As you may know (because I kind of mention it a lot) I don’t support my local club rugby team. Which is a long story which is written in one of my posts. But to cut a long story short I support Aberavon, the team about a twenty minute drive from my home.
I’ve followed them for about three years, more so in the last season where I’ve met some great supporters, got to know the players and even undergone a few initiations to fully integrate with the club! Apparently there’s no going back now!
But one thing that has somewhat distanced me from the club is the lack of roots and the history. Admittedly I was late to the club rugby scene opting for the division above supporting the regions. But one thing I’ve learnt about Aberavon rugby club over the past season is that the club is the heart and soul of the community. Literally.
These past few months have been tough for the town of Port Talbot with the steelworks threatening to close its doors and make thousands of employees redundant. And last night Michael Sheen’s documentary aired on the BBC talking about his hometown. I had a brief understanding of how much the steelworks meant to the town but not how deep the roots nestled.
Thinking about it the pitch signs in Aberavon all display Tata steel branding. Tata sponsor all the schools rugby and netball festivals in the area which has really boosted participation in sports in schools. Supplied kits to all the teams even allowing children to design them.
Players work for the steelworks, supporters and their families live and breathe that industry. As clichéd as it sounds it really made me realise how much this club is valued in the community. The support they’ve given to their fellow steelworkers this year has been inspiring.
Supporting their town and their rich history! That’s what a rugby club should be! The heart and soul of a community, and I thank you Aberavon for welcoming me into yours! I sincerely hope they can save our steel!