Founded: 1935

Ground: Ty-Isaf Park, Risca

Nickname: Black & Whites

Manager: Gareth Wilmott

by Jordan Forster

WHEN Panteg AFC were confirmed as members of the new FAW tier three leagues, the club tweeted it was the outcome of a decade of hard work to get the club where it is today.

Although Panteg may not be the most glamorous name on the south Wales football circuit, the club’s history is deep. The Black & Whites were originally the works team of the RTB Panteg Steel Works and competed in the Welsh League between 1948 and 1999 until relegation to Gwent County League.

After over a decade in Gwent County football, Panteg earned promotion back to the Welsh League in 2014, under the stewardship of Mark Taylor, where The Black & Whites have been a steady force ever since.

During their original stint in the Welsh League (playing as RTB Panteg) the Black & Whites spent over twenty years in the basement before earning their first promotion as runners-up of Division Two.

They remained in the Welsh League top flight for six seasons - with a fourth placed finish in 1973 still the club’s best ever - before dropping back into the second division in 1974.

The club’s next best period came in the 1980s, winning promotion to the top flight (branded “Premier Division” by then) in 1987. The Black & Whites remained at this level for four years but were relegated in the final season before the formation of the League of Wales, so Panteg began life in the new national pyramid in 1992 in tier three.

The club wouldn’t reach their former heights again and a steady decline in the 1990s ended with that end of the century relegation.

The Black & Whites’ fortunes began to change around 2008 following relegation to Gwent County League Division Two where they found more competitive form, finishing in the top three on three occasions before eventually earning promotion at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Two years later Panteg ended their 15-year exile from the Welsh League with promotion after finishing runners-up in Gwent County League Division One.

During this period a famous football name 'D. Gabbidon' was almost ubiquitous on the Panteg team-sheet.

This was David, brother of former Wales international Danny, who played for The Black & Whites for 23 years before retiring in 2017. Gabbidon remains the club's record holder for appearances, having donned the Panteg shirt 696 times.

For Panteg the challenge to stay in tier three has been off the field as well as on it.

Their spiritual home at Panteg Sportsground was always going to struggle to tick off every necessity on the FAW Tier Three Ground Certification with rumours of the pitch needing to be re-aligned and concerns over emergency and disabled access. As a workaround, for the 2020/21 season the Black & Whites will play their home matches at Ty Isaf Park in Risca; 12 miles away from their Pontypool-area base.

Club mainstay Mark Taylor also left his position in the first team management last season, although he remains a key figure behind the scenes. For the 2020/21 season, Panteg will be led from the dugout by former Croesyceiliog manager Gareth Wilmott.