Abergavenny Thursdays's club badge

Abergavenny Thursdays

Early records show that football in the market town of Abergavenny started during the 1890s. The first side was called Abergavenny Rangers. It was after the turn of the century that the club became known as Abergavenny Rangers Thursdays before becoming Abergavenny Thursdays Football Club in 1908. Below is one of the earliest pictures taken outside a local town premise, can you name the building?

It appears that early Thursdays teams played at Bailey Park before moving to Pen-y-Pound sometime during the 1930s.

Stadium development including building a 250 seat stand and club house were to achieved by the first management committee led by local businessman Vince Sullivan.

Abergavenny Thursdays AFC winners of the Hereford Thursday League for two consecutive seasons. We think this pictured was taken at Edgar Street. Some would say the ground hasn't changed much since those early days.

The first Management Committee with Vince Sullivan (fourth from the right) as they proudly open the new changing rooms. Note the half hidden 'Players and Officials Only' sign.

Abergavenny Thursdays AFC team from the late 1940s early 1950s which includes Tommy Bolter (far right) and Thursdays stalwart Harold Warren (top row third left). Harold's son Ray is a former player and manager to the successful side in the early 1990s.

Abergavenny Thursdays AFC finally arrive as they are crowned
Welsh League Champions for the first time in 1959. See if you
can spot the fresh faced duo of Kenny Neil and Danny McCarthy. You can just about pick out the small perimeter fence and flagpole, which surround the changing rooms. Board meetings were held in the small boardroom on the far left of the changing room pavilion. By the time this picture was taken Thursdays traditional team colours of Green (Home) and White (Away) were well established.

Thursdays also had a Ladies Team (see below) and a cricket team.

Alan Lamberton side of 1975-76 were Welsh League Division Two Champions. A solid defence with a creative midfield led by captain Ray Warren. Tony Powell and Chris Davies provided the width for Graham Powell to score a steady stream of goals up front. Stan Lang secretary for many years at the leading edge of dress (far right standing). What was that goalkeepers name?

Mel Davies deserves a special mention for his service to the Thursdays as player/manager. He produced a number of sides during his long spell at the club. He was a manager not afraid to get his point of view over to his players. His sides were always fit and ready for the challenge.

This picture (bottom left) includes an interesting choice of haircuts. David Winters and Leighton Matthews are now established regulars with the emergence of a new generation including Phil Hemmings and John Williams. Who is that person with the curly perm?

As a former player Stan Carpenter had a brief spell as manager of the first team. His short spell in charge (one year only) saw some interesting new approaches to training.

Ron Walton was given his first opportunity in management by the Thursdays, he later went on to join the coaching staff at Swansea City and now scouts for WBA. Ron always brought all the family down from Merthyr on match day. A real character and one of the boys in the bar afterwards. His son 'sparky' went on to play for Norwich City in an FA Cup semi-final. Can you name the two players from Merthyr that Ron brought with him?

Gareth Povey was to succeed Ron Walton as manager of the Thursdays following a serious on-field accident that brought his illustrious Thursdays career to a premature end. This Welsh League team picture is the only one that includes both brothers Kenny and Colin Jones. It also includes John Williams, Kyle Holmes and Mark Heffernan who all enjoyed short spells at Merthyr.

Traditionally, the Thursdays always had a policy of developing local players through there strong under 18s set up. Here we see probably the best ever under 18s team captained by Dicky Merchant and managed by Brian Jones' father. They went on to win the Welsh Youth Cup 1-0 against Hawarden Rangers at Caersws. Many of this side went on to represent the Thursdays at senior level.

Missing team picture is the very successful side from the early 1990s. Manager Ray warren and coach John Lewis led the club to consecutive titles. This side was based on a solid defence, with Dix and Pengelly providing the ammunition for the prolific striking partnership of Steve Woods and Simon Tyler to provide the goals.

Successive Welsh League championships in the two seasons leading up to the formation of the League of Wales in 1992, ensured Abergavenny's participation in the inaugural season of the country's new national league, but there the problems began. A repeat of the 1992 success in the first season of the League of Wales would have meant a place in the European Cup and possibly the likes of the Juventus team bus having to find the cosy Pen-y-Pound stadium.

Before a ball was kicked in 1992/93, the FAW requested that the club put up a bond as surety that their floodlights would be erected in time for the commencement of the League Cup competition. Thursdays supplied the bond to the detriment of the club's resources. Unfortunately, the uncertainty as to whether the club would be competing in the League of Wales led to the loss of many players and the team manager.

Kyle Holmes was appointed player/manager and Abergavenny Thursdays started the new campaign on time, though losing 1-0 at home to Bangor City in their first match. When the first victory of the season arrived, it triggered off a run of eight undefeated matches during which Thursdays accrued eighteen points. Sadly, afterwards only seven further points were gained from 22 matches and relegation began to look increasingly likely, but it only became a certainty after two other teams staged eleventh hour revivals of their own.

The problems encountered in the summer of 1992 put an end to any hopes the club had of establishing itself at the highest level. Losing their best players to other League of Wales sides severely weakened Thursday's playing resources and, despite the efforts of those who featured in the 1992/93 campaign, relegation back to the Welsh League was confirmed.

The ten succeeding seasons were not kind to Abergavenny as the club slipped through all three divisions of the Welsh League into the George Ford Gwent County League Third Division. A brief respite in 1994/95 saw Thursdays finish as high as fourth in the Welsh League Division One before a further exodus of quality players led to a dreadful season in 1997/98 when they secured only three points and conceded an astonishing 210 goals in thirty six league fixtures. Relegated to Division Three in 2000 things went from bad to worse as Thursdays continued to plummet into the Gwent County League First Division and right through that trap door too, after just one season. In the course of five seasons, Abergavenny Thursdays suffered four relegations and conceded 675 league goals.

So today, we find ourselves in the Gwent County League Third Division.

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