AFTER sailing close to the wind for the last few seasons, Mardy AFC finally bit the bullet last May and were relegated to Gwent County Division Two.

However, every cloud has its silver lining as club stalwart Macky Skinner is keen to stress, "Over the last three years we as a club have struggled to stay afloat in Division One due to one factor - the mass exodus of experienced players from the club!

"Consequently, a lot of very young players were asked to fill the holes left in the senior side and this they did admirably.

"We may have taken a battering last season, but nevertheless, the youngsters turned up week in and week out to pull on the Mardy shirt and play for the club. They took the bull by the horns and just got stuck in.

"Although many people will say it has all been in vain because we have now been relegated to Division Two, my attitude is that the youngsters, having had the necessary experience of Division One football, have now grown both as individual players and as a team and that to my mind will definitely make them a force to contend with in the coming season."

The Mardy man added, "We may be down but we're not out, and our aim now is to get right back up there."

Mardy will start their pre-season training on Tuesday July 6 at 6.30pm. All players old and new are welcome to turn up and join the Mardy cause.