Author: Dafydd Jones
Merthyr Town have received a welcomed boost in the form of local producer, actor, writer and radio presenter Jonny Owen.
The man behind the masterpiece of ‘Don’t Take Me Home’, a film documenting Wales’ historic Euro 2016 journey, along with his fiancée and Line of Duty star Vicky McClure, have agreed to sponsor the Martyrs.
The couple’s new production company BYO Films (Build Your Own Films), will feature on the Southern League Premier South club’s shorts for the upcoming season.
Hailing from Merthyr, Jonny Owen expressed that he and his fiancée were both keen to support the club through a financially challenging period.
“During COVID and lockdown, I was speaking to the club,” he revealed. “A really good friend of mine called Mark Evans, who is the Vice Chairman there and works for the FAW, he’s Head of International Affairs there and a few other friends all joined the board there as they’re fan-owned.
“Because the season was suspended, it’s difficult for a club like Merthyr because there’s no income coming in. I was just talking about ways I can help and speaking to people who were looking for sponsorship.
“I thought I should lead by example and offer some sponsorship myself personally. I spoke to Vicky about it and we’ve obviously got a production company just started up called BYO Films and we thought we’d offer some sponsorship.
“They told us what was available, the shirt had gone, but the shorts were available, so we decided to sponsor the shorts. In doing so, we pick up a nice bit of publicity for the club as well, which is great.”
This is the second boost to the town’s sport, following Peter Thomas’ investment in the local rugby club, Merthyr RFC.
The town has a rich vein of sporting history and is one that Jonny Owen expressed is close to his heart, having grown up watching the Martyrs.
“I’m a Merthyr boy, born and bread. It’s a football town and has a very famous non-league club with a long history and tradition.
“When I was in my teens, they were one of the best clubs in non-league. They won the Welsh Cup and had a European adventure, where they played Atalanta and beat them in the European Cup Winners Cup.
“I’ve got a huge connection to them, they were the first team I’d ever been to see. I went to watch them in the FA Cup against Chesham when I was a kid.”
Both Jonny Owen and Vicky McClure have had a great deal of success in their careers, but, despite a busy schedule and wearing a number of hats, are keen to visit Penydarren Park for the upcoming season.
Owen expressed that his love for the club and eagerness to contribute stems from an “inspiring volunteer culture.”
“I’ve always gone to see them when I’ve gone back to Merthyr,” he insisted. Obviously I’ve lived away in London and Nottingham, but whenever I go home, I always look to visit, because I’ve got lifelong friends that are all die-hard fans.
“It’s not just the football club, it’s the social side of it. It’s a real hub for the local community. I’ve got a strong affiliation with the club and I love it.
“They’ve got a strong volunteer culture there. There are lots of people doing it for the love of it. It’s very inspiring. They work really hard just for the love of the club and the town, stuff like that really inspires me personally to try and help in some small way.”