Mike Coleman talks all things Pentwynmawr Athletic AFC

Continuing our successful catch up with the people involved in Welsh football at all levels, we are delighted to feature Pentwynmawr Athletic AFC who play in the Gwent County pyramid leagues. Who better than to explain than Michael Coleman who has been with the club for over 25 years.

Y DDRAIG – What is your involvement at the club? and how long have you been associated with Pentwynmawr Athletic AFC? 

MICHAEL – I have played for Pentwynmawr Athletic for 25 years (started way back at under eight level in 1994) so the football club holds a special place in my heart. The fact that I can play for the club, run the social media and manage player registrations is a huge honour for myself. My appointment to the latter two roles came about from an interesting bit of club history. Two seasons ago for various reasons the club lost an entire committee leaving club stalwart Geoff Phillips remaining.

With only Geoff left at the club, the prospects for the club looked bleak.  It had got to the point where we were considering setting up a player committee to try and keep things going. Luckily for ourselves, ex-player and ex-chairman, Gavin Evans stepped up for a second spell as chairman. Gavin quickly built a small but active committee with the aim of looking to increase standards both on and off the pitch. That’s when I picked up my roles as a committee member.

Y DDRAIG – It is noticeable that the club has a strong presence on social media run very well.  How important is it to a club like Pentwynmawr Athletic to engage and promote the club on social media?

MICHAEL – I absolutely love running the social media for the club, it is something that I can have a lot of fun with and it gives me a chance to be creative. Continually improving our online presence is massively important to us because Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are in my opinion the easiest ways for us to connect with fans, local businesses and the community at large, and showcase to them what we are all about. In the short time that I’ve been running it, we have secured more sponsorship and most importantly attracted more players to the club.

This has helped us move towards our goal of improving standards both on and off the pitch. I am flattered that you have noticed that my work rivals that of clubs at a higher level, my aim is to run it as good as the best. I have got a few more social media tricks up my sleeve for this season so keep your eyes peeled.

Y DDRAIG – The pre-season campaign is now in full swing. I managed to get over for the clash with Wattsville and its probably fair to say that on the night the visitors took their chances and looked strong. How have things progressed for yourselves since that game?

MICHAEL – We have had a really well organised pre-season this year. The focus of which has been getting minutes in the bank for all players in the club. The Wattsville game that you saw came just two days after our first team played Pontypridd Town, so you missed out on seeing lots of our regular first-team players in action as they were being rested.

As expected Wattsville were fantastic on the night and brought a really strong squad. Most of our games have been against opponents in a higher tier so we haven’t picked up as many wins as we’d hoped, but there has been plenty of positives to take from each game.

We will be looking for a big step up in performance especially from our first-team squad who play AC Pontymister in the first round of the FAW Trophy on Saturday 17th August.  The friendly game against them was close, and I think it should be a fascinating game. We are certain we will see the tactics and hard work in training being consolidated on the pitch.

As I said it’s been a very well organised pre-season. Training sessions have been second to none thanks to the addition of our new player-coaches, Rhys Haines and Dai Palmer. They both have added an edge, that was possibly lacking last season, and hopefully, we will see the dividends of that pay off when the league campaign begins on 17th August.

Y DDRAIG
– Many of our readers may be unaware that in essence, Pentwynmawr is a small village with lots of local teams competing for players in the vicinity. What challenges does this bring to the club? and what are the costs and funding involved to keep a club competing in Division 1 of the Gwent County league?

MICHAEL – In the past, the challenges have been huge!  There were times where we had to choose which bill/debt to pay off first to stay out of trouble. Then wait for the next couple of sets of player cons to come in to pay the next debt. Recent times have been much better. We have been successfully running a club lottery for about three years now. This along with a recent increase in sponsorship has put us in a much more secure position.

If things go well on the pitch, we want to be in a position where we can make the necessary improvements off the pitch to allow the club to move up through the tiers. This hasn’t happened by luck, it’s all down to the hard-working committee, the players and the community who all put so much into our club lottery.

Pentwynmawr is an absolutely tiny village. There is a shop, two pubs, a church, a community centre and a handful of streets of houses built around the football pitch (Pentwynmawr Welfare). Player retention has always been good at our club because it’s such a great club to play for. In the past two seasons, we’ve attracted more new players than ever, that’s down to the hard-working committee improving standards on and off the pitch. Our focus this season is to develop our youth and junior section of the club.

Our biggest senior achievements have come from squads that are made up of players that came through the Pentwynmawr junior and youth ranks. We have started a brand new under 18s and under 16s team for the coming season and hope to grow the number of junior teams each year. We are looking forward to seeing them all become part of our senior setup in the future as they grow and hopefully grab a bit of silverware on the way.

 

Y DDRAIG – It has been confirmed in the press that yourselves along with other clubs have been selected for a groundhoppers tour game this season with your match against Lucas Cwmbran being selected on August 26th. How exciting is the news? and would there be plans to possibly get a marquee tent with some beers and BBQ or such like to cater for a potentially good walk-up crowd on the day?

 

MICHAEL -We are extremely excited to host a groundhoppers tour game on Monday 26th August vs Lucas Cwmbran. It’s our first league game of the campaign so what a way to start. We are expecting huge crowds compared to what we are used to, so initially, we were a bit nervous. It will be a little different to our usual games, we plan to open up the community centre to serve a hot lunch, Welsh cakes, real ales/ciders, tea coffee and soft drinks.

The Community Centre will also house a club shop where you can pick up some vintage Pentwynmawr Athletic Shirts, pin badges along with some other surprises. We will display some of the club histories including our league winning trophies and old photos. We are most excited about welcoming so many people to our special club. We hope that the groundhoppers, our fans and our local community will enjoy the day.

Y DDRAIG
– We would like to thank Mike for talking to Andrew Evans @therovingsheep and wish the club a successful season. If you would like to get on board with sponsorship, then please contact the club by dropping Mike a direct message on twitter @pentwynmawrafc