Former Bluebirds Striker Signs Joins Merthyr Town Promotion Push

Former Cardiff City striker Stuart Fleetwood has signed for Merthyr Town. Pic: Getty Images.

Former Bluebirds Striker Signs Joins Merthyr Town Promotion Push

Stuart Fleetwood, the latest signing for Southern League Merthyr Town, faced challenges from Andy Campbell, Robert Earnshaw and Cameron Jerome after breaking into Cardiff City’s first team squad.

Bluebirds manager Lennie Lawrence rated pace ace Fleetwood highly and he was one of two teenagers, along with defender James Collins, selected for a pre-season tour to Sweden and Denmark.

Campbell, Earnshaw and Jerome all played Premier League football, while Fleetwood was restricted to six Championship appearances for Cardiff.

When he was 16-years-old Fleetwood was quicker than Earnshaw had been at the same age, running 11.3 seconds for the 100 metres.

“I might have played more had Lennie Lawrence stayed at Cardiff, but he didn’t and the new manager (Dave Jones) wasn’t keen on me,” said Fleetwood. “That happens in football.

“Andy, Earnie and Cameron are all top strikers and I was pleased to see them do well.

“I learned so much about position and timing of runs from watching Andy and Earnie in action and played up front with both of them, while Cameron was slightly younger than me and is still having a terrific career.

“Earnie was my idol, but I learned from all of them.”

Fleetwood fired 36 goals for Forest Green Rovers in one season and that led to Charlton Athletic manager Alan Pardew signing the 22-year-old.

He spent two seasons with the London club and also played League One football for Brighton.

Fleetwood has made more than 350 first team appearances during his career, starting out at Cardiff after being spotted playing junior football for Newent Town Youth at the age of 13. He had fired 104 goals in one season for Newent.

He was also a highly promising rugby union centre and played for Newent when they won the Gloucester Schools Cup, but opted to give football priority.

Leeds United and Newcastle United were both keen to sign Fleetwood, but he says: “Cardiff was always my first choice and I had a fantastic time at the club.”

Fleetwood made the jump from trainee to professional when manager Lawrence approached him at Ninian Park and asked: “Do you have an agent?”

The startled forward confirmed he did and Lawrence added: “Get him to Cardiff – you have a professional contract to sign.”

Fleetwood played for Wales at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels, qualifying because his father, Keith, was born in St Mellons, Cardiff.

Now the 31-year-old is ready to help Merthyr Town push on towards promotion from Southern League football next season.

The Hereford United, Forest Green and Luton Town forward is the first summer signing made by Merthyr manager Gavin Williams for 2017-18.

The striker has a wealth of football league and non-league experience and he was capped at Wales under-21 level five times.

Fleetwood spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Weymouth and scored 17 league goals for The Terras.

“Joining Merthyr feels like the perfect move and the perfect fit for me,” says Fleetwood. “I’ve been in contact with Gavin for a few months and I’m thrilled to be joining a Club full of ambition.

“I know how challenging this league can be after spending a season on loan with Weymouth and I’m looking forward to joining up with the rest of the squad in pre-season.”

Manager Williams said: “Stuart’s experience and talent will be invaluable as we push towards ours goals.”

The signing of Fleetwood is a major boost for the Martyrs, who are also delighted manager Williams has signed a new two-year full-time contract with the club.

Alongside his managerial role, Williams will be working with the Academy team to assist with the progression of young players coming through the system and helping with elements of the club’s work in the community.

Midfield player Keyon Reffell has told Merthyr he is leaving Merthyr to sign for Hereford, while striker Josh Bull has left the club because of work commitments.

Williams was keen to keep Reffell, but received an offer from Hereford he could not turn down.

The Martyrs have arranged nine pre-season fixtures, including three when they will select a mixture of players from the development first team squads.

The extra fixtures arranged for a Merthyr Town XI are against Penrhiwfer AFC, to celebrate their club’s 50 year anniversary, Caerau Ely and Pontlottyn away.

Academy Manager Philip Llewellyn said: “It’s a good opportunity for our younger squad members to play alongside members of the first team and come face to face with senior opposition.

“It will help with their development and hopefully they will be more prepared if called upon to play for the first team.”

Martyr Town pre-season schedule:


Tues 11 v Abergavenny Town (away, 7.30pm)

Sat 15 v Cambrian & Clydach Vale (away, 1.30pm)

Weds 19 v Newport County (home, 7.30pm)

Sat 22 v Penrhiwfer AFC (away, kick-off TBC, Merthyr Town XI)

Tues 25 v Penybont (away, kick-off TBC)

Weds 26 v Caerau Ely (away, kick-off TBC, Merthyr Town XI)

Sat 29 v Cardiff Met University (away, kick-off TBC)


Sat 5 v Hednesford Town (home, kick-off, TBC)

Weds 8 v Pontlottyn AFC (away, kick-off TBC, Merthyr Town XI)

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