Aberbargoed Buds

Founded: 1957

Ground: Aberbargoed Recreation Ground

Nickname: The Buds

Joint-Managers: Andrew Hughes & Alyn Jones

By Jordan Forster

Aberbargoed was once infamous for having the largest ever man-made colliery tip in Europe.

The heaving mound of coal slag reached 400m into the Welsh sky in the 1970s, high enough to overlook the surrounding hills.

Nowadays the former tip – having been levelled and regenerated – is the site of a popular and verdant country park. Likewise, football in the small Caerphilly borough town has been renewed, boasting several recent football success stories. The foremost of which being Aberbargoed Buds, whose place in the new FAW tier three league is the result of a community’s collective endeavour.

The Buds (believed to be an abbreviation of Bedwellty Urban District Sides) were founded in 1957 and plugged the gap in the town left when Aberbargoed Town (who briefly competed in the Welsh Football League in the 1930s) folded in the late 1940s.

The ‘Buds’ suffix might indicate the club was formed as an amalgamation of teams and for nearly 50 years the club were largely confined to Monmouthshire and its successor Gwent County League football.

Success at that level for The Buds came mostly in cup competitions, lifting the Gwent Senior Cup and Gwent Amateur Cup on three occasions each. Aberbargoed’s first Gwent County League title came in 1985/86 but promotion to the Welsh League was denied due to a lack of ground facilities.

This hit the club hard and they were close to folding before a reformed Aberbargoed Town agreed to merge with Buds for mutual benefit. It meant a promotion for Town’s players and committee from North Gwent District League football and the influx of players and volunteers enabled Buds to retain their Gwent County League status.

The Buds consolidated through the 1990s before emerging as a real force in Gwent County football in the early 2000s.

They were Gwent County League and Gwent Senior Cup winners in 2002/3 but once again promotion was not possible due to poor infrastructure at their ground. Aberbargoed remained competitive at the top end and secured their third Gwent County League title in 2005/6.

They were not to be denied this time with ground improvements enabling The Buds to restore Welsh League football to the town for the first time in over 70 years.

Since then, Aberbargoed Buds have become a well-established side in the upper echelons of south Wales football. Twice they have been promoted to the Welsh League’s top flight, although both stays were brief. There was also a run to the final of the Welsh Football League Cup in 2010/11.

They have always seemed most at home in tier 3, although the club’s current committee under chairman Mark Giffard have ambitions for the club to reach a higher level and in recent campaigns they have tended to be thereabouts in the promotion race.

Their home is the Aberbargoed Recreation Ground, which has seen extensive development to reach the ground criteria required to play at tier three.

The Buds did briefly move a few miles down the Rhymney Valley to the Centre of Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach to try and fulfil the previous club management committee’s ambitions to bring tier 2 football to the town.

This move was largely unsuccessful on and off the field and having returned ‘home’, in the past few seasons the club have found form again on the field and re-established close links with the local community.

The goals of Scott Armitage have been the main source of threat for The Buds in recent seasons. The former Newport County player is on his day as good as anyone at this level and his quick feet, trickery and eye for goal will no doubt be something all tier 3 south east clubs will be wary of.