Taff's Well v Cardiff City FC
A wonderful article from Wales Online by DOMINIC BOOTH, about the exciting match between Cardiff City FC and Taff's Well this Friday, 14th July, coordinated by Velindre Machu Picchu fundraiser Liam Edwards.
Whilst in France last summer, following the FAW's epic Euro's adventure, Liam bumped into Velindre Patron Rhod Gilbert, who told him all about the fundraising challenge of trekking to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. On his return home to Wales, Liam immediately registered his place and paid his deposit!
"The Bluebirds take on the Welsh League outfit in a unique friendly match on Friday night.
When Cardiff City and Taff's Well meet at the Rhiw'r Ddar stadium on Friday night, an entire community will stand still.
Because while some Bluebirds supporters scoffed at the idea of their millionaire heroes clashing with a local club from the outskirts of Cardiff, for Taff's Well it means so much.
The Welsh League Division One outfit's big day is nearly upon them, and everyone connected with the club has been busy painting, scrubbing and — most importantly — selling tickets in preparation for the game. They're desperate for the Rhiw'r Ddar to look spick and span for the occasion.
The match, which kicks off at 7pm, will signal the official start of Cardiff's pre-season programme before they head on tour to Devon and Cornwall; while Taff's Well have their own campaign to prepare for. But it will also stand alone as a memorable day for the community club in its own right.
Taff's Well chairman Liam Edwards revealed how the unique game was first mooted — after a shock encounter with Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock, who was keen for his Championship heavyweights to connect with a grassroots club.
For Warnock, who regularly visits supporters' groups and working men's clubs in the Cardiff and Valleys areas, it was important to showcase his stars at a place like Taff's Well this summer, his first full pre-season since taking over at Cardiff. Important because that's how the Yorkshireman believes football clubs should be, no matter what their size or spending power.
"It was so surprising when Neil Warnock knocked on our clubhouse door with his driver — who is from the Taff's Well area — and said he wanted to play against a local grassroots side and get the community involved," recalled Edwards.
"He's since been back to check out the pitch and it should be a great occasion.
"I think around 2,200 tickets have been sold so far and we're expecting it to reach the ground's capacity which is 2,900. I don't remember a figure like that in 13 years with the club. I think the biggest I've known was 1,200 when we played Lee Trundle's Llanelli Town last season."
Who exactly are the five little-known teams Cardiff City will play on their pre-season tour and how good are they?
A large chunk of those supporters will be Bluebirds' fans, who Edwards is hoping might develop a soft spot for the Wellmen going forward.
Taff's Well's average attendance is nothing like the near-3,000 figure that will attend on Friday night, so the occasion is just about the biggest in the club's recent history.
And Edwards maintains the Wellmen players are fit and raring to go. They're eager to match the Bluebirds superstars stride for stride and shine on the big stage.
Warnock has named a stellar squad which includes Sol Bamba, Aron Guunnarsson and Kenneth Zohore, but Edwards believes a competitive 90 minutes lies ahead.
"I think it's going to be a good game, to be honest," he added. "We're a Welsh League Division One side but we're very fit.
"We played Cardiff Met (a Welsh Premier League team) last Saturday and drew 2-2. They had about 30 players coming on and off but our 15 lads kept plodding on.
"We are just excited about it, it will be a great day and a great fundraiser for the club and for Velindre and Cancer Research.
"It's just unbelievable, it's a bit daunting to be honest. But from the time Neil came and approached us, Cardiff City have been great. Neil has been brilliant, he promised us he'd play a strong squad and it looks like all the big names will feature.
"But we've been busy working hard on the pitch, putting emergency gates in place and Cardiff City are helping with the stewarding."
The support from Warnock's men has been critical to ensuring the game goes ahead and runs smoothly. Taff's Well have little experience hosting a game of this magnitude but with the gate receipts to be split between the Wellmen, Velindre Cancer Centre and Cancer Research Wales, the Bluebirds will be contributing to a major community and charity event.
It's all thanks to Warnock, and everything is now in place for a truly fantastic Friday night with the Bluebirds manager hoping for the kind of competitive game Edwards has promised.
"We're just a Welsh League club but with the big numbers attending it's a big opportunity for the whole club," he added.
"Hopefully we'll get more support coming to watch us regularly after this game."
Posted by Mike Locke on
11 July 2017 at 12:00 AM
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