Saturday 7th September 2019 ko 12.00
CAERAU (ELY) 2 (Lyon 33 Outlaw 49)
Lyon sent off 69 (Serious foul play)
LLANELLI TOWN 3 (Parker 28 Hurlford 57 90)
Programme, online only
Many years ago it was the Thursday before the Welsh Hop and a few of us had congregated at the event’s base in Treforest. A South Wales Amateur League game at Caerau near Maesteg was our destination and we’d lined up programmes and a meal in the clubhouse after the game. But know-it-all Jim was impatient and wanted to leave early, so we checked he knew where he was going. “Yes, near Cardiff” he replied as he made to drive away. To this day I wonder if we hadn’t yelled at him to stop when he would have realised?
For the avoidance of doubt back then Jim was nearly headed to Cwrt-yr-Ala in the west of Cardiff, and the daft side of this story is that I hadn’t paid the place visit then, and haven’t since those days over a decade ago.
Times change and now Welsh club Football has the brave new world of a new second tier, based around the top clubs in the Welsh, Mid-Wales and Cymru Alliance leagues. In a similar vein to the lower tier of the National League in England it’s split geographically North and South, with the clear aim of providing a better feeder system to the Welsh Premier League, now restyled the Cymru Premier.
As such there’s new branding, a new website (eventually) and even electronic substitution boards. It didn’t sit too easily with no pay booth and dogs on the pitch but Cwrt-Yr-Ala is fine ground and I expect the gritty but homely side that has always attracted me to football in South Wales will learn how to live with the glossy veneer being imposed on it from above. The programme however was a real curiosity.
The online-only programme has slowly grown in popularity over the last couple of years, and from a club’s perspective you can see why. If a printed programme is losing a club money then why persist on printing one? Personally I see no issue (no pun intended!) with simply putting a downloadable PDF on the website- if you want to print it out then you can- at your own expense! Here though the method was to download an app on your mobile phone, then read the programme through that, and no possibility of actually downloading it.
Is it really worth the effort, both in terms of producing the thing, and actually reading it? I’ve deleted the App, and wouldn’t it have been so much easier for all concerned to have just had a basic team sheet available? Or, simply not bothering altogether, the programme isn’t essential is it?
But once you worked through the incidentals this was a superb advert for both the new league and for Caerau (Ely). They’ll wonder how on earth they lost this, maybe Llanelli had that little more know-how and let’s face it, sides bottom of the table are those that concede last minute winners, especially when a man short for the last 20 minutes.
All credit to Caerau for trying an early kick-off, and for offering ticket holders from the Wales game the previous evening a discount- hopefully it helped get a few more into the ground. It attracted me and judging by the group of German hoppers at the near goal I wasn’t the only one to have spotted the possibility of a Welsh double.
It was a superb game at a wonderful ground, but as I blasted out of the car park headed for the other side of Cardiff, I’d couldn’t work out what was missing here. A few weeks’ later that’s still the case.