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Page last updated at 23:55 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Merthyr v Cardiff to raise cash

Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil
The club was founded in 1945 and plays in the BGB premier division

Merthyr Tydfil face a Cardiff City XI at Penydarren Park to raise cash for the financially-troubled Martyrs.

Proceeds from the match will go to Merthyr's official supporters club to help pay off pressing debts and players' wages.

The match takes place on Wednesday 25 March, kick-off 1945 GMT.

The Merthyr Tydfil Supporters' Trust have said the club's owner, Wyn Holloway, turned down their bid to take over the cash-strapped outfit.

Merthyr's recent home fixture with Farnborough was in doubt because of unpaid bills before the pitch was deemed waterlogged.

Holloway, who has ploughed £800,000 into the club during his 10-year reign, says the situation "is very serious."

The BBC has tried to contact him for his response to the trust's comments.

We have told club we will not help them pay the liabilities that they have built up through their management as they have incurred these debts

Martyrs To The Cause Supporters Trust secretary John Strand

The trust offered to shoulder the Southern League club's debts should Holloway agree to their takeover.

BBC Sport understands Merthyr have no electrical power and a temporary generator would have been needed to stage Tuesday's planned Southern League Premier fixture with leaders Farnborough.

The Martyrs - who would risk a fine and possible points deduction if they failed to fulfil a fixture - were in a similar situation in February and had to raise £50,000 towards paying their debts before their game with Corby Town.

When £10,000 was raised Merthyr were granted a temporary reprieve and allowed to play their next two fixtures.

Owner Holloway admits he has no more money to finance the Martyrs, insisting: "I haven't got a bottomless pit."

Martyrs To The Cause Supporters' Trust secretary John Strand says his five-year-old association, which is affiliated to the UK-wide Supporters' Direct body, have offered to take over the debts and running of the three-time Welsh Cup winners.

"Our long-term aim is to establish a community-based club," said Strand, a Merthyr supporter for 30 years.

"Then the club would be democratically run for the community just like our society.

"We have donated £40,000 to the club over the last 18 months and we gave the club £10,000 before Christmas to pay the wages of the players.

"We did make an offer to the owner last August that he transfers ownership of the club to the Trust at no cost.

"Our intention is to take over the full running the club on a debt-free basis and we will then deal with and manage the debts.

"That offer for full control has been repeated in response to the recent situation, but on both occasions the offer was not accepted.

"We have met with the owner who did invite trust members to join the club's board and have a majority, but that was on condition we provide funds to pay short-term debts and we were not willing to do that.

"We will continue to support the club but not financially, we do have funds but they are at a level where we consider we can't dip into them and by our rules we must maintain a prudent balance of funds."

Merthyr, a famous non-league club, enjoyed their most glorious day beating Italian club Atalanta 2-1 in the first leg of their tie in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1987.

The Martyrs played in the Conference, just below the Football League, for six seasons until 1995.

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see also
Merthyr v Farnborough postponed
03 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Merthyr FC's temporary reprieve
20 Feb 09 |  South east
Merthyr facing race against time
19 Feb 09 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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