This summer marks the end of an era at CPD Machno United as long-serving secretary Delyth Berry steps down after 20 years in the role.
Grassroots North Wales had a chat with an amazing lady fittingly known as “Mrs Machno”.
How long have you been involved with Machno United, what roles have you filled within the club and how did you get involved in the first place?
Coming from a footballing family where my father was the club chairman for many years before he passed away and my uncles, Michael Griffiths, Lewis Wyn Griffiths and Ifor Glyn Griffiths, as well as other close family members playing for the club over the years, I suppose it was inevitable that one day I would be involved with Machno United Football Club.
I have supported Machno United from a young age, but my journey towards being involved with the club as a secretary began in late 2000. There was no team in Penmachno during the 2000 season so we therefore started up a new committee and worked on getting a team back playing in the village. The rest as they say is history.
What have been the highlights of your time with Machno?
There have been plenty of highlights during the 20 years that I have been involved with the club, especially as the club was able to purchase their current ground in 2014 and have had major work carried out to improve the pitch in the last few years.
However, the season that sticks in my mind as being the most memorable was 2012/13 when we joined the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League, having won the Caernarfon & District League the previous season.
It was our first year in the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League and we went on to win the Division One title and REM Jones Cup.
At the league presentation night that season, we also took the awards for Top Goal Scorer (Kev Owen), Manager of the Year (Jo Owen) and Secretary of the Year.
Machno have had some good seasons, but have struggled a little of late. Are you optimistic that the club’s future will be better?
Throughout the last 20 years I have seen leagues and cups won, but I have realized that in football it’s not always about how many medals or trophies you win, it’s about doing something you love and never giving up.
There will always be obstacles, there will be mistakes and there will certainly be doubters, but with the young squad at Machno United at present, and with Jo Owen stepping in as the new manager for this coming season, with hard work there are no limits to what they can achieve in the future.
If at 16 years of age the club can offer these young lads a start in adult football, then to me my dedication of 20 years to Machno United and grassroots football has been worth it.
Please choose your top 3 players from your time with the club
I have had the pleasure of watching plenty of top players throughout the years and could choose a variety, but as I can only choose 3:
Alan “Salty” Williams
Salt was the club captain when I first took over as secretary at Machno and was most definitely the joker of the team. There was certainly never a dull moment when he was around and you had to have your wits about you as you never knew what joke he would play on you next. He was an exceptional midfield player and always gave 100% to the club and I still miss his antics on and off the football pitch.
Wyn “Box” Williams
“Box” played for Machno United for a total of 22 years and was by far one of the most feared centre-halves in local football. I probably had a few more grey hairs during this period and saw a few more disciplinary meetings, but he would be one of the first names that I would choose to put down on a team sheet, although I’m sure plenty of opposition players and referees alike would disagree with me !!!!
Kev Owen scored over 100 goals during his time with the club and picked up the League Player of the Year award as well as 3 league top goalscorer awards. His skills, trickery and many goals were a joy to watch. To this day I still know if Kev is delivering mail to Penmachno as I come home to a football message that he leaves on my mail.
What do you think of the new pyramid system starting in Welsh football this season?
Personally I think there is too much emphasis on criteria and not enough on the actual standard of football itself within leagues.
I find it a sad state of affairs when clubs that have competed in higher leagues and have always aimed to play to the highest standard possible are finding themselves relegated because of not being able to meet the new criteria, which at times is out of their control i.e pitch sizes, and that clubs are having to move from their home grounds in pursuit of progress.
The new criteria is apparently designed to make grounds more comfortable and safer, however, I personally would still rather stand on the sidelines and watch a good game of football rather than sit in a stand to watch a poor game.
Grassroots football plays a vital role in local communities and helps bring people together. They are run voluntarily and for one reason only, for the love of the game.
Machno United are lucky that they have such amazing support from the local community, I just hope other grassroots clubs will have the same support in their pursuits in the new pyramid system
What have you enjoyed most about your time with Machno?
The people that I have met and the friends that I have made over the years, not forgetting the ladies of the “Machno Mafia” where all spring and summer they are graceful, quiet ladies ……………… and then the football season starts………………….!!!!!!
Will you still watch the team? What do you plan to do with the spare time you will have that you used to spend with the football club?
I am still staying on as treasurer so I will still have involvement with the club.
However, my first passion is horses so I am looking forward to being able to spend more time at home with the horses at Machno Stud.
However, I will always support Machno United Football Club and will still be there to help in any way that I can.
I wish Sarah Collins all the best in taking over as secretary, and to Jo Owen for taking over as team manager.
Machno United won league titles in 2011/12 and 2012/13 under Jo Owen, so it fair to say that the club will be in safe hands.