Merthyr Town F.C.
|Full name||Merthyr Town Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Martyrs, The Romans, Red & Greens|
|Founded||1909 (as Merthyr Town A.F.C.)|
|Ground||Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil|
|League||Southern League Premier Division South|
|2021–22||Southern League Premier Division South, 21st of 22|
Merthyr Town Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed Tref Merthyr) is a Welsh semi-professional football club based in Merthyr Tydfil, currently playing in the Southern League Premier Division South, in the seventh tier of the English football league system.
Merthyr Town were founded in 1909 and played in the Football League from 1920 to 1930, but the club folded in 1934 and were replaced by new formed Merthyr Tydfil F.C. in 1945. In 2010, the club reformed again after Merthyr Tydfil F.C. was liquidated. Both versions of the club played at Penydarren Park.
In 1909, Merthyr Town joined the second division of the Southern League, which despite being primarily an English league, contained several other Welsh clubs, notably Cardiff City, Newport County and Swansea Town. After finishing third in 1911–12 the club were promoted to the first division, though they were relegated back to the second division in 1913–14. The Southern League did not operate during the First World War, and when it resumed for the 1919–20 season Merthyr were placed back in the top division.
In the summer of 1920 the Football League expanded with the creation of a new Third Division, which was made up entirely of the First Division of the Southern League from the previous season. Despite having finished second bottom in the season before, usually a relegation place, Merthyr became a new member of the Football League.
In their first season in the Football League, the club had a much better season and finished 8th. This, however, proved to be their most successful league season, and it was followed by a gradual decline: 11th in 1921–2 and 17th in 1922–3. The 1923–4 season saw a slight improvement in league form as they finished 13th, but the major news was their appearance in the final of the Welsh Cup, though they lost 1–0 to Wrexham in a replay after a 2–2 draw.
From then on the club declined further, and finished bottom of the Third Division in 1924–5. Although they finished 14th in 1925–6, in the following seasons the club finished 17th, 21st, 20th and then bottom again, and were eventually voted out of the Football League in 1930. They were replaced by the ill-fated Thames. During their penultimate season in the Football League the club had their best season in the FA Cup, getting past the first round for the only time, before losing to Watford in the second round.
The club dropped back into the Southern League, but lasted only four seasons, before ceasing to play in 1934.
The new club
In 2010, Merthyr Tydfil F.C. of the Southern Football League Premier Division were liquidated. The club was reformed under the name of Merthyr Town and consequently were required to drop three divisions to begin the 2010–11 season in the Western Football League Division One. The club was also forced to switch grounds, and left Penydarren Park to take Rhiw Dda’r, the home of Taff's Well A.F.C. as their new home ground. In their first season they won Division One and were promoted to the Western League Premier Division.
The newly promoted club once again called Penydarren Park home. Their first match back at their spiritual ground was a 1–9 defeat to Welsh Premier League side Llanelli in a pre-season friendly in July 2011. However Merthyr went on to secure a second consecutive championship and with it promotion to the Southern League.
On 6 April 2015, Merthyr Town were promoted back to the Southern League Premier Division only five years after being expelled, following a 9–0 home win against Bishops Cleeve. The club is fully owned by the supporters' trust.
During the 2017–18 season, the Martyrs came into financial difficulties due to mismanagement of the club's finances. This led to a team of youth players and office staff making up a squad of eleven to take on Chesham United in the league. The Martyrs lost 13–1 to Chesham United, which helped raise funds within a JustGiving page that was set up by the group of supporters at the football club.
After finishing 13th in the 2018/19 season, the 2019/20 season was abandoned following the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Merthyr Town then withdrew from the league for the 2020/21 season, with permission of the league itself, after Covid restrictions set by the Welsh Senedd on sporting events in Wales made it impossible for the club to participate. Their league placing being protected. They returned to Southern Premier League South action for the 2021/22 season, now under the stewardship of former Town player Dean Clarke. However, the extra season away from action had clearly taken its toll as the Martyrs finished 21st and were relegated. Clarke having been replaced by player/caretaker manager Matthew Harris for the last twelve games of the season.
Yate Town manager Paul Michael surprised many as he left the Southern League Premier Division South side to take charge of Merthyr for their upcoming Division One South campaign. However, on June 10, 2022, following the withdrawal of Walton Casuals from the Southern League, Merthyr Town were reprieved from relegation and it was announced that they would play the 2022/23 season in the Southern League Premier Division South.
|2010–11||Western League Division One||10||36||29||3||4||118||33||85||90||1/19||Promoted as Champions|
|2011–12||Western League Premier Division||9||34||22||9||3||96||32||64||75||1/18||Promoted as Champions|
|2012–13||Southern League Division One South & West||8||42||24||11||7||84||38||46||83||3/22|
|2013–14||Southern League Division One South & West||8||42||28||5||9||111||58||53||89||2/22|
|2014–15||Southern League Division One South & West||8||42||32||6||4||122||34||88||102||1/22||Steve Jenkins||Promoted as Champions|
|2015–16||Southern League Premier Division||7||46||19||9||18||69||58||11||66||10/24||Steve Jenkins|
|2016–17||Southern League Premier Division||7||46||25||14||7||92||49||43||89||3/24||Gavin Williams|
|2017–18||Southern League Premier Division||7||46||13||14||19||76||98||-22||33||17/24||Gavin Williams|
|2018–19||Southern League Premier Division South||7||42||15||9||18||68||67||1||54||13/22||Gavin Williams|
|2019–20||Southern League Premier Division South||7||31||9||11||11||37||37||0||38||NA||Gavin Williams||League season abandoned, COVID-19 pandemic|
|2020–21||Southern League Premier Division South||7||Withdrew for season due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|2021–22||Southern League Premier Division South||7||42||6||8||28||47||94||-47||26||21/22||Dean Clarke / Matthew Harris||Reprieved from relegation|
|2022–23||Southern League Premier Division South||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0/22||Paul Michael|
- As of 28 July 2022
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant Manager||Andrew Smith|
|First Team Coach||Craig Reddy|
|Player Coach||Matthew Harris|
|Consultant & Coach||Ashley Thomas|
|Head of Medical Support||Kevin Brain|
|Kit Manager||Jeffrey Hurley|
|Academy Manager||Philip Llewellyn|
|Opposition Scouting & Talent Identification||Nick Harrhy & Ricky Malson|
|Football Secretary||Jack Hodgkins|
|Safety Officer||Phil Evans|
|Programme Editor||John Strand|
|Media Officer||Mackenzie Thomas|
- "Merthyr Town". Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
- Merthyr Town promoted
- Match Report: Merthyr Town 1 – 9 Llanelli[permanent dead link]
- Merthyr Town beat Bishops Cleeve 9–0 for promotion
- Official website: History of Merthyr Town[permanent dead link]
- "Merthyr Town FC". www.merthyrtownfc.co.uk.