Trethomas Bluebirds

Formed: 1903

Ground: Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach

Manager: Mark Dunford

Nickname: Bluebirds

By Jordan Forster

According to local accounts, in the 1903 workers at the Bedwas Colliery purchased land in the nearby village Trethomas as a field for recreation, including organised sport.

This legend is obscured by the fact the Bedwas Colliery was sunk in 1909 and did not open for production until 1913.

Whatever the origins, the Llanfabon Drive Playing Field probably served as the home of Trethomas Bluebirds for around 100 years (or more). However, the club’s future lays away from their “home patch” and six miles outside the village because of ground criteria at the highest levels of Welsh football.

Records for the club - like many who have plied their trade solely in the southern Welsh leagues - is patchy. Club legend states “Bluebirds” was adopted by club members as a tribute to Cardiff City, but the origins of this are uncertain.

Historic league tables show a Trethomas club played in the Welsh League during the 1930s and also in the immediate years after the Second World War. Welsh League tables between 1945 and 1948 include the Trethomas club and given the Bluebirds trace their origins to 1903, it is probably the same club.

Having dropped out of the Welsh League at the end of the 1947/48 season, Trethomas do not appear in available records until 2000 when final standings from the Gwent County League emerge and show Trethomas playing in the league’s second division.

The Bluebirds were relegated to Gwent County division three in 2002/3, rebuilding and earning promotion as division three champions three years later. The next promotion arrived in 2012/13 as Trethomas finished runners-up in Gwent County division two. In 2015/16 Trethomas took the next step, returning to the Welsh League after a 68 year absence when they were Gwent County League champions.

However, promotion to the national leagues came at a cost. In order to meet the Welsh League ground criteria, Trethomas moved away from their historic home ground to nearby Bedwas Rugby Club. After a couple of seasons sharing the rugby ground, Trethomas moved again. This time up the Rhymney Valley to the Centre of Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach, where the modern facilities have allowed the club to retain its ambition of climbing the leagues.

Having established themselves in the Welsh League, Trethomas have developed into a side that has been pushing for promotion to the next level for several years.

The last seven campaigns have seen improvement every year in terms of final league position and last season’s 3rd place finish (on the points per game method) was the club’s best this century since the formation of the national pyramid.

Although there are some strong teams in tier three south east from last season’s Welsh League division one, many observers will be looking at Trethomas as contenders and certainly the most likely of the south eastern clubs from last season’s Welsh League division two to challenge expected big hitters like Caldicot Town and Goytre.