South East Wales

Stereophonics' Christmas gift for Cwmaman Institute FC

Cwmaman Institute FC. Pic: Shaun Rees
Image caption Cwmaman Institute FC has links with its home town rock band

A village football club is to benefit from a seasonal gift from local heroes, the rock band Stereophonics.

Cwmaman Institute FC, of Welsh Football League Division 1, will receive an undisclosed percentage of the proceeds from the band's pre-Christmas gigs.

President Howard Davies said the Cynon Valley club approached singer and former junior player Kelly Jones for a contribution towards running costs.

Mr Davies said the donation would do "an invaluable amount for the club".

"We approached Kelly due to the fact that we are living in a Communities First area, a deprived area, and asked him whether he could help us with the escalating costs of providing football in the village at a junior and senior level," said Mr Davies.

"Kelly has kindly agreed to do so. He will be making a financial donation to us towards our costs, transport, and day-to-day running of the football club.

"It's a private figure, but it's of major importance."

The band have been recording a new album in Brussels, and played three festive concerts at the 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

At least two of the three founder members - singer and guitarist Kelly Jones and former drummer Stuart Cable, who died last year - turned out for the club, said Mr Davies.

Image caption Singer Kelly Jones played for club at junior level, said Mr Davies

'Costs'

After Cable's death the club took part in a fundraising match against a Cardiff City XI in his memory.

"Kelly is an ex-player of ours," said Mr Davies. "He played up to junior level. And Stuart Cable played up to senior level.

"We started out in the late 1960s as a local pub side, the Ivy Bush. Kelly's father, known round the village as Oscar, used to play for us, so did Kelly's brothers Kevin and Lee."

The club beat Caerau (Ely) 5-0 in the run-up to Christmas to reach 10th in their 16-team division, but nevertheless Mr Davies said life in the league was proving tough.

"Costs have escalated," he said. "There are clubs in the league which have considerable sponsorship or financial backing and, as a local village side, it's difficult to compete.

"From our position within the league we are only a division away from European football, but in terms of the criteria needed to qualify to play in Europe, in terms of infrastructure, we are a million miles away.

"This donation will give us some leeway to make sure our bills are paid and will go towards the escalating costs of running football teams at all age levels."

Cwmaman Institute FC's ground is built on reclaimed land on the site of an old coal mine, explained Mr Davies, and the money would also help to upgrade the dressing rooms and the players' area.

'Breathing space'

He said the club hoped that Kelly Jones and bassist Richard Jones would be able to come and watch a game over the Christmas period.

"Kelly is a busy man," said Mr Davies. "When he's home he likes to spend time with his family.

"He enjoys the breathing space that he gets here in Cwmaman. He can go for a walk with his daughters and talk to people as if the Stereophonics didn't exist.

"But hopefully we will be able to catch up with both Kelly and Richard some time over Christmas.

"They have always been people who have wanted to put something back into the local community."

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