Port Talbot Town FC has apologised to fans after it was relegated to the first division. The relegation is the result of a Football Association of Wales (FAW) ruling not to renew the club’s premiership licence. Though the team’s performance had kept them out of the relegation zone, a club spokesman has now confirmed to the Magnet that financial difficulties are at the heart of the FAW decision.
The club has already faced an FAW investigation into match fixing or “irregular betting activity”, following a 5-0 defeat to Rhyl in April, who were on a 16-match losing streak at the time.
Port Talbot Town has released a statement saying it had a “zero-tolerance” approach to match-fixing and would co-operate with the investigation.
The spokesman confirmed the club has now been cleared of the allegations and the investigation closed, but said the FAW continues to investigate individual players.
It is not clear whether the timing of the ruling and the club’s financial current financial woes are related to the match-fixing allegations, but the FAW decision came just a week after the investigation was announced.
Following the rejection of their premiership licence appeal, the club released a statement, which said: “Port Talbot Town Football Club have learnt of the outcome of their appeal against the rejection of an FAW Domestic License that would allow the first-team to play in the Welsh Premier League for the 2016/17 campaign. The club are saddened by the news and would like to apologise to all supporters of the club.”
The decision has also prompted a change of coach at the club. Andy Dyer secured a run of wins in the latter stages of the season, but departed the blues on 24 April. The club said he would be “sorely missed”. Ray Pennock, Gary Elsey and Carl Fitzgerald came with Dyer to Victoria Road and they too will leave their posts.
Dyer reiterated the club’s ordeal by stating, “The last year, where do I start, it has been pure frustration to put it honestly”. What’s more, Dyer has experience of the league below and issued words of warning. He said, “I’ve won Division One, and from experience I know it’s not easy, it will be a really tough challenge”.
His replacement, Paul Evans, has plenty of experience having managed Afan Lido and Tata Steel and is a well equipped replacement for the Steelmen who will be hoping for a turn in fortunes on the field and off it.