Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Josh Bell - are you ready?

Thought I'd share some of the snaps I've taken of the Barry Town boys in action so far this season.

Goytre 1-2 Barry Town (AET) Saturday 10th September 2011 - League Cup 1st Round
Barry Town walk out onto Goytre's Plough Road ground in their new strip.  Division 3 Goytre made us work hard for it, but the win for Barry came after the decisive 2-1 extra-time goal.  The extra time was actually a bit of a bonus for me - I hadn't figured on the 1.30pm kick-off and missed the majority of the 1st half.  The first photo of the boys walking out onto the pitch?  Taken shortly before the 2nd half kicked-off.

Merthyr Town 0-3 Barry Town - Saturday 1st October 2011 - Welsh Cup 1st Round

Much was said of the line-up Merthyr Town put out.  Less was said about the quality of the Barry Town performance.  We'll let the stats do the talking : 3-0 (ANET - After No Extra-Time).

Porth 4-0 Barry Town - Saturday 15th October 2011 - Welsh League Division One.

An unbelievably bad day at the office against a promoted Porth side who have proved to be the surprise package of the season so far.  I never did find out why Terry was being interviewed at the ground.  Fun photo, though.

Haverfordwest County 1-2 Barry Town (AET) - Saturday 5th November 2011 - Welsh Cup 2nd Round. 

A superb trip.  Okay, the supporters' coach could have had a few more supporters on it, but those who missed out... missed out.  Here's the handshake, and the extra-time free-kick preparation.  Josh Bell - are you ready?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Barry Town's Christmas Presence

The first...

Christmas Day 1914
Southern League
Pontypridd 2-4 Barry
Syd Beaumont (2)

Charlie Saunders (2)

The last...

Christmas Day 1957
Southern League
Barry Town 3-1 Merthyr Tydfil
Brian James (3)

The best...

Christmas Day 1919
Southern League Welsh Section
Barry 5-0 Porth
Davidson (2),
Charlie Saunders
Ernie Webb (p)
Billy Price

The worst...

Christmas Day 1939
Southern League
Barry 1-6 Lovells Athletic
Ernie Carless

Merry Christmas to Barry Town fans everywhere

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


No, not Fleetwood Mac.  The football variety.  AGAIN.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Der-der-d-der! der-d-der! Ohhhh-Akinfenwa!

Barry Town old boy reaches a ton (in league goals)

Akinfenwa came to Barry Town via FK Atlantas in January 2003.  Although he only played a few games for us, his class was immediately obvious and 'Bayo' proved a popular acquisition for the club. 

Having won the Lithuanian Cup with Atlantas a few months previously, Akinfenwa helped Barry lift the Welsh Cup and was part of the 'Treble Double' squad that also lifted the Welsh Premier League title for the third consecutive year.

Unfortunately, Akinfenwa was a victim of the financial collapse at the club following our Champions League exit and soon found himself out of football, albeit briefly.  Finding a berth at Boston United, Akinfenwa's League career was about to take off.

Akinfenwa has played for many clubs since he left Barry's golden sands, but his presence was most felt at Torquay United, Swansea City (of course), and Gillingham.  But it was at Northampton Town where he found most success, netting 37 goals in 88 appearances in his first stint for the Cobblers.  Bayo is currently enjoying a second stint at Northampton Town, and recently reached the happy total of 100 League goals scored.

Congratulations on the 100, Bayo.

Odd fact : Akinfenwa's 2002-03 Barry Town away strip was the same strip used by Northampton Town as their home kit that season.

This interview appeared in today's Football League Paper (iss no. 104)

"My ton is proof that you can be an achiever"

Scoring my 100th league goal last weekend was a sweet feeling.

Since I was five a lot of people have said that I was too big to play football, which makes me believe, 100 goals later, that if you believe in something, you can achieve it. Don't let anybody tell you what you can and cannot do.

If you believe in your heart of hearts, and keep the faith, you will achieve your goals in the end. Don't let people tell you otherwise.

But I wouldn't say that I have proved certain people wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but i'm not bothered by what people say. The main thing is what you see in the mirror.

I say that but I do actually have a t-shirt to prove people wrong. I was approached to do a clothing line which is called the 'ha-ha' brand, which basically says ' don't let anyone tell you what you can't do'.

I wear a "Too big to play football, ha-ha" t-shirt under my kit!

It's just a bit of fun but at the same time it's to show that other people's opinions about me and my career don't really bother me.

But throughout the 100 goals, I have learnt that as you get older it does get harder to score goals and maintain your fitness.

When you are younger, you just think a goal is a goal, whereas now I know what to put in during a week to be sharper on a Saturday.

You need to get better as the game evolves. Younger players are getting better and better, so every time I score now, I do appreciate it more - 100% more - than I was when I was 21.

Maybe at the end of my career I will be able to look back on my 100 goals with fond memories and be able to say I achieved an aim.

But at the moment I am just trying to score as many goals as possible. The main thing is that the team does well.

Ultimately, if the team does well you do well individually. I enjoyed the first goal ever scored for Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, and I will probably be in one of those Trivial Pursuit questions for that!

Monday, 12 December 2011


Barry Town Supporters News, Saturday 17th November 1984

Barry Town v Reading (FA Cup 1st Round)

Barry Town FC are the talk of Welsh football on this final day of the Town's Centenary week. We play an FA Cup 1st Round match for the first time in 23 years and for only the 5th time ever (behind 1929-30, 1934-35, 1951-52, and 1961-62).  With the whole of Wales egging us on, wishing us on to a famous victory as Canon League side Reading are visitors to Jenner Park.

Today's game should see the biggest crowd at Jenner Park since the 1961 clash with QPR when 7,000 watched the game.  It'll certainly beat the big crowds at recent games against Worcester (1977), Swansea (1983) and Merthyr within the last month. 

The tie today comes as a result of the epic battles with Merthyr in the 4th qualifying round, 3 games out of a run of 6 successive Cup-ties for Barry.  In fact, we're currently taking a very, very long break from Abacus Welsh League action, a break that's being prolonged by another three weeks.  Even our next scheduled League fixture (with Port Talbot on 8 Dec) is in doubt, as it falls on the day of the FA Cup 2nd Round, which we'll hopefully be involved in.

Belated congratulations to Paul and Sheryl Preece, and Bobby and Anne Smith, as second babies are due, both in February, and special congratulations go to Mike and Joanne Cosslett, as their baby due in April will be their first.

The first winners of the new 'Player of the month' award were Bobby Smith (for August and September) and Trevor Nott (for October).  Man of the match slips are available today, so don't forget to register your vote.

Publicity surrounding Barry has been at its greatest this week.  In fact, today's result will receive as much coverage, due to the fact that it will be the first to come through this afternoon.  With our game kicking off three quarters of an hour before all of the other 1st Round ties, our result will be announced at the half-time stage of other matches.  It's for that reason that there is an advantage in not having lights, but frankly, it is the only 'argument' in favour. 

For Barry to have 1,600 in each of the Merthyr replays and 3,000 for the Welsh cup tie with Swansea, all three being 2 or 2.25pm kick offs, Jenner Park is crying out for floodlights.  Just imagine how many would come to a good looking game at 7 o'clock in the evening.  It would be an investment to get lights.

One of the best stories seen in the newspapers this week was one that appeared in the Daily Express.  Our manager, Les 'Gold Top' Dickerson is apparently 'ready to sour Reading's chances', according to an article by a reporter amazed that our Manager is a milkman, while our three strikers are green-grocers. 

Barry Town : Trevor Nott; Mel Donovan; Derek Redwood; Ashley Griffiths; Mike Cosslett, Phil McNeil; Bobby Smith; Alan Sullivan; Ian Love; Phil Green; Paul Preece; Steve Williams.

Reading : Gary Westwood; Jerry Williams; Steve Richardson; Stuart Beavon; Martin Hicks; Steve Wood; Colin Duncan; Dean Horrix; Trevor Senior, Lawrie Sanchez, David Crown, Derrick Christie.

Saturday 8th December 1984

Barry Town 1 Reading 2

This is the first opportunity to congratulate all of the players on a tremendous display against the professionals, Canon League side Reading (was it really 3 weeks ago?!).  The performance, though excellent, still brings back bitter memories as everybody must still have a disappointed feeling when recalling the late, late winning goal from Reading's Trevor Senior.  Reading were completely outplayed, but all of that is history now, and we wish them every success in today's 2nd Round tie with Bognor Regis at Elm Park.

The Reading Cup tie produced the biggest crowd for football matches in Wales that day.  FA Cup crowds at Bangor City (2,130), Newport (2,452), Swansea (2,434) and Wrexham (2,527) were all lower than Barry Town's 3,839, while Cardiff v Carlisle in the Canon League Division Two, was watched by only 3,005 - their lowest League Division Two crowd since the Second World War.

Another troubled League Club is Swansea City, who this week sacked manager Colin Appleton.  It is the 3rd managerial change around this year -  a year in which Swansea have also had three different chairmen. Swansea are currently struggling in 23rd place in Division Three - 2 years after losing their First Division status. 

Welsh Cup 3rd Round : Newport v Barry


Friday, 9 December 2011

Jenner Park : help or hindrance?

It's been stated more than a few times over the years (and only last week on Twitter) that Jenner Park, purpose built for Barry Town between 1912 and 1913, is now a noose around the Club's neck.

Why is this?

On the face of it, Jenner Park has to be Barry Town's biggest asset - aside from the Club's long, if somewhat patchy, history. Now, let's not forget (how could we?!) the events leading up what would turn out to be Barry Town's final European appearance in the Champions League qualifiers in 2003. The Club, under Chairman Kevin Green, had not been paying the council for its use of Jenner Park.

This came to a head in the summer of 2003 when the Vale Council threatened to lock out Barry Town and therefore damage its Champions League chances. To the fans, it was nothing short of a distasteful act of spite by a Council (or elements of it) who had courted us since the 1990s. However, we did owe them a lot of money!

Nevertheless, it completely knackered our pre-season build up, and the disappointing defeat to Skopje over two legs seemed inevitable. As a matter of fact, we actually won the final European game on the hallowed turf, but we were out on aggregate. Worse was to follow, of course, because within weeks the Club had collapsed, the 'Board' had departed and so had the entire playing squad. Former players were seen live on BBC Wales News irritatingly rattling the padlocked gates to the car-park.
And then there was the District Valuer.

In a beautifully executed manoeuvre of desperately bad timing, the bill worked out by the District Valuer, on behalf of the council, was some £42,000. Apparently, the TV revenue, exposure and facilities put us up there with English League sides such as Ipswich Town. By now the Club had gone bust, and sold for around £125,000 to a 'local property developer and barrister'.

From the get-go of the new owner's tenure at the helm was the spectre of the Jenner Park valuation and subsequent rent bill. In fairness, it must have been a massive kick in the teeth. In he walks, saves Barry Town from extinction and as thank you receives a £42,000 rent bill after only just forking out a 6 figure some to buy the place. There was nobody left from the old regime to blame other than the Supporters' Club. When the football club collapsed, the Supporters' Club did its best to fill the void.

The new owner's flat refusal to pay any rent to the council led to the club being forced out of Jenner Park, temporarily. At first it was somewhat of a novelty, playing at Port Talbot. Then as the disagreement continued we were banned from the Vale altogether and, because of this, the various levels of youth structure were disbanded. We were now stationed outside the county, just outside Pontypridd. It was utterly utterly depressing. Relations between the owner and the handful of remaining supporters were non-existent, the football was poor, and the fan-base (which had always been small) was decimated.

But Jenner Park was still there, sitting idly. Waiting it out.

When rumours began flying around about the council eyeing it for possible housing land, or far worse, a home for rugby, the remaining fans further divided themselves by voting to create a new club, out of Jenner Park, that would take the 'ideal' of Barry Town with it - as well as it's history and original shirt colour (green). "Barry FC" was created in no time, it had became 'primary user' of Jenner Park, and soon entered the Vale of Glamorgan AFL. Ultimately, Barry Town returned to Jenner Park in a ground-share agreement.

And now, present day, the owner has withdrawn all support of the football team, and it's the new Barry Town Supporters' Committee that's footing the rent bill for our home games. It's not cheap. It's our number one drain on funding. Yet, it's my personal opinion that Jenner Park, far from throttling Barry Town, could still one day be its saviour.

Jenner Park is Barry Town and Barry Town is Jenner Park. Now, that's not to say that if we had some other purpose-built for European football stadium to move to I'd turn down the offer, because I wouldn't. As much as Jenner Park is our spiritual home, if we had the chance of bettering ourselves, be independent from the council, then I'd jump at the offer.

This is fanciful. We are where we are. I'm proud to say that all payments to the council are being met - often in advance. The sooner we get the council - so long a supporter of Barry Town - fully back on board, the better. After all, the club was created with the old Barry Council assistance (if not direct financial help), and ties have been close through the decades - including Barry Town being allowed to adopt the official council crest as the Club badge. This is often overlooked in the more recent era of cartoon dragons and vague King Arthur motifs as club badges. We actually share the same crest as Barry RFC.  However, look at any photo of Barry Town club officials and players in their shirts and blazers, and there is the official Barry crest right there.

We currently find ourselves in the unhappy position of being a tenant to two different landlords, of a sort. We pay (good) money to the council for the privilege of playing at Jenner, and yet the actual owner of the club, and therefore the clubhouse (and its takings), still sits in some kind residency above us. We need to pay rent, we need money to pay the rent, the money to pay the rent should come from bar takings and social club events, but this is not happening because the club is not a football club. We are in the ludicrous position of looking for a home elsewhere around the town to hold our meetings and events. It's just... wrong.

So, why not just move out altogether, set up somewhere else, gain independence and flourish eventually. Well, firstly, we already tried that with Barry FC - now dubbed Cadoxton-Barry FC after an essential merger - and, frankly, we have aspirations (some say delusions) of once again providing European football for Barry Town supporters. Not any time soon, granted. But surely that has to be the ideal? Otherwise, why bother? For a club that lived it large for a while and fell on shockingly tough times, we are still blessed with having the use of some amazing facilities that could still one day provide Welsh Premier League football to the town, or one day maybe European football once again.

We'd be bonkers to give that up.

What other club in our league, at our level, has such facilities at its disposal? Very few, if any. Yes, there are plenty of clubs who are in a much better financial situation than ourselves. In fact, maybe they all are. Even the lowliest of clubs possibly doesn't have our perceived disadvantage of the financial burden that is Jenner Park. Right now though, we are happily solvent - and that's not to be abused. We still have a terrific opportunity to progress. Give up Jenner Park, and we put our progress back years, if not decades. If progress at all.  Lose Jenner Park, and we lose Barry Town Association Football Club.

Now, if we could only get that pesky match-day rent reduced by the council.

We warmly welcome any investors or potential purchasers to understand the facilities at Barry Town that we have at our disposal.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Over and out

Atif Bashir knows that his 94th minute attempt was the last throw of the dice for Pakistan.

Despite the draw to Nepal leaving Pakistan out of the SAFF Championship in India, Atif and his compatriots know they have had a good tournament, and they leave it undefeated after drawing with all 3 higher ranked teams in their Group.  For Atif, it means an early return to Wales and club duties for Barry Town.  The boy done good, but we look forward to having him back.

Monday, 5 December 2011

So proud of our 'Alfie'

Barry Town's Atif Bashir is currently part of the Pakistan team that is taking part in the South Asian Football Federation Championship, which is this being staged by India.  Eight teams play in two groups of four.  The top two of each group progress to a semi-final, before the winners of those meet in the Final. 

Pakistan are in Group B along with tournament favourites Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal.  Atif has featured in both games so far - against Bangladesh and the Maldives.  Both games have ended 0-0 in the cavernous 60,000 seater Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.  Unfortunately for the tournament and the promoters, around 58,000 of those seats have been unused in the groups stages thus far.  Should there be an India vs Pakistan final, however expect some more bums on seats for that one.

Atif has been picking up good plaudits for his solid efforts for Pakistan in the two games so far, and despite being subbed off on the hour in the second game, looks certain to again be in the starting line-up for the crucial tie with Group B leaders, Nepal.  Nepal's two games have yieleded 4 points for them, so a Pakistan win would guarantee a Semi Final spot.  Pakistan's previous best effort was 3rd place. 

Nepal are managed by ex-Spurs hero Graham Roberts, a man who had spent time last year working for the Pakistan side, so Roberts will be no stranger to the Barry Town midfielder.  Nepal are the favourites to beat Pakistan, but Pakistan have a rare Semi Final place in the offing should they pull out a remarkable victory against Nepal tomorrow. Their two back-to-back draws are already something akin to progress - Pakistan not being unbeaten in two games for some time.

Anyway, whatever happens, Barry Town supporters are already WELL pleased with their 'Alfie' (as pronounced by the guy on the tannoy at Carmarthen Town), and his exploits for the Dragons as well as the Greenshirts.

So focused on Barry Town is Atif that he apparently offered to play the first half of the recent Welsh League match against Cwmaman Institute before jetting off to join the rest of the Pakistan squad. The commitment to the colours (yellow and blue, as well as green!) is impressive - yet it's seen throughout the Barry Town squad, not just from Atif.  Should Atif and the Greenshirts progress in the SAFF Championship it's doubtful he will be available for the home match against Goytre United on the 10th.  But you never know. Best wishes, Atif.  You're doing yourself, your country, and your club proud!

Here are some screen-grabs from the action so far;

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Barry's Cup Bid, April 1937

"Members of the Barry AFC discussing tactics with their trainer, Harry Mills, in preparation for their match with Kidderminster in the Seventh Round of the Welsh Senior Cup Competition to-day." (Western Mail, Saturday, April 2nd, 1937)

It looks pretty rudimentary, but they worked.  Town beat the Harriers 2-0 to set up a Welsh Cup Semi Final clash with... Crewe Alexandra