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Hugo Montgomery and the Martyrs of Merthyr

An FM20 story about the exploit of Hugo Montgomery at Welsh side Merthyr Town FC
Started on 24 June 2020 by Feliks
Latest Reply on 7 July 2020 by ScottT
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Montgomery Signs Four-Year Extension At Merthyr

Merthyr Town have moved to secure highly rated manager Hugo Montgomery for an additional four seasons, after the 29 year old led the Martyrs to the FA Trophy and a comfortable mid-table finish in their first season in the Vanarama National League.

The Bangor native was linked with the vacant positions at Championship strugglers MK Dons and Preston North End, but has turned down the opportunity for career advancement in favour of continuing to build his legacy at Penydarren Park.

Since joining the Martyrs in the summer of 2020, Montgomery has made his mark in the sleepy town of Merthyr Tydfil, immediately establishing the club as a Vanarama North favourite before eventually winning the league in his fourth season at the helm, and securing Merthyr Town’s first ever promotion to a nation-wide league. Despite many critics expecting the club to struggle, Merthyr did not look out of place in the Vanarama National last season and will be proud of an 11th placed finish.

An excellent showing in the domestic cups was the highlight of the season, with Merthyr making it all the way to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, hosting West Ham and losing just 1-0. In the FA Trophy, Merthyr went all the way, playing their first ever game at Wembley Stadium and beating Kettering Town on penalties to lift their second trophy in two seasons. The club’s success in both cups has also brought financial prosperity, with Merthyr’s youth facilities currently undergoing a major renovation.

Known for his direct style of play, Montgomery’s faith in Welsh youngsters has been a large factor in his success. The likes of Gareth Evans, Alan Williams, Tivonge Rushesha and of course, club legend Rhydian Rowlands, have been crucial to Merthyr’s success and Montgomery has been applauded for keeping a nucleus of talented, young players at the club for an extended period of time. He’s also not been afraid to look to the Welsh league system for talent, with Rowlands (Airbus UK Broughton), Matt Blake (The New Saints) and Iain Sullivan (Barry Town) all becoming key players for the club in recent seasons.

After turning down the chance to join Championship sides MK Dons and Preston North End, Montgomery has signalled his intention to continue to build Merthyr, and improve on an 11th placed finish last season. With the majority of his players contracted for another season, he has a strong foundation to build on for the year ahead.
Great start to this, looking forward to seeing you progress through the English leagues over the next few years. It's going to take time, but I believe you can do it :D Good luck!
J_ames: Cheers mate! Gonna be a hard slog but it's a special club!

Rowlands Set For League One Move?

Merthyr captain Rhydian Rowlands looks set for a move away from Penydarren Park over this transfer window, amid heavy interest from League 1 sides Northampton and Newport County.

The 21 year old, affectionately known as ‘Mount Rhydian’, picked up Fan’s Player of the Season for the fourth consecutive year at Merthyr’s end of season awards recently and has been captain of the FA Trophy winners since he was just 19 years old. With his hulking 203cm frame a lethal weapon in aerial contests, he has been a consistent scorer for the Martyrs, hitting 31 in their promotion season to win the Vanarama North Golden Boot and Best Player awards just over a year ago. He adapted well to the Vanarama National, scoring 15 goals in 39 league starts, as well as a career high 12 assists.

Northampton Town are thought to be the favourites to secure his signature, with manager Matthew Rose looking for the perfect number 9 to suit his direct playing style. Newport County, Merthyr’s South Welsh neighbours, are also said to be in the hunt for Rowlands as well as a number of other promising Merthyr starlets.

Rowlands has not been drawn into public comment on the matter, although he has rebuffed moves away from Penydarren Park in the past. He is currently contracted with Merthyr until the end of the season, and Hugo Montgomery will be hoping to lock him in for another year as soon as possible.

Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 yearsEdited
The Welsh Jan Koller looks too good for non-league football anyway
He looks a brilliant player. It would be a big loss, no pun intended, if you were lose him.
Would be a massive step up for the player but a huge loss for you. Would be great to keep him but that might be tough.
Tango: You could argue he is, but there's no way I wanna give him up!
ScottT: Well played good sir.
TheLFCFan: We'll see how we go, I suppose.

2025/26 League Fixtures Released; Friendlies Arranged

Merthyr Town have received the fixture list for the upcoming Vanarama National season, set to begin on the 2nd of August.

The Martyrs will travel south to play Eastleigh on the opening day of the season, before hosting Kidderminster Harriers on the 9th at Penydarren Park.

They will be hoping for a repeat of the early season form last year, which saw them win 5-1 against Torquay on their National League debut. Merthyr will host Aldershot and Ebbsfleet in the opening month, along with a trip to London to play Dag & Red.

The club has also been drawn to face FA Trophy final opponents Kettering Town in the traditional Boxing Day fixture, and will travel to Kidderminster for a New Year’s Day clash. Below is the full fixture list for the 2025/26 season.

A busy friendly schedule has been arranged, with the club hosting a number of Welsh sides over the next month. The friendlies will kick off by hosting powerhouse Cardiff City and then rivals Newport County and Barry Town; also set to appear at Penydarren Park are Carmarthen Town, Cambrian & Clydach, Wrexham, Aberystwyth Town, Newtown, Monmouth and The New Saints. The club will make the short trip to the capital to face Cardiff Met University in the final pre-season clash on the 28th of July.

Merthyr Release Three

Merthyr Town have confirmed that Aaron Jones, Dan Mooney and Howard Whatley have left the club at the conclusion of their contracts.

A number of Martyrs have been offered extensions in the last few days but Hugo Montgomery has not found a place in his squad for the trio, who will try their luck in the English trial system or - as has become increasingly common with ex-Merthyr players - move to the Welsh Premier League.

Goalkeeper Aaron Jones is the biggest surprise release, having made 185 league appearances for the club across four seasons, but with Merthyr struggling defensively and Jones having just 8 clean sheets in 46 games, Montgomery has opted to let the 26 year old leave the club. The Everton academy graduate is expected to return to the Welsh league system, with Cardiff Met Uni rumoured to be interested.

Dan Mooney also departs after just 8 months at the club, following a disappointing showing in his 38 games. Signed on a free from Altrincham to address a lack of depth on the left wing, the ex-Welsh international collected just 3 goals and 3 assists and was constantly under fire from home fans. The February signing of Isaak Davies effectively sealed his fate, and he will test the free market this transfer window.

Howard Whatley’s career at Merthyr was constantly in the shadow of Rhydian Rowlands, and the backup target man ultimately made just 3 league appearances in two seasons as he was overtaken in the pecking order by Ian Rimmer. Whatley was a prodigious scorer at Under-19 level, helping the Martyrs win consecutive Welsh Development League titles, but has been allowed to kickstart his career away from the club.
A shame to let go of someone who has played a vast amount of games for the club but unfortunately these difficult decisions have to be made.

More Ins & Outs At Merthyr

Merthyr have confirmed another two departures in a busy week at Penydarren Park, whilst also bringing in two new faces on short-term loans.

Young duo Keiron Collins and Amir Badhawi have both left the club on free transfers which had been organised in January after they weren’t assured of consistent time in the first team. Collins, a Swansea academy graduate, showed signs of promise in his 18 games at the club and will be pleased to secure a move to Irish side Bohemian. Badhawi, an MK Dons reject, was brought in to provide cover at right back but found opportunities limited throughout the season and joins Welsh Premier League side Barry Town for the 2025/26 season.

Merthyr has also brought in two promising Welsh youngsters on 1-month loans, with the view of extending it should they impress during pre-season. Charlie Delve is a highly rated prospect as a left winger from Cardiff, who made his professional debut at National League level on loan at Eastleigh last season. The 21 year old is known as a showman, and should prove to be a tricky customer in a position that Merthyr have struggled with in recent seasons.

David Lewis is the second player brought in, on a free loan from League 2 side Leyton Orient. Lewis has made just 2 appearances for the O’s since graduating from their academy, and is an extremely raw prospect coming into a contract season. Hugo Montgomery will hope he can get the best out of the centre back, whose 196cm frame is expected to help with a Merthyr defence that struggled in the air last season.
A sensible signing if he can rectify an ongoing problem.
ScottT: Yeah, didn't want to spend much this window, all about plugging gaps at the moment!

The Montgomery Files: The Journey So Far

Throughout the story, I will be breaking up the usual news article, match reports and monthly reports with The Montgomery Files. These will be in the first person from the perspective of Merthyr Town manager Hugo Montgomery, and will be about his personal life, inner dealings at the club, fond memories, and everything in between.

It’s been five years since I took over at Merthyr Town, and they’ve been the best five years of my life. I’m still only 29, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of good years ahead.

Born in Bangor, but raised in Wollongong in Australia, I was once a promising youth footballer with the Central Coast Mariners and then Cardiff City before a devastating knee injury cut my career short aged just 20. I decided to stick things out in Wales, working full-time at a call centre to support myself while I collected my FA coaching badges. Aged 21, I got my first club role, working with the Cardiff academy side as a coach.

My good work was noted by several Welsh clubs, and I wanted to work with a senior side, so I secured a move back to my home town with Bangor City FC, in the Welsh Premier League. There, I was an assistant manager, working closely with Kevin Nicholson, and the club played well on the pitch, finishing second in my first season there. But off the pitch, they were a shambles, and were relegated to the second tier for financial reasons. I decided to wind up my time at the club, but I left with glowing references, and walked back into my academy job with Cardiff.

For the next two years, I worked closely with some of the best Welsh talent in the country, including Cameron Coxe, Sam Bowen and Rabbi Matondo. But I always had an eye out for a senior opening, and when Merthyr Town announced they were looking for a manager to take over the club in their first Vanarama North campaign, I jumped at the chance. Despite being young, I presented myself well, I laid out a clear and concise plan for the club, and I had great pedigree both as a staff member and as a promising youngster. I walked out of my interview confident, and a week later, five years ago, I signed my first contract with the mighty Merthyr Town Football Club.

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