Carmarthen Athletic RFC Museum
Most rugby clubs have a selection of jerseys and memorabilia on display of which they are justifiably proud. However, Carmarthen Athletic’s collection is quite unique as it not only display’s the usual rugby union jerseys but also shirts from a wide variety of sports such football, rugby league, athletics etc. as well as all types of sporting footwear from a vast array of sports.
Gerald Davies of Wales & Lions fame recalls having a sneak preview inside the original Athletic club in Friars Park as a schoolboy. He said ” Looking at the Athletic Club’s proud set of International jerseys, there were, I think only four in the cabinet that day. Those jerseys, let me tell you, provided a profound source of inspiration. I can see them now.” Today the club has over two hundred and thirty shirts on display in purpose made floor to ceiling glass cabinets. In addition, also on display are one hundred and seventy three pairs of sporting footwear. The collection is acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records and is known around the world.
The boot collection was started by life long club President, the late Gwynne King Morgan. In 1967, the New Zealand All Blacks were on tour in the UK and at that time the bovine disease ‘foot & mouth’ was prevelant in the country. As a result, the tourists were unable to take their rugby boots back to New Zealand, Gwynne seized the opportunity to obtain the boots of the legendary All Black Colin Meads. The boots were originally displayed hanging by their laces behind the bar at the clubhouse in Friars Park (it became known as “The Cobblers Bar”), but as the collection expanded cabinets were built to house them.
The most famous of the footwear include the boxing boots of legendary world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali & his great British adversary Henry Cooper, the golfing shoes of ‘major’ winners Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player & Lee Trevino, the tennis shoes of Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King & Nastase, the cricket shoes of knights of the realm Gary Sobers, Viv Richards & Ian Botham, the football boots of Pele, Stanley Mathews & Franz Beckenbauer and of course the rugby boots of Gareth Edwards & Barry John.
Carmarthen Athletic now boasts a museum of sporting memorabilia which is unique in rugby club circles, featuring the possessions of the very top sporting personalities spanning the last six decades.