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History

Welcome

We aim to show that Merthyr Town FC and it's loyal supporters are still fighting to save the borough's football tradition and that you could be part of that history too.

With this page, we would like to celebrate the game of football at Penydarren Park.

The game of football has progressed from humble roots in 1908 to become the number one sport in the borough.

From Welsh Cup wins, to the Football League, and liquidation, to resurrection and exile we hope to give you an insight into how football has survived in Merthyr.

Many famous players and teams have visited Merthyr Tydfil, from Manchester City to Atalanta BC, and we hope to give you a taste of the club's rich history.

1900's

Football came late to Merthyr Tydfil and Penydarren Park. In fact the pioneers of the sport in our borough were Treharris who were a successful club in the early part of the 20th Century, having formed in 1889.

The first football match to be played at Penydarren Park was March 28th 1908 when Treharris faced Aberdare in the South Wales cup.

Penydarren Park was owned at this time by Merthyr Athletic Club and following the success of the match, plus the emergence of Merthyr Rugby League Club, it was decided to form an Association Football Club to represent the town.

Merthyr Town were formed in the summer of 1908 and played it's first competitive match in the South Wales League on September 4th 1908 for the visit of Swansea. The team wore their famous red & green shirts for the first time but unfortunately it was the West Wales team that won on the day 2-1.

Manchester City were the first big club to visit Penydarren Park for a friendly match played on April 29th 1909 in front of 7,000 spectators.

Merthyr Town finished their first season in mid-table but the club had arrived and was on it's way.

1910's

Over the next decade, Merthyr Town FC consolidated their position as the main sporting team in our borough.

In 909 the club was successful in it's application to join both Western and Southern Leagues, where they face teams such as Treharris, Aberdare, Ton Pentre, Bath City and Weymouth.

Albert Fisher was appointed as Team Manager in February 1912. Full-back Moses Russell becomes the first player from Merthyr Town to be selected for Wales. He played in a match against Scotland in 1912.

Arsenal play their first eve FA Cup match at Highbury against Merthyr Town in 1915.

Merthyr Town were back in action after the Great War in 1919 once again in the Southern League. Portsmouth, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Southampton were amongst the visitors to Penydarren Park.

May 29th 1920, Merthyr Town are elected to the newly formed Football League Division 3 (South).

1920's

Crystal Palace were the first Football League visitors to Penydarren Park on August 18th 1920. 16,937 spectators saw Merthyr Town defeat the side from London 2-1.

The honour of scoring the first ever Football League goal for Merthyr Town went to Willie Walker.

Rees Williams became the second player the club to be capped by Wales in 1921 with his debut against Scotland.

The harsh economic climate in the South Wales Valleys during the 1920's had a huge impact on the commercial viability of semi-professional football in Merthyr Tydfil. The club frequently had to transfer promising player to clubs like Fulham, Wolves and Stoke City to survive.

Merthyr Town's highest league position was 8th in the first season 1920/21. But having already survived two re-election votes to the Football League, Merthyr Town lost their cherished status in 1930.

The club continued in the Southern League but by June 1934, Merthyr Town FC was disbanded with debts of £3,000.

1940's

The end of the second World War sparked an interest in resurrecting a professional football club at Penydarren Park.

The first home match was a 11-1 Welsh League win over Nantymoel in 1946 in front of 4,000 fans. Football was back in Merthyr Tydfil.

The town soon got back behind the new Club with crowds in excess of 10,000 at home matches, with even the Prime Minister spotted at the home of the Martyrs.

Merthyr Tydfil FC came to life on November 29th 1946 when they pulled off the shock of the FA Cup 1st Round by beating Bristol Rovers 3-1 in front of 15,600 happy supporters.

A record 19,500 local supporters packed Penydarren Park for the FA Cup 2nd Round tie against Reading but the home team couldn't pull off another shock as the Biscuitmen won 3-1.

Football had well and truly arrived back in Merthyr Tydfil and by the end of the decade, a Southern League title had been joined by a Welsh Cup triumph. As a result, Wolverhampton Wanderers brought the FA Cup to Penydarren Park for a challenge match.

1950's

The successes of the late 40's and early 50's cemented the reputation of Merthyr Tydfil FC as one of the best Non-League teams in Britain. 

Many of the players of the era, such as Bill Hullett, Bert Sellick, Trevor Richards, Bill Jarman and Phil Tabram are still spoken about today.

The club won 4 Southern League Championships between 1950 and 1954, but despite their obvious pedigree as the best Non-League team, they failed to gain election to the Football League.

The main reason was thought to be the greyhound track that surrounded the pitch at this time.

The Welsh Cup returned to Penydarren Park in 1951 after a 3-2 replay win over Cardiff City.

The reputation of Merthyr Tydfil FC was so high during this period that clubs such as Aston Villa and Newcastle United made the journey to Penydarren Park to play friendly matches.

1960's & 1970's

This sixties and seventies were decades of under-achievement at Penydarren Park despite many talented players turning out in the famous black and white colours.

The stadium facilities at Penydarren Park were very different in the sixties.

One of the rare moments of excitement for Merthyr fans was the trip to Swindon Town in the first round of the FA Cup in 1965.

However, Penydarren Park was still a venue for entertainment with celebrity teams visiting from time to time.

The seventies saw the team include many international players including Nick Deacy, Gordon Davies, Barrie Jones, Mel Nurse, and of course John Charles.

1980's & 1990's

The Martyrs' fortunes improved through the eighties culminating in the second glory period in the club's history.

The Welsh Cup was won for the third time in 1987 with a 1-0 replay victory over Newport County.

Entry to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was secured and top Italian club Atalanta from Bergamo were the visitors. The Martyrs pulled off one of the great results in Welsh football history by overcoming their illustrious opponents 2-1 with over 8,000 people in Penydarren Park .

Promotion to the Conference was secured in 1988 with a 3-1 win over Crawley Town in front of over 3,000 supporters.

The club was a member of the Conference from 1989 until it's relegation in 1995 the highest finish being 4th place in 1992.

Today & Tomorrow

The arrival of the 21st Century brought fresh challenges for the Martyrs and the club struggled off the field whilst once again punching above its weight on the field.

Despite a televised FA Cup match against Walsall in November 2005 the Club's continued financial struggles ensured that eventually Merthyr Tydfil FC was liquidated in the summer of 2010.

Martyrs to the Cause, the Supporters Trust at Penydarren Park, resurrected the club immediately and entered the Western League Division One as Merthyr Town; a return to the original name of the town's football club.

The first season presented many new challenges including playing their home matches 20 miles away in Taffs Well but once again the town's fighting spirit came through and Merthyr Town won the title to start our journey back.

Merthyr Town FC is now back at Penydarren Park and with it's Supporters Trust in charge, the future is looking bright.


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