Continuing with our fan focus articles this season, we have caught up with Brian Lamont, Pencoed Athletic BCG assistant coach to talk about Pencoed and the upcoming season.
Y DDRAIG – Now then Brian, the first question to ask is many of our readers may have noticed a name change to the club. Formerly Pencoed Athletic AFC, now, of course, Pencoed Athletic BGC. Has there been a merger of clubs? And how did the idea come around locally to change things at the club?
BRIAN – The athletic club merged with the boys and girls club in June this year. Its been ongoing for a couple of years, as both parties felt it beneficial in the long run. For me, it was a natural procession as most of our players, current and ex, came through the boys and girls previously, the youth club. Our girls’ team is very strong, with four current Welsh B&G caps and something we hope to expand going forward.
Y DDRAIG – Many of our readers, will be unfamiliar with your role in the club Brian. How long have you been involved at Pencoed? and looking further afield how did your love affair with the beautiful game begin?
BRIAN- I am currently Mark Powell’s assistant, and we have been together for what will now be our ninth season together. Myself, Mark and Craig Hopkins all share the coaching duties. We currently train twice a week and have also been having boxercise sessions at K2 gym in Bridgend. I have loved football for as long as I remember, playing for hours in the field of my village in the South of Scotland, with pals of various ages and abilities. My uncle took me to watch Carlisle at a very young age, and another uncle took me to Ibrox to see the famous Rangers and to this day love them both still.
Incidentally, my dog is called Brunton Bark. I was a young player at Annan Athletic who were highly respected locally, and you were taught from day one about how to represent the club, and doing the right things as a player, on and off the pitch. It was a very similar situation at Carlisle when I joined them. I have always tried to instil in our players the importance of doing the right things and behaving properly as a club member. Mind you, of course, it hasn’t always worked lol.
Y DDRAIG – The club is currently in the South Wales Alliance Premier League which is a very competitive division. What barriers does a club like Pencoed now face, in order to get facilities, and infrastructure, in place to meet Welsh League football criteria? And how much of a challenge, is it to obtain sponsors, and funds, to keep the club functioning season to season?
BRIAN – The Alliance League is extremely competitive, and each game brings its own test. Everyone connected at the club knows that we have to be ready to face challenges each week on the park. Off the park, we have a very hard working committee who are trying there hardest to ensure that if we do succeed on the park, we will be ready off the park too. We also have very generous sponsors and a hard-working players committee who are committed to raising, not only funds but the clubs profile too.
Y DDRAIG – The pre-season is obviously now in full swing and the club has signed Nathan Williams from Sully, whilst losing Ben Treharne who has joined FC Brynna. How competitive is it at this level to sign players? and how are preparations going so far in readiness for the new league campaign?
BRIAN – We have signed a couple of players from Sully, and Shaun Williams has joined from Ton Pentre with a couple more hopefully in the pipeline. We did well last year and retained all the squad, but felt that new faces would bring an edge back to their game, so as not to become complacent, not that I think they would, however. Ben has joined our friends and neighbours Brynna for, hopefully, game time. On his game, he will score goals but has been really unlucky with injuries.
Y DDRAIG – I think we can safely say that the Pencoed twitter account is superbly run with regular updates, videos of the lads, and the tote draws now seems something of a cult status with fans tuning in to watch the banter and footage. How essential do you feel it is for a club like Pencoed to engage online and help raise the profile and awareness of the club?
BRIAN – We have a great guy in Darren Claridge, who doubles up as our goalkeeper coach, and is also registered as a player. We have some real characters at the club, and the tote draw is always ‘interesting’ to say the least. Darren ensures that our social media content is relevant and up to date, and he also is in contact with other clubs regularly. We all like to chip in from time to time, mind you though our players WhatsApp is out of bounds …
Y DDRAIG – As a proud Scotsman, now residing in South Wales, do you see any comparisons with the passion for the beautiful game in South Wales compared to the Glasgow area? Pencoed RFC and also Bridgend RFC are both steeped in history, have you been surprised by the passion for football in South Wales?
BRIAN – I am a proud Scotsman, who was always under the impression that Wales was/is a Rugby Country. I say this as there room for all sports, but for me, football is the national sport. I find rugby is more media-driven, and I feel the lack of correspondence re football is tragic on a national level. Having played and coached in South Wales for over 20 years, I can assure anyone that’s not entirely sure, how competitive the game is. [I have the scars to prove it] The National League in Wales is tragically under-reported on for me, and in fact publications as this and Clwb Pel Droed etc do a marvellous job. Pity, the other main players don’t take as much interest in my opinion.
Y DDRAIG – Finally as we head toward the start of the new season, what are your aspirations, and aims this season for the club?
BRIAN – We all feel that the club is on the verge of great things, especially with the merger, the new ground etc. I hope we also continue to progress as a footballing team, as indeed we have been doing over recent seasons. The WFA Cup and the trophy runs have been exciting and hopefully has given us the desire for more of it. My own personal aim is to keep telling the players that I am still the best player at the club…..
Many thanks to Brian for taking time out to chat with Y DDRAIG and we would like to wish the club a successful season.
Article produced by Andrew Evans @therovingsheep
All images c/o Brian Lamont