Who are Merthyr Tydfil?
Out of the mess that was the Second World War came the formation of Merthyr Tydfil FC. We are, of course, linking the war ending and the Martyrs forming as if there was a sense of cause and effect between the two events in 1945. But there must’ve been something in it. Surely? Better people than us know more about that. All we do know for sure is that the club started the 1945-6 campaign in the Welsh League, came second and decided to join the Southern League for their second-ever season.
It started a long-running and – to start with – successful spell as members of the Southern League. It took just two seasons for the Martyrs to rise to the top of the pile. And they’d go onto stay there for some time; claiming championships in 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1954. The most amazing fact is that the first title win in 1947-8 was the only season in seven in which they failed to score at least 100 goals. In lifting the 1950-1 title, they’d racked up 156 goals from 44 games. One hundred and fifty six. Hells bells.
The Martyrs’ fall from grace was a bit rapid, however; relegated in 1958 after shipping 137 goals themselves. And so they’d end up spending most of the next 30 years in the second tier of the Southern League. In 1987, however, the force was once again strong over in the Valleys. A Welsh Cup win put ’em in the 1987-8 European Cup Winners’ Cup, where they were narrowly seen off over two legs by Italian side Atalanta. Back on the home front, the season would end on a high.
Why do we know Merthyr Tydfil?
After winning the 1987-8 Southern League Midland Division title, the Martyrs followed it up with a second straight promotion thanks to yet another Southern League title. It slung ’em up into the Conference for the first time. After a promising start to life as one the best in non-league football, the club started to struggle. A two-point deduction in the 1993-4 GM Vauxhall Conference season meant they only survived by two points. But for a stray result that spared Witton instead, we may have been kept waiting longer to cross paths.
But, no. In the Conference they stayed in ’94. And up came us from the Diadora League.