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Gair yng nghlust Gwyn Derfel
Gwyn Derfel: A word in your ear

Saesneg / English

O’r diwedd mae swyddog blaenllaw wedi dangos anfodlonrwydd fformat presennol UGC. Mae cadeirydd clwb Port Talbot, Andrew Edwards, wedi dweud yr hyn mae’r cefnogwyr eisoes wedi bod yn ei ddweud a mwy na dweud ond gwneud hefyd. Mae torfeydd UGC o ganlyniad yn siomedig o isel.

Y weledigaeth i John Deakin oedd cael llai o glybiau er mwyn gwella safonau a thrwy hynny denu mwy o gefnogwyr i weld y gemau. Wrth edrych ar y gynghrair o’r tu allan a gwylio nifer o’r gemau ar ‘Sgorio’ nid yw’n ymddangos imi fod y safonau wedi newid. Yn waeth mae llawer o amheuon gan nifer o chwaraewyr talentog o’r HGA ynglŷn a’u hawydd i chwarae yn UGC o dan y fformat presennol.

Yn sicr ni fu cynnydd yn y torfeydd. Heblaw am y ffaith fod cyflwyno’r fformat newydd wedi cyd daro gyda chyfnod llwyddiannus Bangor byddai cyfartaledd y torfeydd wedi disgyn yn sylweddol. Ar benwythnos 17-19 Chwefror, o beidio cynnwys gm Bangor, gwelir mai cyfartaledd y dorf yn y bum gm arall oedd 239 sef ffigwr na fyddai’n bodloni yr un o’r rhai a alwodd am gynghrair o 12. Cofiwch fod hyn mewn tymor lle mae’r gynghrair wedi cael sylw mawr a gm fyw wythnosol ar rhaglen ardderchog ‘Sgorio’.

Mae llawer o swyddogion clybiau yn rhannu barn Andrew Edwards ond yn gyndyn o siarad allan oherwydd y manteision ariannol sy’n deillio o’r fformat bresennol. Mae’r gacen ariannol yn fwy wrth eu rhannu rhwng ond 12 clwb. Er enghraifft deellir fod pob clwb UGC yn derbyn 21,000 yr un ar gyfer yr academi gan adael clybiau yr HGA, sydd a rhai o’r academau mwyaf llwyddiannus, i godi’r arian i gyd eu hunain.

Tynnu sylw mae Andrew Edwards at yr holl ail adrodd sydd yng ngemau’r gynghrair gyda Port Talbot, ei glwb ef ei hun, yn chwarae’r cymdogion Lido Afan saith o weithiau dros y tymor. Hyn mewn gemau cynghrair a chwpan y gynghrair. Byddant hefyd yn chwarae Caerfyrddin chwech o weithiau! “Dydy hyn ddim yn dda,” meddai Andrew Edwards, “ ac mae’n rhaid gwneud rhywbeth amdano.” Cytuno wnaiff ei reolwr Mark Jones sy’n dweud, “Hurt bost ydy chwarae 7 o gemau yn erbyn Lido Afan a chwech yn erbyn Caerfyrddin. Mae’r cefnogwyr yn mynd i ddiflasu.”

Dyma’r sialens sy’n wynebu Gwyn Derfel, Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol newydd UGC, wrth iddo gamu i sedd John Deakin ddydd Mawrth nesaf. Mae’n rhaid mai edrych ar y fformat yma fydd ei brif flaenoriaeth. Dylai pawb wrth edrych yn l ar y cyffro a grwyd gan y diweddglo rhwng Bangor a TNS llynedd gofio mae damwain ffodus fu hon. Nid yw’n cuddio’r anfodlonrwydd amlwg.

Mae yna anfodlonrwydd hefyd gyda’r ffordd mae’r gemau’n cael eu gwasgaru dros y penwythnos cyfan gyda gemau ar nos Wener, pnawn Sadwrn a’r Sul. Mae angen i swyddogion y Gymdeithas Pl-droed ac UGC gydnabod mae chwaraewyr rhan-amser ydy’r mwyafrif llethol. Hefyd mae angen sylweddoli, er nad yw’r pellter rhwng gogledd a de yn fawr mewn milltiroedd, mae safon y ffyrdd yn golygu fod y teithio yn gostus ac yn cymryd oriau o amser. Nid yw teithio ar nos Sul am 4-5 awr, cyrraedd adref yn hwyr a wedyn gweithio ar fore Llun yn boblogaidd ymysg chwaraewyr, na chefnogwyr chwaith. Felly mae myth poblogaidd arall yn mynd drwy’r ffenest un a oedd yn mynd rhywbeth fel hyn, “Pe byddai clybiau ond yn dangos ychydig o ddychymyg a threfnu eu gemau ar adeg heblaw pnawn Sadwrn, byddai’r torfeydd yn cynyddu’n sylweddol.” Does yna neb y credu hynny bellach.

Rhaid i’r chwilio am atebion slic a sydyn ddod i ben a byw mewn gobaith na welwn ddychwelyd at y myth arall poblogaidd hwnnw fod chwarae yn yr haf yn mynd i setlo popeth!! Cofier mae ond yn 1992 cychwynnodd y gynghrair hon ac erbyn yr adeg honno roedd gan gynghreiriau eraill gefnogaeth sefydlog. Ni chafodd y gynghrair unrhyw gefnogaeth ar y pryd gan gyfryngau dall ac felly mae’n rhaid derbyn fod yna daith hir cyn i’r gynghrair gael ei derbyn yn llwyr gan y cyhoedd. Ni fydd cyfyngu cefnogaeth ariannol i 12 academi chwaith yn math o gymorth i wella safonau yn y tymor hir.

Prin y gellir honni fod y strwythur sydd mewn lle yn medru cynnal clybiau cwbl broffesiynol. Eithriad ydy TNS lle mae trwyn busnes Mike Harris wedi sicrhau gosod sylfeini cadarn. Heblaw, mae mentro i’r maes proffesiynol llawn wedi arwain at ansefydlogrwydd ac ansicrwydd. Mae gorddibyniaeth ar arian un unigolyn yn un llawn risg.

Mae newid yr arweinyddiaeth, gyda dyfodiad Gwyn Derfel, yn gyfle amserol i UGC ail edrych ar ei hun a chanfod amcanion tymor hir fydd yn gwella pl-droed cyffredinol yng Nghymru ac nid rhai sydd er budd yr ychydig yn unig.



Gwyn Derfel: A word in your ear

At last a senior official has broken rank and cast doubt over the current WPL format. Port Talbot chairman, Andrew Edwards has come out and said what fans have already been saying. Fans have also backed their views and voted with their feet staying away from WPL grounds in numbers.

The John Deakin vision was that fewer clubs would mean higher standards and higher standards would bring more people through the gate. Viewing from the outside and having watched several live WPL games on ‘Sgorio’ there appears little evidence of this desired higher standard. Amongst some talented players at HGA level -who could certainly contribute to improving the quality- doubts remain about their desire to become involved in the WPL under the current format.

Most certainly there has been no increase in attendances. If the introduction of the new format had not coincided with the return of Bangor City to the top of the table then the average attendances would have slumped seriously. On the weekend 17-19 February, if the Bangor game is taken out, the average gate for the other five games was 239 a figure which should satisfy none of those who campaigned in favour of a 12 club league. This is in a season where the WPL has been given unprecedented live coverage by an excellent ‘Sgorio’ programme.

Many club administrators and officials share the views of Andrew Edwards but have remained silent because they are prepared to put up with the current format while they do so well out of the 12 club financial share out. For example they reportedly receive 21,000 each to run their Academies leaving clubs in the HGA, who run some of the most successful academies, to find all the money themselves.

Andrew Edwards highlights the repetitive nature of the league with his club Port Talbot playing neighbours Afan Lido 7 times in a season when both League and League Cup games are considered. They will also have played Carmarthen six times. “It’s not good,” says Andrew Edwards, “and something has to be done about it.” His manager Mark Jones agrees, "Seven games against Lido and six against Carmarthen is ridiculous and the fans will get bored with it."

This is certainly a challenge for Gwyn Derfel who takes over from John Deakin as the League’s new General Secretary. It must surely be one of his main priorities to look again at the format. The grand finale of last season when Bangor and TNS played for the title was a one off exciting accident and should not be used to cloud over the widespread dissatisfaction.

Fans also give a thumbs down to the way fixtures have been spread out over weekends and played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. FAW and WPL officials need to recognise that the majority of players in the league are part timers. Also the reality is that though distances between north and south are not huge travelling between them along the roads available is very expensive and above all time consuming. Arriving home late on a Sunday night, having travelled for 4-5 hours, and then working on Monday morning is not popular with players or fans. Another popular myth therefore goes out through the window. It went like this, “If clubs only showed more imagination and arranged their fixtures on dates other than Saturday afternoons, then crowds would increase substantially.” No one can believe this any longer.

The search for quick fixes must stop and we must all hope that there will be no return to that other popular myth that summer football will rid us of all ills! This league was only born in 1992, a time by which most other national leagues had a well established following. It had no early support from a myopic Welsh media and so must be prepared for a long haul to popular acceptance. Restricting financial support to only 12 academies will not lead to a long term improvements in standards.

The infrastructure in place hardly seems to be one that can support fully professional clubs. TNS would appear to be the exception, where the business acumen of Mark Harris has laid down sustainable foundations. Otherwise the flirtation with full time professionalism seems to have been fraught with insecurity. Over dependence on one major backer also comes with huge risks.

A change of leadership under Gwyn Derfel provides the WPL with a timely opportunity to take a good long look at itself and come up with some long term objectives for the benefit of the whole of Welsh football and not the short term gains of the few.





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