The football team shows up at the founder’s tearful house to celebrate the moments after the game he was too sick to attend

From time to time, we are reminded of the power of sport and how it unites our communities across the country. A Bridgend football club has managed to sum this up better than anyone with their award-winning celebrations.

For every Liverpool, who won the FA Cup final on Saturday, there were thousands of Cefn Cribwr FC across the country, bursting the bubbles after winning promotion they had struggled for all season. There is a very poignant reason, however, why this celebratory video has gone viral.

After the 4-2 triumph over Blaenrhondda on Saturday, a victory that gave Cefn Cribwr a place in the third tier of the Welsh football pyramid, champagne corks were popped and jubilant celebrations ensued at their base in Cae Goof. But there was one very notable absentee.

Club icon Gary Davies, 79, who founded Cefn Cribwr FC in 1976, has been unable to attend any games this season, the first time he has. Usually ubiquitous, Mr Davies was largely confined to his home due to arthritis and underwent hip replacement surgery.

Given that Mr Davies is the heart of the club, players and staff felt it was right for them to head to his still fully-equipped home in the royal blue strip of Cefn Cribwr. His wife, Sandra, opened the door to the chorus of “we go up, say we go up!” and “We love you Gary, we love you!”

Mr Davies and his wife were clearly taken aback by such a gesture and it clearly struck a chord with the thousands of people who saw the viral video over the weekend as well. “It was a wonderful time,” Mr Davies said. “I was over the moon, surprised and a little in tears.”



Cefn Cribwr FC celebrated by taking their promotion party to the front door of their founder and club icon, Gary Davies

“Gary was a first-team manager, second-team manager, secretary, he did everything at the club,” first-team boss Scott Dryden told WalesOnline. “You talk to anybody there and say ‘Gary Davies’, they say ‘Cefn Cribwr Boys Club’. He’s that kind of character, the character that every club should have. He’s the leader, the one who installed real values ​​in the club.

“He made sure we remained an amateur club. Although we’ve been in the top division of the South Wales Alliance League, many clubs in that league pay players. My boys pay £6 a week to play football .the story all the more remarkable as we had three promotions in six years, going up the Alliance League pyramid and we finally achieved our goal, entering the Welsh league or what are now the Ardal leagues and we are now in the South West Division for next season.”



Cefn Cribwr FC players celebrate after beating Blaenrhondda 4-2 to seal promotion

It’s clearly an emotional moment for the club stalwart, given that the club he founded have just achieved their highest ever league position thanks to victory over Blaenrhondda at the weekend. The club were blown away by the reaction but, according to the manager, Mr Davies deserves all the recognition he is getting after decades of hard work.

“Gary is in poor health, he’s had a hip replacement in the last six months, so at his age it’s hard for him to get over it,” added Dryden, 50. “He hasn’t watched a game this season, it’s the first season he’s never seen a game at Cae Gof.

“A lot of guys don’t really know him either, the guys who came this season, but they embraced the ethos that he put in the club. We just thought it was right to go further, in our kit, a few bottles of champagne, at Gary’s and go celebrate with him!

“It was very emotional. The first person at the door was his wife, Sandra, who obviously has been with him for years, they’ve been married for 55 years or whatever. Sandra is an integral part of Cefn Cribwr, as is Gary, she was also on the ride.

“It was very emotional, you can see that with Sandra. And Gary also put some books behind the bar for the boys afterwards. He’s a legend, he really is. Cefn Cribwr, it flows in his blood, it really does.”

It’s been a rollercoaster end to the season for the Bridgend County club. They had been in the top two for 27 of the 30 weeks of the season, but with three games to go they found themselves with four points after Canton Liberal FC usurped them in the standings. Nothing less than a win would do on the final day, having blown a one-goal lead in the final five minutes against Merthyr Saints FC the previous week to lose 2-1.

And, 10 minutes into the second half against Blaenrhondda on Saturday, it looked like the dream was coming to an end when they found themselves trailing 2-1 to Rhondda’s side. But thanks to a hat-trick from 18-year-old Aaron Weaver, their team’s youngest player, and a goal from Matthew Symons, Cefn Cribwr took the win and the celebrations really began in earnest.



Cefn Cribwr FC players celebrate on the pitch

Now, however, the real work begins, according to Dryden. They will have to share the ground with Cambrian and Clydach Vale BGC as Cae Gof is not deemed suitable for Ardal leagues.

“We have a lot of work as a club over the next 12 months,” he added. “We have to find finance to do our land, which we are in the process of doing. We have a transfer of assets with Bridgend County Borough Council, so we will also be taking over the pavilion. So we have a he se A lot is going on as a club and promotion is the icing on the cake.”

What would really top it off, however, is if Mr Davies recovers enough to see his beloved Cefn Cribwr play in the Ardal League South West. Because after all, this club would literally be nothing without him.

“100%,” replied Dryden. “Absolutely. It’s a short hike, it’s not around the corner, we have to get to Cambrian in Clydach Vale, it’s a good 20 minutes or half an hour for us. It’s more likely that he will see some of our away games which will be closer to Cae Gof than what Cambrian is.

“We want to return to Cae Gof as an Ardal South West team playing with Cefn Cribwr which will be absolutely amazing.”

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