Friday 17 February 2023

Tredegar Town - Tredegar Leisure Complex

Tredegar Town FC
Tredegar Leisure Centre
Stable Lane
Blaenau Gwent
NP22 4BH

Ground Number: 1149
Friday 17th February 2023
Tredegar Town 5-2 RTB Ebbw Vale
Ardal South East


The club was established in 1968 and was originally known as Rhyd Boys Club. It was founded by the late Cliff Bethel who wanted to provide a platform for those who wished to play football as opposed to the more popular sport of rugby. Over the years the club provided many schoolboy internationals to the Welsh national team. The club changed its name to Tredegar Town in the early 1980s. They later joined the North Gwent League and in the 1990s, the Gwent County League. After gaining promotion from Division 3, they were Division 2 champions in 1993 but were relegated back straight away. However, they bounced back as champions again in 1995 and didn't look back. They were Division 1 champions in 1998 and made the step up to the Welsh League. Starting in Division 3, Tredegar were runners-up to Caerleon in their first season, gaining promotion to Division 2. The club's best season came in 2005 as they finished 4th in the league which sits at the third level of football in Wales. Tredegar were relegated back to Division 3 in 2010 and remained there until 2019 when reorganisation saw them back in Division 2. The Covid pandemic then happened and when they came out the other side, the club was placed in the Ardal South East. Their first season here saw them finish in 12th place.

For the first part of its history, Tredegar Town played at the local recreation ground. In 2004 they moved to a ground at the Tredegar Leisure Centre, building it up gradually over the years. Local cup wins include the Gwent Amateur Cup in 1983, the Gwent Youth Cup in 1998 and the Gwent County Motors Cup in 1997 The latter year also saw their best run in the Welsh Cup, reaching the last 32 before falling to Llanelli (2-1) after wins over Pontlottyn Blast Furnace (3-0) and Taffs Well (2-1). The town of Tredegar has a population of around 15,000. Tredegar has strong links with prominent Labour MPs and the history of the Labour Party and the Labour Movement in Britain as a whole. It was the birthplace of Aneurin Bevan, who was responsible for the introduction of the British National Health Service (NHS), and who in the 1920s was involved in the management of Tredegar General Hospital. Neil Kinnock, leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992, was born in Tredegar in 1942 and lived there for most of his early life, attending the town's Georgetown Infants and Junior Schools between 1947 and 1953. Tredegar has been twinned with Orvault in southeast Brittany since 1979. Another football team in the town, FC Tredegar, formerly Tredegar Athletic, plays in the Gwent County D1.


I'd originally intended to visit Tredegar a couple of months ago but had backed out of the game. For a start, it was during many of the big freezes that we have had recently and for a second, the scenery looked great. I thought I would do it on the coach to Cardiff or Newport on a Saturday as the train from my neck of the woods was prohibitively expensive. However, with the slower and more restricted travel times of the coach, it would mean too much travelling and not enough time actually enjoying the day out. I waited a good while for a Friday night game to come up again and they finally obliged with a local derby against Ebbw Vale. This also had the advantage of a 7.15 PM kickoff, but I'd have to hope the roads played ball. They most certainly hadn't on Tuesday, so I was hoping for a change of luck for this game. I'd be travelling solo as all of my hoppers were either not interested or skint.
I did my research on Wednesday night and was surprised to see that it was a lot further than I thought. I still decided to stick with it though as I'd researched the history of the club and there were four backups in place. I'd also been researching a weekend in Austria and Slovakia in late March, hoping to make the most of my time off work. Pastagate had an unwelcome extension to the saga with Dan telling hop organiser Chris about Colin's antics in an attempt to get Colin thrown off of the hop. As he was travelling with me, that put my plans in jeopardy which I thought was wrong. I had a  call from Chris, but luckily it was all amicable with him only wanting to protect the good relationships with coach firms by leaving the vehicles tidy. When I reassured him that Dan bought out the worst in Colin and that he'd be no issues, he was fine with it. I went up my local side Holmer Green on Thursday night as they lost 4-0 to Cockfosters in the Victor Gladwish Trophy.
The day of the game came and it was a fairly standard day at work. I got some crisps for later, just in case I didn't have time for dinner pre-match. Colin had briefly fancied the trip, but in the end, opted to go to Shrivenham with his mate Martin. It was a reasonable day and I got away quickly, setting off at 4.05. Aside from 15 minutes delay near Reading where some traffic cones had been placed in the road, despite no work, it was a good journey. I was in Tredegar at 6 45 and headed to Yummee Chinese where I had Chicken in hot Satay sauce and salt and pepper chips.  It was getting near kickoff and so made my way to the ground. A combination of the confusing road system and Futbology sending me to the wrong place meant I arrived a few minutes before the advertised kickoff. £4 was superb value to get in, but the game was actually a couple of minutes old, having kicked off early. Thankfully no goals had been scored and I had my dinner whilst watching the game.
Tredegar Town were in disappointing form, their last win coming as they had won 3-2 at Monmouth Town on 26th November. Weather and other things had disrupted their schedule and they'd not won at home in the league since 9th August when they beat the same team 2-1. Recent results had included a 3-1 loss at Undy and a 2-0 home defeat to Trethomas Bluebirds as well as draws at Newport City and Risca United. They were 13th out of 16 teams whilst Ebbw Vale were rock bottom. The visitors' form had been similarly poor but they had beaten Lliswerry 1-0 recently. They'd also drawn 3-3 at Newport City but had lost 4-2 at Treowen Stars and 4-0 to Caldicot Town. On a drizzly night, Tredegar took the lead on six minutes, a low ball from the right was put home by Arran Elias. A minute later, it was all square, Daniel Battle with an excellent free kick for Ebbw Vale. , Luke Morgan put the hosts back ahead, in a similar fashion to their first but from the other flank. Tomas Lynch extended the lead to 3-1 when he headed home a deep cross from the right.  Ebbw Vale were not giving up though and Josh Jones pulled it back to 3-2 with a looping shot from the left which evaded the goalkeeper. However, they threw it away soon after, a catastrophic backpass allowed Lynch in to complete his brace and make it 4-2. There was one further goal on 74 minutes, a superb lob from Ian Pettit who finished from 25 yards to make it 5-2.

No attendance had been announced, but I would guess around 150. I'd learned that my destination was pronounced Tre-day-gar as opposed to Tread-egar like I'd originally thought. Whatever, the hosts had deserved the win with Ebbw Vale only losing by such a margin due to poor defending. They only had three miles to get home, whereas I had around 145 miles to get back. There was a few miles and minutes added to my journey thanks to the M4 being closed for a junction, but I was still back by 11.45. I'd had a nice day and for me, the third tier in Wales is the best in the UK in terms of entertainment and value for money. I just wish I'd had more time to explore the place and club. I was happy with my choice of game although Penydarren BGC 3-3 Caerau Ely ran it close. For the rest of the evening, the plan was a few drinks and typing my blog ahead of sleep before the Wycombe v Bolton game tomorrow.

TREDEGAR LEISURE COMPLEX is part of a larger complex which offers all kinds of activities for the community. The football ground part is very nice, fully railed and with a small stand for around 100 fans. It's surrounded on two sides by steep hills and must look great in daylight. Aside from that, there's not so much as a bin but a nice volunteer will come around with a bag towards the end of the game. All the facilities are outside, a basic kitchen with cans and snacks I believe. There's plenty of parking, though this does get filled up quickly. The pleasant-looking town is a mile away and includes Wetherspoons and various takeaways.

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