Norma Samuel - A Tribute
3 February 2024
Merthyr Town FC fans were in attendance on Saturday for the Taff’s Well v Cwmbran Celtic game at the Rhiw Dda’r ground to honour the memory of Norma Samuel who recently passed away. Flowers were laid on the centre circle prior to the two teams observing a minute’s silence in Norma’s memory.
Norma was quite rightly a hugely respected figure in Welsh football through her long and dedicated service to Taff’s Well FC but she was also an integral part in the establishment of Merthyr Town FC and it would be no exaggeration to say that without Norma Samuel then maybe we wouldn’t have a football club to support at Penydarren Park and we certainly wouldn’t be in the English pyramid.
The summer of 2010 was a turbulent time to be a Merthyr fan. The old club had been wound up and was in the hands of the Liquidator and the Supporters Trust was trying to navigate its way to ensuring that we had a club to follow for the forthcoming season.
The Trust was advised by the Liquidator that Penydarren Park was still being considered as an asset so we would need to find an alternative ground to play our games if we managed to find a league to take us in. The other issue was that on the Monday we were at Wembley Stadium to convince the Football Association that we were a going concern that could maintain a semi-professional club in the Western League.
We had no ground.
Mark Evans and John Strand set off one Sunday with less than 24 hours to find a ground to host us, allow us to upgrade if necessary and provide primacy of usage to satisfy the Football Association. A pretty tall order especially with the deadline hovering over this fledgling football club.
The second port of call was Taffs Well and luckily for John and Mark there was a reserve game being played, the last of the 2009-10 season, so of course Norma was there to support her club. The situation was explained to Norma that we needed help to register a ground to satisfy the Western League regulations and could we use Rhiw Dda’s for the foreseeable future? We were fortunate to discover that the reserve team game was the last for the club due to the expected reorganization of the domestic leagues in Wales.
Taffs Well FC had capacity to help us and Norma recognizing our unique situation and being such a football fan was only too happy to sit down and work out how we could register the ground to save our club.
Within an hour we had an agreement to rent the ground, upgrade the facilities as necessary and more importantly we had a friend who would ensure that we would not fail in our mission to establish Merthyr Town FC.
Without Norma Samuel, and also Don James, the club we have now would not exist.
RIP Norma, we will not forget you!