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24. The Athletic - New Beginnings and The Closing Chapter of our Blog!

We started doing this blog to keep a record of all the progress being made at The Athletic, a reference point for grant providers to see where their money is going, and just as an update for anyone interested.

As everyone will be aware we have been using the ground for 6 months now and lots has gone on in that time!

Its been bugging me for a while that we kept everyone updated on bushes being cut, or trenches being dug, but when it came to the end and all the exciting things that have happened there over the last 6 months - we haven't made a record of any of it! 🙈

We've had VIPs attend, the FAW launched its Euro 2028 bid from the ground! The Wales mens team manager, Rob Page, attended to open it, we're up for a National award, and plenty of other things have happened inbetween!

So this blog is just a proper roundup, a closing chapter to the blogs (you'll be happy to know no doubt!) and a moment to reflect and digest all that's happened over the last few months. It should also be the most interesting one we've done, although thats not hard!

Some exciting news to start off with!🥳🎉

We've won an award!!🥳 We're very proud to say that The Club & Community of Treharris has won the award for "Best Grassroots Football Story" in the South Wales FAW Grassroots Football Awards! This award is in recognition of all the work that has been done at The Athletic over the last few years, and turning it into the Home for our kids football teams!

It was a brilliant feeling winning this award, although we've never done any of the work for anything like this. Our aim from the start was to make a much needed facility for our kids football teams, as we were absolutely desperate and didn't have anywhere!

There are 6 regions in Wales under the FAW and we won the South Wales regional award. To make things even better, we have recently found out that we have now been shortlisted for the National awards which take place the end of this month! This means that if we win this award The Club and Community will be the winners out of the entire Country and not just South Wales which will be one hell of an achievement! 😳😬

Keep an eye on our social media Friday September 29th to find out how we get on...

Scooby & KJ with our "Best Grassroots Football Story" award for South Wales, Aug 2023

First game - Treharris u14s vs Ely Valley u14s - March 11th, 2023

The first game being played on March 11th, 2023

The first ever game on the new Athletic was a league cup match for our u14s vs Ely Valley. Treharris won the match comfortably 8-2 and the first ever goal scored on the new ground was a free kick by Tyler Jones in the 5th minute from about 25 yards.

First ever goal scored on The Athletic in its new era by Tyler Jones

UK & Ireland Euro 2028 joint bid - Launched from The Athletic!!

We were delighted and shocked to be approached by the FAW back in April to use The Athletic as the location to launch the UK & Irelands joint bid to host Euro 2028! 🤯🥳

It was all very hush hush and confidential and we didnt even know what guests would be coming until the day. The guests were Noel Mooney (CEO of The FAW), Nigel Walker (CEO of the WRU), Vaughan Gething (Minister for Economics), Dawn Bowden AM, Gerald Jones MP & David Davies (Secretary of State).

Guests and official Euro launch bid photos April 2023

What we did know was that our under 8s and 9s would take part in a mini festival organised and run by the FAW at the ground. This was a great opportunity to get some of our other teams playing at the ground for the first time and to host other Clubs.

The weather was kind to us and all the players had a great day! The official bid was then launched and hopefully will be successful, if so there will be matches played in the Principality Stadium in Euro 2028!

Info on the campaign can be found on the FAW website which is on the following link:

Our u8s & 9s taking part in the mini festival as part of the Euro 2028 bid launch

The Official Opening Day!

We had been busy trying to plan and arrange the opening day since March, however due to works needed at the ground, and diary clashes it kept getting put back. We finally secured a date of Friday August 11th 2023, and then it was all systems go trying to arrange the day!

As it was an historic day for the Club there were a few things that needed to happen as far as we were concerned - all players needed to play on the pitch on the day, we needed our first ever Club photo, and we wanted all players to have a photo with our special guest! 📸

We managed to come up with a plan, and thankfully, somehow, it went without any issues!

All teams played each other in a number of 20min matches which started at 10am and ended about 12.30pm. Rob Page was arriving at 12pm so there was an opportunity for him to watch our youngest teams playing, which he did.

We also arranged with Rob for him to have a photo with every team that we have (all 14 of them!) so that every player could have a photo with him. And finally we came up with the idea of having a Club photo where all players would form '2023' and all parents and supporters would make a frame around it, to mark the year of the ground re-opening.

The Official Opening Day of The Athletic, Friday 11th August 2023

The day went exceptionally well. I cant speak highly enough of Rob Page, he must have signed over 500 items on the day and had so much time for anyone that asked him for a photo or just wanted a chat. We're extremely grateful for his time and for helping us mark the occasion, and we also want to thank Peter Rees for helping to make it happen and for also attending on the day!

We were also very pleased to host a number of special guests who had helped us along the way!

Im sure its a day that will live in the memory for a long time for all that were there, The Wales Team Manager in our little village!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿💙⚽️

Grant providers that have got us to where we are!

We have been very grateful throughout this project for anyone and everyone that has given up their time, made a donation, supported us or carried out work for us. Its been an unbelievable and tiring journey, but we've made it!

There are currently 250 players who use it or will use it throughout their journey with The Club and there will be thousands over the coming years, none of which would have even had a pitch to play on if it wasn't for everyone who has helped make it happen!

As an acknowledgment, and a thank you, this is the list of grant providers and grants we have been fortunate to secure to get this project to where we are today:-

  • Sports Wales Be Active Grant - Jan 2021 - £9957

  • Ffos Y Fran - July 2021 - £1500

  • Ffos Y Fran - Sept 2021 - £500

  • Crowdfunder - Oct 2021 - £6291.99

  • Sports Wales (as part of the Crowdfunder) - Oct 2021 - £1500

  • Active Merthyr Grant - Dec 2021 - £500

  • VAMT Grant - Dec 2021 - £3835

  • Community Foundation Wales - Feb 2022 - £5000

  • FAW Facilities Grant - Feb 2022 - £126,630

  • Asda Grant - July 2022 - £500

  • CF in Wales Grant - July 2022 - £2000

  • Merthyr SETS Grant - £25,000

  • Comic Relief Grant - Sept 2022 - £10,000

  • Cymru Foundation - Mar 2023 - £26,491

  • Millenium Stadium Grant - £2500

  • Barclays Sported Grant - June 2023 - £500

  • Merthyr Council UKSPF Grant - Aug 2023 - £5000

Thats a total of £227,705 in grant funding!! We've also raised additional funds through our own fundraising or parents/supporters running marathons/half marathons, or other sponsored events. And we have very kindly received donations off a number of people/companies/organisations along the way!

The main costs have been:-

  • New entrance gate - £2000

  • Connection of Electric - £1828

  • Goal posts - £1284

  • Pitch Renovation - £8964

  • Changing rooms - £163,826

  • Benches for changing rooms - £7587

  • Storage container x 2 - £4730

  • Mower - £3500

  • Team shelters - £4300

  • Box Nets & Support posts - £2380

  • Cycle shelter - £2270

  • New fence & Ball netting - £18,418

  • Boot cleaner - £250

  • Grass collector attachment for mower - £705

  • Fertilizer spreader - £500

  • Weed & Feed - £420

  • Additional fencing & ball netting due soon (once we secure shortfall of funds) - £10,675

New box nets, dugouts and fencing purchased thanks to the Cymru Foundation Grant

Thats a total of £233,637 of main costs to get the facility how it is today! That doesn't take into account any running costs, maintenance or repairs etc. 🙈 An unbelievable amount of funds raised and spent on a facility that the kids can enjoy and be proud to call their home!

The End..ish

It's been a mammoth task, one that no doubt we would've ran away from if we knew what would be involved from the beginning!🏃🏻‍♂️ I genuinely thought we would only need about £20k to get the ground back up and running when we started!!

But, I am so glad we took it on! Scooby made a start on this in November 2019, I jumped on board with him soon after. Evan soon followed me and spent so much time working over there with me, still does! And then of course Johnny played a massive role in getting so much done there and so did Andrew.

The work never ends, and we are still maintaining the ground ourselves and we still have some big plans/dreams for the ground, the main one being getting tarmac on our car park as we were let down by Griffiths who had said they would do it all for us and pulled out last minute!😢💔

Thanks for the support, and for reading the blogs along the way, it really is much appreciated! We're excited to see what the future brings for The Club and our young players who now have a great pathway ahead of them from under 6 right through to our senior side!

Fingers crossed for the awards in a couple weeks time!

Snapshot of the old era, new era and the mess inbetween! Heres to another 100 years!

Thanks for reading, KJ 💙⚽️

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