With the break from regular football continuing and with no details on when the new season might begin, Brandon Arthur looks back on a much revered away day following Port Talbot Talbot. Joining him as The Fans Who Were There are Craig Mapstone, Dylan Llywelyn Edwards and Liam Griffiths as they look back on this victory.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind about Llanelli 0-1 PTT?
“An instant smile,” says Brandon. “It was my first real away day with Port Talbot Town and the 1901 and it couldn’t have gone much better really. A perfect day. I’d done TNS away a month earlier and that was a 5-0 drubbing, so I like to forget that and consider this my first ‘proper’ away game with the Port.”
Dylan echoes the sentiments, remembering “just utter delirium and one of my fondest and most memorable memories of PTT away.”
“A last minute winner in front of the cameras,” recalls Craig. “It was also the start of longstanding relationship between PTT and Barry Town United.”
For Griff, “the memory that instantly springs to mind was seeing a steward attempt to wrestle Nigel’s megaphone off him and failing miserably. “I am under strict instructions to confiscate the object by the Llanelli first team manager!” he barked in vain as Nigel continued to act as the town crier leading the boys in song. It turned out this appeared to be the final straw for the poor bloke as he ripped off his high-vis and left on the spot. Only when PTT are in town I guess!
How good were the pre-match shenanigans in town?
“So it turns out the town has one of the most charming sports bars around,” Griff continues. “They were more than happy to accommodate us until kick off and I don’t they had hosted many chanting away fans before, especially football away fans. It was here that we got to see Benji do his magic tricks with a lighter, but I won’t go into that. I’m sure he would be happy to show all at the clubhouse some time.”
“That sports bar was a dream,” Brandon remembers. I was too young to drink at that point but I was definitely inebriated in the enthusiasm of the boys. It was a party atmosphere and seeing Benj play with a lighter on himself was certainly an interesting introduction to PTT away days.”
Dylan simply recalls that “the pre-match shenanigans were exactly that”, whilst Craig remembers it being “the first time I think I had hit the bars down Llanelli way. The pub crawl was pretty decent and very lively. I think we might have picked up a few new fans along the way as well!”
What do you remember about the train trip?
“Singing PTT songs the length of the journey to onlookers who had never heard of us” recalls Dylan. “A group of thirty idiots on the train ruining people’s shopping trips with the conductor leading the pack!”
“My main mode of transport then and continues to be by train and I can’t really recall a better journey to be honest,” Brandon says. “Taking up half a carriage and having a load of strange looks was great fun!”
Unfortunately for Griff, “I had to drive up that day as I had some family gathering I had to rush back for. I can’t remember what it was for love nor money!”
Craig recalls a particular incident on the journey home: “I don’t want to mention any names, but didn’t somebody jump down on the tracks to retrieve a match programme after the match? Gold dust those things must be!”
Anything you can remember about the match itself?
“PTT were battered,” Dylan states emphatically.
“I have to agree there!” Brandon says fondly. “We were knocked all over the park and I was counting down the clock to run away with a point, but then we stole all three! They missed a penalty, struck the woodwork and David Burnett had a blinder. But ultimately, things don’t get much better than a last minute winner.”
“One of my favourite club moments occurred during the game,” Griff remembers. “But funnily enough it didn’t happen on the pitch. A half-cut Benji commandeered the megaphone and started instructing the PTT bench to stand up and wave their hands about. A grand total of zero members of the substitutes and coaching staff obliged, in perhaps the only time silence stood at a PTT game.”
It’s a similar story for Craig, as “per usual, very little to be honest of what occurred on the field. That last minute winner sticks out though and the celebrations that ensued following the late Dan Thomas strike.”
And just how good was that last minute winner?
“The celebrations stood out,” Craig continues. “I think two of the boys did the 100-meter dash on the track to catch up with some of the players. I think the word the kids use is ‘scenes’.”
“It was so good that I completely rolled my ankle jumping down those terraces!” Brandon remembers. “It was a very severe sprain and it’s fair to say that my ankle was like a balloon the next morning. A few days later I was limping into Anfield, but the pain was well worth the sheer bedlam on the terraces that day. One of my fondest memories.”
“Well, it served me right for trying to sneak off in the ninetieth minute to beat the rush home,” says Griff. “As I was heading to beat the traffic, the place erupted. Darting back in to find the boys bouncing around in jubilation at the late winner was enough of a reminder to never leave a game early.”
For Dylan, “that last minute Daniel Thomas tap-in after a Jeff White strike to win the game will live with me forever. It was utter pandemonium within the PTT faithful at Stebo.”
How much fun was it on the terraces that day?
“Oh man, so much fun!” remembers Brandon. “The megaphone was a highlight and hearing that throughout the Sgorio highlights always brings a smile to my face. The layout of the terraces worked well, and it was just ninety minutes of non-stop noise. The incident where the steward just gave up controlling us was a real highlight too, not that we were doing anything wrong. It was also quite strange to get a picture through a few days later of me being on the front page of a local Barry newspaper for holding up the banner supporting them.”
For Dylan, simply “on the terraces that day was enjoyable.”
Craig recalls it being “quite funny that they segregated us upon entry into the ground down by that open terrace. It was very unusual to enforce that in the Welsh pyramid but there were no real issues. We sprayed up two banners as well for the camera which read ‘Stand Up For Barry Town… And Llanelli Too’ following the recent issues they were experiencing off the field. I think the show of solidarity went down well, especially amongst our brothers up Barry way. We’ve been going back and fore ever since.”
“The aforementioned megaphone was the novelty of the day,” Griff says. “God knows what happened to it afterwards! If I remember, half of the home fans were begging us for a go for the duration of the match. They never had a chance mind; I don’t think we would have had it back!”
What was that interaction like with the home fans?
“I think the majority of them enjoyed having us,” Griff continues. “There were a few digs aimed at us but most of it was in good spirits. They were surprisingly vocal which I think made the boys raise our game by raising our voices.”
Dylan remembers similar events, “the to’ing and fro’ing between the Stebo faithful and the PTT 1901 was good natured” and Brandon also remembers them as “a very good bunch. They came and shook our hands after the match in response to our support which is always nice to get recognition for. I also remember them loving the megaphone and helping that steward give up!”
“We had this loud megaphone which the Llanelli supporters borrowed to critique the way Andy Legg had set the home side up,” Craig recalls differently to Griff. “The stewards came around to try and remove it from us and the home fans told them where to go. There were lots of handshakes post-match. They’re proper supporters down Stebo and they have my full respect.”
How much of an impact did the television cameras have on the game?
“The banter with the live S4C cameras, in particular John Hartson, was a specific highlight,” says Dylan.
“I remember John Hartson coming over by us at half time and complementing the support,” recalls Brandon. “For a Welsh legend like that to give us praise was more than enough of a reward. It just added to a fine day. It was also nice for my grandparents to watch the game and try and spot me on the camera despite being on the hard-camera side.”
Craig adds that “you’d like to think the TV crews adds a little something both on and off the field. It’s another reason to give a little more effort on the day.”
Griff echoes that statement: “Without speaking on the players’ behalf, it certainly inspired the boys on the terraces! Whenever S4C were about, we always made sure to let them know we were in town. When you watch back the highlights you can clearly hear the atmosphere through the screen. It was amazing to be able to set the Sky box to record on Saturday mornings and be able to come home and re-watch the WPL game you’d just been too. Those were the days.”
Anything fun to share post match in the clubhouse or beyond?
“It was still very much a party atmosphere post-match,” says Brandon. “I think a lot of the boys were staying to catch Man City versus Swansea, but I just remember us taking over their clubhouse and cheering all of our players as they walked in. I also remember being confused when our fans started singing the Martin Rose song despite being an opposition player. Of course, this was my first couple of months following PTT and when he re-joined the Blues in the following January, I soon realised his cult hero status. Also, having Andy Legg congratulating our support and ridiculing the suggestion that he wanted the megaphone confiscated was the icing on the cake!”
Dylan also remembers the post-match chanting, “Even though he broke my heart by leaving PTT, Martin Rose has probably the most memorable player song, so we started singing it despite him being a Llanelli player. It was met with dismay by the Llanelli supporters and staff, but he is a club legend.”
“Sadly not,” Griff recalls. “I was halfway down the M4 as the players were getting clapped off. That bloody family function! I guess it’s just a bit of a shame that we missed out on playing Llanelli for a few seasons after this due to their demotion. It would have been great to head back to that sports bar!”
“Man, I think that was about it really,” Craig states fondly. “It was such a good day out and I’m already looking forward to the trip in the 2020/21 JD Cymru South season, providing it goes ahead!”
Check out the match highlights: