Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ton Pentre Football Club

Please read below for my interview with Ton Pentre chairman Bryan Bees. It was published in the latest Football Focus magazine which can be viewed here for absolutely free! Included in the current issue are Deveronvale, Leith Athletic and many more football clubs.

Ton Pentre

Ynys Park - Home of Ton Pentre FC
Born and bred in the South Wales town of Ton Pentre, Bryan Bees has been watching the Bulldogs since he could walk. Bryan's father, brothers and son have played for the club and he has been Chairman for four years, so there are few who know more about the ins and outs of Ton Pentre than Bryan.

It would be fair to say that Ton have endured a few topsy turvy seasons recently, but they bounced back to their natural level this year, winning promotion to the Welsh First Division with four games spare. Bryan is of course delighted with the achievement as he explained to Football Focus last month. “At the beginning of this season we had a change in manager, the first for ten years and due to the reorganisation of the Welsh league we were relegated for the first time in our history. That was a low point, but the appointment of two of our ex players, Dean Morris and his assistant Andrew Hughes to the management team was the start of the revival. We lost several players due to the relegation, but Dean and Andrew recruited adequate replacements and the results proved them right. The camaraderie in the dressing room is superb, we play as a team and all the new arrivals settled in very quickly. We were crowned as Division Two champions with four games to spare, not having lost a game. Next season is going to be difficult, we aim to finish as high as possible, but most importantly to consolidate our position.”

Although there has been success off the park this season, Bryan understands that the future of the club is also reliant on developing youngsters and admits the key to being at the heart of the community is to host the best post-match buffets! “We recognise that the future of this club lies in development of young players and have made overtures to a local boys and girls club with the view to form an amalgamation. We support the local clubs and all local charities. Our club is the headquarters of several local organisations, the largest being the Rhondda & District Football League which includes about eighty teams. Teams from other leagues in South Wales choose our club as the venue for all their functions. The post-match buffets are as good as any!”

Despite their integration into the local community, Bryans wants Ton Pentre to have an even closer tie with the people of the town and believes the involvement of youngsters is the key to success. “We are preparing a five year plan which will encompass the forming of an association with one of the local boys and girls club. Another aim is to form a much closer tie with the local community and to promote our club to become an integral part of the community, this obviously will not be done overnight, but with the forward thinking of our committee, this will be achieved. We need young people to join our committee to drive us forward, in particular the refurbishment of the ground in partnership with the owners, Ton Pentre Welfare Association.”

However, times are hard in the former mining stronghold in the south of Wales. Bryan concedes that pushing money into the club is difficult and the number of facilities in the area are limited. “The biggest challenge in the current economic climate is definitely finance. Sponsorship is very difficult to obtain, especially in the deprived areas of South Wales. So far we have been fortunate in obtaining what we have obtained and our thanks go to the people who have supported us in these difficult times. Because of the lack of finance another drawback of the area is the lack of playing facilities in the Rhondda Valleys sadly.”

Ton Pentre will battle on and are determined to pursue more success. Their drive for a community feel to the club was proven as recent as 21 May when Rhondda's best cover band sold out the Clubhouse, bringing the locals together and raising vital funds for the club.

written by Will Lyon

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