Foul

Football club implosions can take several different forms, to the point that it is is probably fair to say that there is no one route to insolvency. Sometimes, mere spending beyond one’s means for a season is enough to have grim long-term ramifications, as happened to Bradford City, who are still paying the price for former chairman Geoffrey Richards and his “six weeks of madness” a decade ago. Sometimes, it’s trying to live in the fast lane and propping up the shortfall with more and more unsustainable (and unfathomable) loan agreements, as Leeds United experimented with so disastrously and Manchester City may be about to embark upon. Occasionally, however, insolvency creeps up on a club over a period of years – decades, even. It appears like rust, innocuous enough at first, but if it takes hold, it starts to corrode from within. You might not even notice it at first, but it’s there, eating away until, just occasionally, the whole edifice that it has invaded collapses. So, then, to Merthyr Tydfil AFC. Merthyr Town were founded in 1909 and were voted into the Football League when it expanded to four divisions in 1920. They fiinshed eighth in the all-new Division Three (South) and lasted ten years in the League before dropping back into the Southern League, from whence they came, in 1930. They folded in 1934. Merthyr Tydfil AFC...

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