Gavin Williams. Pic: MTFC.

Martyrs Return To Scene Of ‘Saddest, Proudest’ Day

Merthyr Town will remember one of the saddest and yet proudest days in the club’s history when they open their EvoStik Southern League season on Saturday (3pm).

The Martyrs were thrashed 13-1 on their last visit to the Meadow in Buckinghamshire after a financial crisis rocked the club a few days before the fixture.

Many of the first team players offered to play at Chesham for free, but manager Gavin Williams felt that wasn’t fair and selected a team of development players.

Ed Hewitson, Merthyr’s 15-year-old goalkeeper, was named man of the match and the team left the pitch to a standing ovation after battling through the 90 minutes.

The entire team, including Hewitson, ran the length of the pitch to celebrate their solitary goal, scored by Jacob Fowler.

They also went over to around a dozen Martyrs’ fans who had made the 340-miles round trip after the final whistle and thanked them for their support.

The message on Chesham’s twitter account was: “Absolutely heartbreaking game to watch, but fantastic to see the Merthyr team that played.

“On days like this, results don’t matter. Non-league football is a family that supports each other through all eventualities.”

On the post-match video, one player can be heard shouting to Merthyr fans: “Well done, thanks. Superb lads, every one of you fans. Thank you so much.”

A Martyrs supporter tweeted: “Proud of the players. 

“They were put into a terrible situation and responded magnificently, without complaint. Emotional scenes and they will always be regarded as heroes by us all.”

Chesham, too, were praised for the way they conducted themselves during and after the match.

Manager Williams and a new club committee have stabilised Merthyr Town’s situation and they go into the new season aiming to challenge for promotion.

Merthyr Tydfil-born Williams, 38, is a former West Ham midfield player who has worked to recruit a strong squad over the summer.

He has added goalkeeper Joe Perry, the son of former Cardiff City defender Jason, helped Merthyr win the Western League title in 2010-11.

Centre-half Connor Young, whose dad is ex-Bluebirds player Scott, has also joined the Martyrs along with Craig McDonnell and Joe Hunt.

Centre-back McDonnell has joined Merthyr from Taffs Well, having previously played for Aberbargoed Buds, while Hunt was with Swansea City, Newport County and Cinderford Town.

Merthyr Town FC fixtures 2018-19 (Southern League Premier unless stated)

August

Saturday 11 v Chesham United (away)

Tuesday 14 v Swindon Supermarine (home)

Saturday 18 v Gosport Borough (home)

Saturday 24 v Farnborough (Emirates FA Cup prelim round)

Monday 27 Frome Town (home)

September

Saturday 1 v Walton Casuals (away)

Wednesday  5 League Cup prelim (to be drawn)

Saturday 8 Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round

Saturday 15 Metropolitan Police (home)

Saturday 22: Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round

Saturday 29 Hartley Wintney (away)

October

Wednesday 3 League Cup first round (to be drawn)

Saturday 6 Poole Town (home)

Saturday 13 Staines Town (away)

Tuesday 16 Salisbury (away)

Saturday 20 Beaconsfield Town (home)

Saturday 27 Buildbase FA Trophy first qualifying round

November

Saturday 3 Dorchester Town (away)

Wednesday 7 League Cup second round

Saturday 10 Wimborne Town (home)

Saturday 17 Basingstoke Town (away)

Tuesday 20 Tiverton Town (home)

Saturday 24 Weymouth (home)

December

Saturday 1 Hendon (away)

Wednesday 5 League Cup third round

Saturday 8 Kings Langley (home)

Saturday 15 Harrow Borough (away)

Saturday 22 Chesham United (home)

Wednesday 26 Frome Town (away)

Saturday 29 Swindon Supermarine (away)

January 

Tuesday 1 Taunton Town (home)

Saturday 5 Salisbury (home)

Wednesday 9 League Cup fourth round

Saturday 12 Wimborne Town (away)

Saturday 19 Basingstoke Town (home)

Saturday 26 Tiverton Town (away)

February

Saturday 2 Dorchester Town (home)

Saturday 9 Beaconsfield Town (away)

Saturday 16 Hendon (home)

Wednesday 20 League Cup semi-finals

Saturday 23 Weymouth (away)

March

Saturday 2 Kings Langley (away)

Saturday 9 Harrow Borough (home)

Saturday 16 Poole Town (away)

Saturday 23 Staines Town (home)

Wednesday 27 League Cup final first leg

Saturday 30 Metropolitan Police (away)

April 

Saturday 6 Hartley Wintney (home)

Saturday 13 Gosport Borough (away)

Wednesday 17 League Cup final second leg

Saturday 20 Farnborough (home)

Monday 22 Taunton Town (away)

Saturday 27 Walton Casuals (home)

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