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Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:25 UK

Cash-strapped Merthyr Tydfil set to be reformed

Merthyr Tydfil's Penydarren Park
Merthyr Tydfil's Penydarren Park has hosted European football

Cash-strapped Merthyr Tydfil are hoping to reform as a new club to ease their financial crisis and drop two divisions to secure their long-term future.

The Zamaretto League Premier Division club were docked 10 points after going into administration when the fans Trust took over at the start of the season.

Merthyr had debts of £315,000 and their reformation would see them drop into the Western League Premier Division.

The Welsh FA have backed the reform plan and remain in the English league.

New clubs in Wales are required to play in the Welsh pyramid.

But as the Martyrs have "100 years of tradition" in the English league, the Football Association of Wales agreed at a recent full council meeting to allow the new club to join the same structure as its old club.

Merthyr Tydfil

Newport County's successful High Court fight against the FAW in 1994 has set a precedent for allowing new clubs based in Wales to play in the English pyramid.

Merthyr's Supporters Trust now run the Welsh club and secretary John Strand insists reformation is their best option to "survive."

Merthyr are perilously hovering above the Zamaretto League Premier Division relegation zone by just one place - and the Penydarren Park club are only above Bedford Town on goal difference - with three games remaining.

"To reform is our only viable option," said Strand.

"We, as a supporters society, are trying to buy the lease of Penydarren Park - which is the main thing - but because of the amount of money we're offering, the club will probably be dissolved.

"The preferred way to come out of administration is to have a creditors voluntary agreement but if we are liquidated, normally the club is required to drop a few divisions - but the name of the the game is survival.

"The initial FAW hurdle has been overcome and now we have put in an offer to the administrator to get the lease for Penydarren Park."

Strand admitted Merthyr considered breaking from their own tradition and trying to seek admission into Welsh league.

But he said: "There was a strong feeling among people at the club to maintain a tradition of 100 years of playing in the English league - so that is our priority."

Merthyr could drop to either the Hellenic or Western League but the latter is their "preferred" option as the travel costs would be less.

Non-league Merthyr have had moments of glory including beating Italian club Atalanta 2-1 in the first leg of their European Cup Winners Cup tie in 1987.

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

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see also
Merthyr Tydfil FC given reprieve
06 May 09 |  South east
Holloway willing to sell Merthyr
02 Apr 09 |  Welsh
Owner admits Merthyr closure fear
09 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Why the Martyrs matter
06 May 09 |  Wales
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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