Sunday, 30 August 2009

20th Anniversary edition

It was August 1989 and two Merthyr supporters are carrying a box around Old Road, Briton Ferry during a pre-season friendly in the sunshine (can you remember when we had a pre-season and it was sunny?), the majority of the crowd that day bought a copy of the new fanzine Dial M For Merthyr, probably most of them thought it was the programme (in the early days we were always asked "Is this the programme?", we'd say yes, sell one and then hope they didn't realise until we were safe in Strikers drinking the profits!) but it was the start of the Dial M For Merthyr fanzine.

The late 80s had spawned a new generation of publications dedicated to raising the profile of the ordinary supporter on the terraces, the early pioneers being When Saturday Comes, The City Gent (Bradford City), The Pie (Notts County), Orientear (Leyton Orient) and Watch the Bluebirds Fly (Cardiff City), it was a post-Hillsborough landscape with the fight against ID cards being led by the fledgling Football Supporters Association from its Liverpool headquarters, fences around the pitches, crumbling terraces and a wagonwheel was the best food you could get. The fanzines were a constant antidote to the patronising and out of touch coverage of the established media in the UK who failed to see the real issues relevant to all supporters, the fanzines weren't always welcome (the Merthyr Express expressed its caution in welcoming us after one of our early issues) but they remained vibrant until the establishment began to absorb the better elements into the mainstream, mainstay publications like Shoot were soon overtaken by more fanzinesque editions like FourFourTwo who relied heavily on journalists who had cut their teeth on the fanzine scene.

Dial M For Merthyr has continued over the 20 years to cover the fortunes of our club whether through joint fanzines with Cardiff City, testimonial issues for Chris Holvey or anti-racism booklets for the annual Let's Kick Racism Out of Football. We may not be able to match both Cardiff City and Swansea City for the number of fans but we have shown constantly that we have enough talent to maintain a famous fanzine brand which continues to be admired in terrace culture.

Twenty years after that first issue copied in Merthyr Law Courts and side stapled by hand, we look to bring out an anniversary issue celebrating 20 years of Merthyr Tydfil FC fan culture so whether its the poncho you wore to Woking, the music you listened to as you drove to Sutton Coldfield or the article that changed your view on football please forward your memories on both fanzine and Merthyr Tydfil to us for inclusion in the next issue. Deadline will be around 28th September.

Please forward all articles, one liners, poems, ideas for articles, dodgy photos of MTFC fans in various grounds to us at