It’s been almost three months since I last posted on The Armchair Supporter blog, so I thought now was as good a time as any to get the iPad out once again and start typing.
Since my last post “Leaving the Armchair/Becoming a Martyr”, my love for non-league footy has really evolved. With the regular season done and dusted, it’s been a quiet few months for blogging and whilst Merthyr Town have seen a couple of arrivals but a few more departures, there’s nothing much to write home about.
Over the past few weeks though, another team has caught my attention.. SHOCK! It’s slightly different this time though as a few of my mates have recently started a brand new local team, Aberbargoed Town FC and somehow they’ve even managed to entice me to look after their social media for the upcoming season.
Whilst Aberbargoed Town FC may be a brand new club, the players all know each other very well after spending the majority of last season together in the Neuadd Wen FC (more commonly known as the Farm) 2nds’ team. Neuadd Wen established all the way back in 2009 and several promotions have seen them reach Welsh League standard in a remarkable rise! The 2nds squad had seen a variety of coaches over the last few years too but Ricky “Tosh” Vaughan took over the team last year and in a stunning season took the club to the league title along with the Bob Annett cup!
Not content with winning a cup and reserve division title, the team decided to go rogue and set up there own club, Aberbargoed Town FC and show their ambition to progress through the leagues rather than potentially shine consistently in the reserve leagues.
Whilst a number of players have decided to stick with Neuadd Wen FC, Tosh seems to have managed to secure the core of last season’s squad including key player and captain Ryan James as well as top scorer Sean Chidgey with 26 goals in all competitions.
The Coalmen are also on course to have one of the toughest defences in the league with Ryan Woods likely to be a commanding presence at the back or even in centre-midfield.
With a new club, a brand new kit was needed but rather than opt for a complete rebrand, Aberbargoed decided to stick with the orange and black combination behind Neuadd Wen 2nds’ domestic success of 2016/17. The lads also will be sponsored by Caerphilly firm Hobbs Valve in their inaugural season.
Besides the kit, a new badge was designed and as Aberbargoed is historically a coal mining town, the badge pays homage to its roots with a Coalminer being the centre of attention, giving the club the obvious choice of nickname, the Coalmen!
The new club play their debut season in the North Gwent Premier League and will also play home games at Cefn Fforest’s Welfare/Stute pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Orange Army progress next season however, this blog isn’t just about one new club, it’s actually about two!
On Wednesday 12th July at 7pm at the new St Ilan/Cwm Rhymni pitch, The Coalmen play Caerphilly Town FC who are a fairly new club themselves.
June and July 2016 was a memorable one for every Wales fan due to the country’s success in reaching the semi-final in France. It felt that the majority of Wales was out in France at one stage but for a group of lads from Caerphilly, the Euros proved to be the catalyst to creating Caerphilly Town FC which was established after the boys came back home to Wales.
The club played their debut season in the Taff Ely & Rhymney Division 1 and finished in a very respectable 4th place. Their red and black kit is based on AC Milan’s home strip and with a new manager at the helm and new players joining for the upcoming season, the ambition is to build on a superb first season!
As the club progresses, one thing for sure is that the badge (like Aberbargoed Town’s) will become one of the most recognisable in the lower leagues of South Wales with it being based on an old Cardiff City crest from the 90’s and the castle representing what Caerphilly is most famous for (Caerphilly Castle not Caerphilly Cheese).
Whilst the club are based in Caerphilly, home games in 2016/17 had been played at both Morgan Jones’ Park and Llanbradach’s pitch. Town have shown a lot of ambition by entering the lucrative FAW trophy for the forthcoming season and will be skippered by Zak Thomas (left centre) for the second consecutive season.
Traditionally, players sign at the start of the regular season but Town’s goalkeeper Aaron Brown actually signed for the club in Caerphilly Wetherspoons on Christmas Eve and proved to be a welcome Christmas present!
Both clubs have long-term ambitions to progress through the leagues and as they aren’t the only teams in their respected towns, the overall goal must surely be to emulate and even surpass the achievements of their rivals.
One thing for certain is Wednesdays’ friendly between the two clubs isn’t one to be missed!
Massive thanks to Caerphilly Town secretary and clubman of the year, Adam Beaumont (above left) for widening my knowledge of the club.
Good luck for the season but not so much for Wednesday night!