Merthyr Tydfil FC is a Welsh football team from Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan. For historical reasons the team play in the English football league system rather than in the leagues of their own country and they currently play in the Southern League. They play their home matches at Penydarren Park, and play in black and white.
They are unrelated to the town's previous football club, Merthyr Town, who played in The Football League during the 1920s, but folded in 1934.
In the 1945/6 season, Merthyr Tydfil were runners-up in the Welsh League, and joined the Southern League. The club were immensely successful in their first few seasons, winning the championship in 1948, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1954. In the 1947/8 championship winning season, at home, Merthyr only dropped one point against Colchester United and only lost four games all season. However, despite their success, the club failed to be elected to the Football League. The 1950/1 season ended with Merthyr winning the Southern League, the Welsh Cup, the Southern League Cup and the Welsh Challenge Cup.
After bouncing between the various Southern League divisions during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the club finally won their sixth championship in 1989, making them joint Southern League title record-holders together with Southampton. This time, winning the championship meant promotion to the Football Conference, the fifth level of English football. The club did quite well, finishing 9th in their first two seasons, and then 4th. However, the club went into decline, and were relegated back to the Southern League in 1995, and have remained there since. They should have been relegated a season earlier, but were reprieved when Northern Premier League champions Marine failed to meet the stadium criteria for the league.
Being a Welsh club playing in an English League, Merthyr Tydfil were able to play in both the FA Cup, and the Welsh Cup until the Welsh FA stopped the Welsh clubs in the English pyramid from entering.
The club's best FA Cup performance has been to reach the 2nd round, which they managed in 1946/7 (losing 3-1 to Reading), 1954/5 (losing 7-1 to Bradford City), 1973/4 (losing 3-0 to Hendon), 1979/80 (losing 3-1 in a replay with Chesham United) and 1990/1 (losing 5-1 to Woking). The only time the club managed to actually beat a Football League club in the FA Cup was in the first round of the 1946/7 cup, when they beat Bristol Rovers 3-1.
The club were considerably more successful in the Welsh Cup, which they have won on three occasions; 1949 (beating Swansea City 2-0), 1951 (beating Cardiff City 3-2 in a replay) and 1987 (beating Newport County 1-0 in a replay). In addition, the club finished as runners-up in 1947, 1952 and 1987.
After winning the final in 1987, the club were allowed to enter the European Cup Winners' Cup. In the first round, they were drawn against the Italian club Atalanta. The club managed a sensational win in the first leg at home, beating the Italians 2-1. However, the return leg was lost 2-0, and the club were out.
Currently, the club's biggest rivals are Gloucester City. The two clubs have played over 120 times in their history, making it the most played Anglo-Welsh derby in football.
- Record Attendance: 21,000 vs. Reading, FA Cup 2nd Round 1949
- Best league pyramid position: 4th in Football Conference, 1991/92
- Most goals scored in a League Season: 187 in the Welsh League, 1945/46
- Least goals conceded in a League Season: 32 in the Southern League Western Division, 2002/03