Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Barry Town resign from the Southern League

Barry & District News
Thursday 25 March, 1982
The worst fears of supporters and other people closely connected with Barry Town Football Club were confirmed this week when the vice-chairman, Mr. Neil O’Halloran, announced the club’s resignation from the Southern League as from the end of the season.
What Mr. O’Halloran described as a ‘sad decision’ had, he explained, been taken purely for financial reasons.
The statement said “We have reluctantly had to resign from the Southern League to ensure a solid future for Barry Town.
“As from August 1982, we shall be playing our strongest side in the Welsh League.
“This decision results from the Southern League management committee issuing the club with an ultimatum that, unless floodlights are installed by the start of the 1983-84 season, we would not be considered for the Southern League.
“At a board meeting it was decided that, in order to consolidate our financial position, we would have to resign from the Southern League and play in the Welsh League, where travelling costs and general expenses would be nominal compared with the Southern League.
“It is believed that taking this action will enable the club, with careful and sensible planning, to install lights, erect new dressing rooms and improve the social facilities and generally improve the club’s status.
“This action has been taken purely for financial reasons, but, having regard to the financial state of a lot of football clubs, we must look at the warning signals and take the necessary steps to consolidate.”
Mr. O’Halloran hoped that the proposed Welsh National League would begin in the 1983-84 season, with Barry among the founder members.
It was somewhat ironic that the decision followed just two days after around 50 regular supporters of the club got together to reform the Supporters’ Club in an effort to keep the club in the Southern League.
At their meeting on Sunday, the club, under a new chairman, Mr. Bill Lewis, decided to send a letter to Mr O’Halloran seeking assurances about the club’s Southern League future and calling for a meeting with the Board of Directors.
But, it seems, the decision had already been made, especially as Southern League officials were due at Jenner Park yesterday to grade the ground. At Sunday’s meeting it was agreed that it was highly unlikely that, once they quit, Barry would be readmitted to the league.
Although appreciating Mr O’Halloran’s support for the club in recent years – and realising that without his injection of cash this week’s decision might have come before – supporters rang the ‘News’ yesterday to express their amazement at the finality of the decision.
A number felt that no opportunity had been taken to find out whether other individuals or businessmen in the town could come to the aid of the club. “No avenues have been explored whatsoever,” explained a ‘very dispirited’ Bill Lewis.
“We are not doubting that Mr. O’Halloran has every right to do what he has done, but it seems a very unsatisfactory situation that a decision of this nature should be taken without looking at other ways of helping the club.”

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Tragedy of 'Tich' Evans

I've always intended doing some stuff on a player that never really gets any exposure - why would he - as it was so very long ago. He was one of these players that burst on to the scene as a bit of a star and one to watch. Think along the lines of Whitlow, Tapscott etc.
'Tich' Evans was not only a bit of a character, but was also an excellent football player. Unfortunately, his Barry career almost entirely spanned the War-time friendlies during the First World War, so details of him are scant. In the first War time friendly - against the Royal Glamorgan Fortress Engineers - he bagged a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.  He then scored 6 in a 9-1 win over County.   He scored against Cardiff, Swansea, and Ton Pentre (in a game that marked Barry Town's first ever visit to Ynys Park on  April 21st, 1916).
By the time the War was over, there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of players between all the major south Wales clubs as their usual players were still being de-mobbed etc. Evans ended up assisting Swansea Town.  The boy, it seemed, had the world at his feet.  Surely Tich Evans must go down as the very first Barry Town 'export'.  Formed just 2 seasons previously, Barry had to import players.  With the first XI posted around the country - or at the Front - there were opportunities for local amateur lads to come through.  Tich Evans was an instsant hit.
After the War, Barry had properly reformed, and were looking forward to starting the club up again for the 1919-20 season. There was a bit of a stink in the press after it was announced he was to be permanently transferred to Swansea Town as he was so highly regarded there. Evans was so popular, even his wedding that summer made the local papers. At the time the Barry board were saying 'Hey, we got £100 for him. We're not getting that from anywhere else." The next thing you knew he had committed suicide after his wife's death. Most of the reports afterwards simply mentioned 'tragic circumstances' but never went into details.
It makes for some pretty gruesome reading.  However, 'Tich', thanks for everything mate.  I hope I've brought your good name back to life in a small way.
Here's the original article, announcing his sad demise just months after his big move to Swansea Town;

Barry Herald

Friday, January 2, 1920

A sensational discovery was made at Swansea on Thursday afternoon the week before last.
‘Tich’ Evans, one of the principal players in the Swansea Town Association team, was found on the Vetch Field with his throat cut, his head being almost severed from his body with a razor tightly grasped in his right hand.
It is stated that he had been depressed owing to the recent death of his wife. He was a native of Cadoxton-Barry and was one of the most popular players in the team. He was son of Mr and Mrs Evans, 21 Fairford-street, Cadoxton-Barry, who are exceedingly well known and respected in that district.
He commenced his football career quite early in life, having played for Hannah-street School and in later years for Cadoxton Old Boys. He then came under the notice of the Barry directors, and for about five seasons played on the left wing for the Seasiders, where he always played a great game.
It was, whilst in Barry, employed as a boilermaker at the Barry Graving Dock. In July last he married a Cadoxton girl named Miss Fannie Hawkins, who died a fortnight ago.
This is the fourth death Mr and Mrs Evans have sustained in the past two years, one being their other son Willie, who was killed while serving in the Navy.
Until this season ‘Tich’ had been on the list of the Barry Club, and although Barry secured £100 for his transfer, Swansea has been offered by Tottenham Hotspur four figures to release him.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Barry Journalist gives up

Sport Jottings
The Barry Herald
Friday, 4 April 1919

"Last Saturday Barry defeated Pontypridd on the latter's ground. A prominent Barry player says the score was 5-1 in favour of his team. A Cardiff journal gives the final score as 5-2, and another as 5-3.

We have given up the puzzle as to finding the correct score, so will our readers kindly strike a decent average."

Ed: In fairness to the journalist in question, it was a confusing time for football in the district.  The War had just ended and football clubs were eager to pick up where they had left off. For Barry, the Chairman of the club, C B Griffiths, negotiated with all the major teams in south Wales for a series of friendlies.  To this end, from January to April 1919 Barry played a half season of friendlies against Cardiff City, Newport County, Swansea Town, Abertillery, and Pontypridd amongst others.  

With some players not yet demobbed, or sadly never to return from the Front, the sides of each club were hardly representative so early after the war.  Players were flitting about from team to team, and players from Barry were regularly 'assisting' Swansea and Cardiff. As such, the reporting of these friendlies was pretty scant.  The Cardiff papers, for example, aided the confusion by constantly calling the Barry AFC the 'Barry District' - the town's premier club that folded shortly before the War.

Saying that, to ask the reader to come up with the result of a match as the reporter is so exasperated in trying to find out is something that must be brought back into our match reports.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Barry defeat Showmen

Barry defeat Showmen

South Wales Football Echo
Saturday, 7 September, 1929

Barry Town beat Tommy Catlow's team by eleven goals to one at Jenner Park on Friday.  The visitors were selected from the amusement caterers' employees at Barry Island, and included Blake, who plays centre-forward for the Heraldian Rovers in the Barry Junior Division, and Baggott, the centre-forward for Clive Rovers.  The renowned Tommy Catlow played at left-half and was one of the mainstays of his team.

Barry fielded a strong team, including (Dai) Ward, (Len) Jones, (Baden or Billy) Davies, (Johnny) Gardner, (Cliff) Owens, (Harry) Woodward, and (Reg) Sheppard.  Ward played at inside-left and scored three goals.  The manner in which he sent in surprise shots was excellent.  Jones scored six, while McKinless and Davies (W.) scored one each.  Baggott scored for the showmen.

Tommy Catlow, Barry AFC Vice-Captain 1913-14

Ed: This was a pre-season friendly to launch the 1929-30 season for Barry. Tommy Catlow was Barry Town's vice-captain in the club's inaugural season of 1913-14. Catlow played 27 times for Barry in that very first season of ours, scoring 4 times.  Catlow's debut goal for The Linnets came on 5 January 1914 in a fabulous 3-2 victory over Aberdare Athletic at Jenner Park.  Another goal in an away win over Treharris followed on 17 January, while one of the biggest games of the season saw Catlow contribute to the 6-2 victory over Newport County on 21 February.  

The Newport match became infamous as being the first instance of a Barry player being ordered from the pitch.  Shortly before full-time, club captain Jim Wightman punched Newport's Butler and was off.  The thumping win over County also saw Bert Millard score his debut hat-trick for the club.  Millard had previous experience with West Bromwich Albion. Catlow's final goal for the Linnets came against Swansea Town on 4 April 1914, when Barry beat Swansea 2-1 at Jenner Park.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The first inklings of 'Barry Town'? June 100 years ago

Barry Herald 
Friday 21st June, 1912. 

Rapid strides are being made in football circles in the Barry district. For the first time in the history of the town there will be two powerful clubs participating in the leading competitions.

A professional club has been launched in connection with the Barry Dockers' Brass Band and Athletic Institute, a club that was founded several months ago with the express purpose of providing the town with a professional team capable of holding its own with the best teams now figuring in Welsh football.

Amongst the promoters are such well known exponents of the game as Joe Sheldon, Ike Sheldon, Manny Prince, and many others who have past years done yeoman service towards placing Barry in a prominent position.

The new club is in a sound financial position, and will be more than equal to the demands made upon its resources. Two suitable grounds are at the disposal of the club.

Negotiations are in progress with several well known players from West Bromwich, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, and Nottingham districts, and with the fine talent at their disposal the new club will provide powerful opposition to all comers.

Application has been made for the admission to the 2nd Division of the Southern League,and the 1st Division of the Welsh League.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Irate Eight - Revisited

From : The Football Association of Wales
Date : 23 September, 1991

To :  
Bangor City FC;  
Barry Town FC;
Caernarfon Town FC; 
Colwyn Bay FC;
Merthyr Tydfil FC; 
Newport AFC;
Newtown FC;  
Rhyl FC.

Dear Sirs,


It appears from recent Press reports that there are still remain certain misconceptions regarding the position of Welsh clubs hoping to continue to play in England rather than to play in Welsh football.

In order that you may fully understand the position adopted by The F.A. of Wales, and which was referred to at all meetings previously held regarding the formation of a national championship, the provisions are set our below:

1. The FA of Wales will seek, as one of its main objectives, entry to the European Champions Clubs’ Cup and to the UEFA Cup by the champion club and runner-up respectively of The League of Wales.

2. The FA of Wales will continue to nominate the winners of the Welsh Cup for entry to the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In pursuit of these objectives, the FA of Wales will take into account the objections previously raised by UEFA, and particularly the refusal to approve a competition in which the leading clubs do not take part because they are playing in the national championship of another association.

To meet that objection, the FA of Wales will not grant sanctions under Rule no.62 to any club to join the English pyramid leagues in season 1992-93 and thereafter.  The Association will shortly hold a meeting with the Football Association regarding the possibility of any club wishing to play in England being able to affiliate directly to one of its member County Associaitons and thereby ceding its status as a Welsh club for the purpose of playing in competitions and for the registration and disciplining of players, etc.

However, if this procedure is not acceptable to UEFA in recognising the League of Wales as being a proper Welsh championship for the purposes set out above, then I have to inform you that the Association is agreed that clubs will not be allowed to play henceforward in England.

It is important to refer at this point to the standing of the clubs playing in The Football League.  These clubs are staffed by full-time professional players.  We acknowledge that The League of Wales will not be able to provide for these clubs on such a basis and we further note that to force the three clubs to break te contracts held would subject them to stringent penalties under the Employment Act and for restraint of trade.  Therefore, with UEFA’s permission, these clubs will continue to play in The Football League and to be eligible for participation in the Welsh Cup.  No semi-professional club based in England will be offered that participation as from next season.

We have agreed that meetings will be held with The Football Association and with UEFA during October to examine the situation further.  However, UEFA’s committee will not meet until mid-December, and I do not foresee a definitive statement until that time.

The Association has made it clear that it will proceed with its plans for the new Championship, but it will be prepared to meet with each and every club for further discussions if that should be your wish.

Yours Faithfully,

A. E. Evans

Introducing... Evan Sillette

At the end of the troubled 1950-51 season (weren't they all?!), Barry began to attract new players - what with the money that was suddenly swilling around the club after a dramatic last minute buy-out.

One of these new players was Evan Sillette.  Although he signed from Ipswich Town, where he'd only ever been a youth player or Reserve, he actually hailed from Barry.

Presumably, this connection had something to do with one Bill Jones.  Bill Jones originally played for us in the 1930s, but after the War he had resurfaced as some kind of guru and 'advisor' at Barry Island where the Island team went on to win the then prestigious Youth Cup.

He was also the local scout for Ipswich Town.  I haven't checked, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that Evan Sillette was a product of this Barry Island team.

Anyway, by May 1951 it was announced in the local press that Barry Town had signed Sillette and fans would see him make his debut for the club at the Festival of Britain Match against Newport County at Jenner Park.  Our manager at the time?  Bill Jones.

In what surely has to be the most stunning of debut appearances, Sillette put the Linnets 1-0 up in the first minute.  In fact, the goal was actually clocked at 8 seconds!  Quite the signing.  He added another in the second half, and with a further goal from McLaren on the hour mark, Barry ran out 3-1 winners.  The date was May 11th 1951

Other debutantes that evening were Bobbie Quinn, ex of Celtic, and Charlie 'Midge' Hill, recently ex of QPR and Swindon Town - but it's Sillette's debut that no doubt stuck in the minds of the Barry fans as they left Jenner Park that evening.

Unfortunately, despite making such an impact on his debut it was to be Evan Sillette's only game for Barry Town.  With just weeks to go to the start of the 1951-52 Sillette was described as being "snatched from under the noses of Barry Town" by Southern and Welsh League rivals, Lovell's Athletic, and that was that.

In truth, there was so much going on at Barry during the summer of 1951 that perhaps Sillette somehow got lost in the mix of all the new faces, such as Charlie Dyke and Johnny Foxton, arriving at the club.

Anyway, he may have had only one game, but let's get Evan Sillette's name out there shall we?  The boy who scored a goal for his home town club just 8 seconds into his debut - and to do it against an arch rival such as  Newport County was fantasy football for the Barry fans.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Find us a chair, man.

Barry Football Club Wants Chairs 

The Barry Herald 
Friday, July 21st, 1951

Barry Entertainments Committee last week considered an application from Barry Town AFC for the use of 300 beach chairs during the coming season.

A letter from the manager of the club stated that if the loan was granted the club would take full responsibility in providing transport for the chairs and that after the match the chairs would be stored away securely.

The chairs would be required from August 11th, 1951, to the end of May 1952.

"The missus never did like watching Bangor bloody City"

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Cardiff's Plan to Save Barry Town

Vetoed by Welsh League Committee
The Barry Herald
Friday, 26th January 1951

Negotiations which have been going on between Barry Town and Cardiff City in an effort to keep Barry Town AFC in existence have been unsuccessful because of the unyielding attitude of the Welsh League Management Committee.

An application was made to the Welsh League for the City to have Jenner Park registered as their Welsh League ground, but the League have insisted on the Cardiff Club's games being played at Ninian Park.

It is revealed then that Mr Ben Lobley, Chairman of the Barry Town Directors approached Sir Herbert Merritt, the Cardiff City president, asking if the City would help Barry in their present plight.

Sir Herbert, on behalf of Cardiff City, made proposals which included the playing of games at Jenner Park and the offer of a  substantial sum of money.  Had the proposal been favourably received it is likely that some Football Combination games as well as Welsh League ones would have been played at Jenner Park.

Latest Result:
Southern League
Barry Town 3 Bedford Town 1

Although Barry recorded their third successive win and completed the double over Bedford at Jenner Park on Saturday, the attendance of barely 600 spectators was no encouragement to the Directors to keep the flag flying.  The gate money was only enough to meet half the wage bill for the day.

Ed; Despite all sorts of attempts to save the club from extinction, all appeared to be lost with the Cardiff City Jenner Park rental deal falling on deaf ears at the Welsh League.  However, within a week of this story appearing in the local press, a mysterious backer appeared on the scene known only as 'Mr. X'.  Well, it was the 1950s!  And he had no Malaysian connections.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Barry Town's first silverware

When Barry (Town) AFC was formed in 1912, the club opted to join the increasingly popular Southern League for 1913-14 (after all, with Cardiff doing well - why shouldn't Barry?  We'd been better at the game than them for a decade. Cardiff who?).

The club did okay in its first season; won its first ever game (vs. Mid Rhondda United at a brand spanking new Jenner Park), and finished a creditable mid-table against some pretty well established sides.  

After years - decades, even - of trying to make a success of the Barry District side, there appeared to be, finally, a genuine impetus and excitement surrounding the new club and the prospects of the town having League Football within a short space of time. 

Of course, as we've all become accustomed to by now - nothing would ever be that simple.  

The District AFC hadn't matured into anything, and with the lack of a decent ground putting paid to any further ambitions, The Linnets came along to improve the town's prospects.

And then came the Great War almost overnight.  The club was instantly moth-balled, players were called up to the war effort, and we even lost our first club captain, Jim Wightman, at the Front. 

Jenner Park had been waste ground on the lower slopes of Barry and Gladstone Roads, owned by the Jenner family of the Wenvoe Estate.  Local sporting enthusiasts (including, no doubt, all those who had bought shares in the club in November 1912!) had levelled it off, and put down a pitch with a drainage solution that would be the envy of far bigger clubs.

Sponsorship came in the form of changing rooms and a stand by brewers Brains and Hancock's.  The club had received, well, begrudging support from some elements of the council, and wild enthusiasm from others - most notably of course, our own Founding Father, Councillor C. B. Griffiths.

So, with Jenner Park getting the nod of approval from the official Southern League inspector, it must have been a bitter pill for the ground to become an army camp and a barrage balloon site for the next five years.  Mind you, it would get worse - at one point rugby was allowed to be played on it.  But, whatever.


If the club had one thing to look back on with some pride was the fact that the 'A' side had brought home the inaugural piece of silverware to the club.  It's a little known fact that besides Barry's famous Southern League side, they also fielded a side in the Cardiff and District League (where the biggest competition, ironically, came from Barry clubs).  This 'A' side also entered into Barry's local cup competitions.  Now, this was before the creation of the Barry Cup and the Dockers' Cups of course, but there was a cup on offer - the ASRS Cup.  

No doubt the cup was created to commemorate Barry having the honour of hosting the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants Annual General Meeting several years before (I guess it must have been like hosting Eurovision but with less songs), the annual charity competition had actually been going on in Barry since at least the 1890s.  

Now, however, this annual Easter 'play-off' for charity between two prominent local sides (be it in football or rugby), had been organised into a proper knock-out tournament with a cup for the winners.  It was actually a big deal back then, with a huge crowd watching the first ever final at Romilly Park.

As it was, Barry 'A's First Round match was a tough one - Barry West End, one of the premier sides in Barry.  In fact, the season before, the West End had actually travelled north to take on Bolton Wanderers in a friendly.  

So, late December 1913 saw the Barry 'A' take on Barry West End at Jenner Park in front of a 'goodly number of spectators', and the football on offer was of a high quality.  Barry 'A' had taken a 2-0 lead through Farmer, but were pegged back to 2-2 by half time.  There were no further goals, so the two teams would have to fight it out another time.  

Meanwhile, in the draw for the next round, the winners would be pitted against Wenvoe, and the local newspapers revelled in the fact that the Cardiff clubs had already been defeated.

The replay between the 'A' and the West Enders took place on 31/01/1914 at Romilly Park in front of some 'tremendous local interest'.  Charlie Probert, a future Barry Town pro, put the West End ahead, and Bunford made it 2-0 after some incredible pressure on the Barry A goal.  So, at 2-0 at half time, it was all going the West End way.  

However, the 2nd half saw the Jenner Park outfit play their best football of the season with Thomas scoring two goals in quick succession to level the tie at 2-2.  Farmer, the scorer of the two goals in the previous round, popped up to score the winning third goal for the Barry 'A' in extra time.

A week later the Barry West End, at Trought's Restaurant, decided to make a presentation for Billy Jennings who had signed for Bolton Wanderers the season before from the West End and had just received the call-up to the Wales squad.

Barry 'A' met Wenvoe in the next round and the 3-0 victory over (with goals from Crockett and Billy Saunders) was straight forward enough, as was the 4-1 win over Barry Roxburgh, and this set them on course to a mouth-watering ASRS Cup Final clash with the mighty Cadoxton Old Boys.

The Cadoxton Old Boys had defeated the Barry Lindens easily enough as well, by 7-1, with five goals from future Barry War-Time player 'Tich' Evans.

The ASRS Cup Final was played at Jenner Park (the first of many), and was actually the first ever final played at the ground.  Apparently, the pitch was in a terrible state (something the current manager of Barry Town still mentions - frequently!), but it was Barry 'A' who played the better football and thoroughly deserved the 2-1 win and the first silverware for the new football club. Alf Green scored from the penalty spot, and Farmer scored yet again to bring the cup to the 'A'.

There would be some joy for Cadoxton residents though, as Cadoxton Victoria defeated Roath Park United in the Final of the Bevan Shield at Jenner Park a week later.

The season was finished off on April 30, 1914 with a Jenner Park friendly between Barry's Southern League team and 'The Pick of the District' (which included West End, Cadoxton, Barry Island, and Barry A players) in aid of the Barry Horticultural Society.

The ASRS Cup is still played for by today's local leaguers, and the last time a Barry Town side entered the competition was in 2007-08.   It would be nice to have a big enough set-up to once again have a side playing in the local league and play for the local cups.  Wonder if Cossie is up to the task (again?!). 

Monday, 30 April 2012

Honouring the Barry Dock Albions AFC

Barry Dock Albions 

The Barry Dock Albions were one of the most successful clubs in Barry's fledgling history.  With the tussle between the rugby football code and the association code not yet reaching a conclusion in the young town, Barry Dock Albions did their level best to promote 'socker' in Barry.  

Formed in the 1890s, the club played local sides in and around Barry and its district, but in the 1901-02 season opted to join the Cardiff & District League 4th Division.  Winning that, they were promoted to the 3rd Division for 1902-03. 

They won that division as well, and moved to the 2nd Division in 1903-04.  Finishing as Runners-up, they were promoted to Division One and finished off the 1904-05 as Champions of the Cardiff & District League.  Here they are with 4 season's worth of medals.  Nice.

The club, which all but dominated Barry football, no doubt helped form the opinion that, with Barry teams dominating the Cardiff teams, Barry should have it's own league.  By 1907-08 the Barry & District AFL was formed.  Cardiff had its own noisy neighbour...

Friday, 27 April 2012

If only Barry had a proper team, we'd be good.

Cardiff City - 2
Cardiff & District League XI - 1

Cardiff City are looking Barrywards for talent.

At any rate the "Cardiff" District team, who at half-time were level with Cardiff City at Ninian Park on Saturday, and were eventually narrowly beaten by two goals to one, were composed of these following "Cardiff" players;

Goal, Eli Lewis (Barry Island FC); back, Billy Jennings (Bethel Baptists FC); half backs, J.Laity (Barry Island FC); and C.Moore (Pyke Street Old Boys FC); forwards, R.Jones (Bethel Baptists FC), William Saunders (Pyke Street Old Boys FC); Cartwright (Barry Island FC), and J.Moyst (Pyke Street Old Boys FC).

The goal-keeping of Eli Lewis was a great feature of the match, as was the goal scored by Laity. Moyst played a keen forward game, and Jennings was also prominent.

Barry juniors did well, and it does seem as if, instead of a multiplicity of junior teams, many of whom do not survive, as at present, that two really strong junior teams could be formed locally, who would carry all before them.

Barry Herald, April 26th, 1912‏


NOTE : 6 months later, Barry Football Club was formed, and they did get to carry all before them, but had to wait until the Southern League title winning season of 1920-21 to do so. The boy Jennings, who got a mention above as being 'prominent' in the match, helped form that inaugural Barry Town team.  That was until he was snapped up by Bolton Wanderers. He would later win two FA Cup medals for Bolton Wanderers.

Monday, 23 April 2012

It's all kicking off!

FINAL SCORE : Barry District AFC 0-5 Ton Pentre

Immediately after this match there were several regrettable incidents, the genesis of which was to be found in an incident late on in the second half.

The Ton left half back, Holmes, stated to me that a stone was thrown at him, and he made as if to go towards the person who threw it, but, seeing his age, he refrained.

This evidently roused the ire of the youngsters, who at the close of the match raced down the Buttrills Hill and took up a point of vantage on the bank opposite.

From this spot, mud - and, it is alleged, stones - were thrown on to the Ton players, a number of whom beat a hasty retreat to the dressing room, followed by the youngsters.

The Ton team were very sore on the matter, and they all expressed great indignation at the treatment they had received on the way back, and alleged that several stones were thrown, a number of them being hit.

It must, however, be stated that the alleged offence came from irresponsible youngsters, who afterwards congregated to the number of several hundreds opposite the District dressing room, cheered as the Barry players as they arrived, and gave ironical cheers to the Ton players.

A policeman was on the scene, and prevented anything further. The District Committee-men, immediately after the incident in the match, took steps to prevent any recurrence of unpleasantness.

The Barry Herald, January 19th, 1912

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Barry Town Community Day

It was actually better than I expected.  We've endured pitifully small crowds for a number of years now, at least since our infamous relegation from the Welsh Premier League at the end of the 2003-04 season, but we managed to double our average attendance on Saturday by offering the football for free.  The weather was kind to us, the programme was great, Jenner Park looked great, and it was odd hearing shouts, cheers and cat-calls from sections of the ground so often left vacant over the years.  It was like Jenner Park, only in stereo.

And then there was the football.  Most folks around the Welsh League will know that we have one of the better football playing sides in the pyramid.  Manager Gavin Chesterfield believes in the beautiful game and the Heavenly ethos of pass and move.  Heck, the fans love watching that stuff, too.  Unfortunately, we have this tendency to play all the football in all of the wrong areas.  A bit like that Morecombe & Wise crack; we can play all the right notes... but not necessarily in the right order.

This is what happened on Saturday.  We looked lush on the ball.  Reigning Welsh League Champions, Bryntirion - our opposition on the day - are a physical bunch, led by ex-Townie Francis Ford, and although their football verged on the kick and rush at times - maybe even lump it forward football, they are a decent side and thoroughly deserved the three points that were coming their way.  They're breakaway opening goal in the closing minutes of the first half had an element of fortune about it.  The shot whizzed passed Barry 'keeper's, Dan Bradley's out-stretched palms, only to crash off the upright but back onto the toes of the original shooter for the opening goal.  Rarely have I heard such silence greet a goal.  Even by barren Jenner Park standards.

The 2nd half will be remembered, sadly, for the suicidal defending that shows that fancy football is best played  outside the 12 yard box - at least, your own 12 yard box.  The ball would have been easily retrieved, there were loads of people dotted around the ground had the ball been skied into the stands.  Alas, the ball was given away to the feet of a very quick team with their scoring boots on and we were suddenly 3-0 down with a miracle needed.  On top of this we had lost one of our star attackers through a head injury at half time, and had two defenders hobble off during the second half.

It really wasn't our day.  Unfortunately, this all played out in front of the biggest crowd of the season.  Such is Barry Town's luck I suppose.  However, all was not lost.  There was plenty of generosity on the day (£20 for one badge, really?), and I've since received Tweets and emails (okay, one email) about how much folks enjoyed the day.  That's not to sat that there are plenty of lessons to be learned.  The biggest one being better organised.  This was all rather last minute unfortunately, and it showed.  Hopefully, should we be in the fortunate position in the future to hold another open day at Jenner Park, we'll have our pop and crisps to sell.  As a minimum.  The poor guy in the corner store never knew what hit yesterday at half-time.  All those coffers, with all due respect to the Barry businessman in the cornerstore, should have been coming our way.

There were lots of ideas being bandied about to enhance the day;choirs, new song writing sessions, hot-dog stands, flashy programme covers, people jumping through hoops of fire and even juggling monkeys.  There was a barrage of noise coming in, which is great for creativity and whatnot, but when there are only a handful of people doing their best to even turn up to the ground it really begins to grate when you also receive criticism.  I, for one, really didn't need the guy moaning that the gates were not yet open at 1.45pm for a 2.30pm kick-off.  I gave him a free, limited edition misprint programme for his troubles.

I'm all for entertaining the crowd at half time with people jumping hoops of fire and having juggling monkeys wearing unsold Barry Town FC 2004 child-size hoodies, but let's do the planning a bit earlier next time.  I'd rather everybody pull in the same direction instead of the fucking petty point-scoring and piss-awful snobbiness of 'I told you so'.

The only thing that went wrong yesterday were the injuries to the players, and the result of course.  In the cold light of day, this Community Day we held at Jenner Park will most probably not change the history of Barry Town Football Club, but I'm really very proud that for once the town's premier football club gave something back to the community of Barry - free football.  It's about time we gave back, because for years we were all about the take and not the give.

So, with us doubling our crowd on Saturday, this has filled me hope.  Despite the fact that folks turned up because it was free, it at least showed that there is still enthusiasm for Barry Town Football Club in Barry.  I'd like to thank all those new and old fans who turned out on Saturday for giving us the boost that what we're doing is the right thing - keeping Barry Town AFC alive.

Meanwhile, we have a relegation battle to fight.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Barry Town - Edwardian porn

Barry Herald, June 21st, 1912
Association Football
Professional Club for Barry Dock

Rapid strides are being made in football circles in the Barry district. For the first time in the history of the town there will be two powerful clubs participating in the leading competitions.

A professional club has been launched in connection with the Barry Dockers Brass Band and Athletic Institute, a club that was founded several months ago with the express purpose of providing the town with the express purpose of providing the town with a professional team capable of holding its own with the best teams now figuring in Welsh football.

Amongst the promoters are such well known exponents of the game as Joe Sheldon, Ike Sheldon, Manny Prince, and many others who have in past years done yeoman service towards placing Barry in a prominent position. The new club is in a sound financial position, and will be more than equal to the demands made upon its resources.

Two suitable grounds are at the disposal of the club. Negotiations are in progress with several well known players from West Bromwich, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Nottingham districts, and with the fine talent at their disposal the new club will provide powerful opposition to all comers.

Application has been made to the 2nd Division of the Southern League, and the 1st Division of the Welsh League.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saving privates, Ryan

In a new section, which will begin and end today, we will take a look at some of the infamous on-field moments in Barry Town's long existence.  This list of one simply has to include the sending off of Barry Town's Darren Ryan in the home match against Dinamo Kiev in 1997.

It was an interesting time.  We'd had an incredible UEFA Cup campaign the season before, whereby we'd played 6 matches that culminated in a famous 6-4 aggregate defeat to Aberdeen in the 1st Round Proper.  The first Welsh club to ever progress to the 1st Round of the UEFA Cup, thank you very much.

This was followed by, arguably, a bigger draw in 1997-98 when we were up against the mighty Ukranian Champions Dinamo Kiev in the Champions League.  Although their recent European performances weren't exactly glittering - indeed, the club had been booted out of the Champions League in 1995 following the bribery scandal (a 2 year ban was later rescinded) - Kiev's meeting with Barry Town coincided with their best European showings to date (without a fur-coat bribe in sight, presumably) as they finished in the last 8 in 1997-98 and in 1998-99 finished as defeated semi-finalists.

Darren Ryan made it a bit easier for them, to be honest.

Achieving a remarkable result in the Ukraine, where Barry Town were peppered with shots on goal and chances galore, Town finally went down 'only' 2-0 after Rebrov had taken the Ukranians into a 20-minute 1-0 lead.  The 2nd goal, by Maksymov came in the 83rd minute - but the result still left Dinamo intensely irritated and frustated - which was part of the Barry plan etched out by management duo Gary Barnett and Richard Jones. 

Playing at Jenner Park in the 2nd Round, fans were - quietly - very confident of another upset.  After all, as much as Kiev were a household name, we'd defended brilliantly in the Ukraine, and we'd had unexpected results the season before.  However, during the match, following some on and off the ball shenanigans between a few of the players, ace Barry winger Darren Ryan retrieved the ball which had gone out of play, and - in no uncertain terms - threw the ball forceably into the goolies of the Ukranian international, Dmytrulin. 

Seasoned-pro Dmytrulin made the most of the situation, allowed the ball to hit him, and milked it for all his worth. Later on, Barry players would moan bitterly about the things that went on during the match, and generally whined that they were hard done by.  Ryan himself complained that he shouldn't have been sent off as moments before he'd been spat at.  The difference was, I guess, they did it better than us.  Ryan decided to do his bit of retribution just feet away from the referee and linesman.  To this day, I can still see him doing it.  I don't like the view of the pitch from those seats even today.  Chills up the spine and all that.

Referee Gylfi Thor Orrason consulted with his linesman, but needn't have bothered - the 2,200 fans at Jenner Park that evening saw what happened and knew that Ryan would have to walk.  With Richard Jones pleading Ryan's cause, the referee aimed his red card in the winger's direction, and no doubt with a heavy-heart stated glumly in Norwegian; "I'm saving privates, Ryan", and with that he was off the pitch in a crunch European tie against eventual Quarter Finalists to howls of derision from the Barry Town faithful.  We went on to lose 4-0 in a game that we had been extremely competitive in up until that point.  Honestly, we'd thrown it away.  Shot ourselves in both feet.

After the match, most of the players defended Ryan by stating that it was an over-reaction by Dmytrulin, but acknowledged that it was an impossible ask with only 10 men on the pitch.  Andrew York, though, could not hide his frustration by telling the South Wales Echo "It was a stupid sending off and it changed the game totally.  It is hard enough to play Kiev with 11 men.  It is all about discipline.  One of ours lost it and we're out of the Cup."

Kiev went on to get past Brondby in the 2nd Qualifying Round, and ultimately finished top of their Group C, despite the efforts of Newcastle United, Eindhoven, and Barcelona.  In fact, let's have a look at this.  Dinamo Kiev beat Barry Town 6-0 on aggregate.  Dinamo Kiev beat Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate.  Therefore, Barry Town were better than Barcelona in 1997-98.  This isn't a well-known fact.  Certainly, the Western Mail didn't report it.  What do they know?

Their Group stage triumph led to a two-legged struggle against the mighty Juventus in the Quarter Finals, and despite a 1-1 draw in the Ukraine, and getting an away goal in Turin, the Italians won 4-1 at home and Kiev were out.

Cruelly perhaps, despite Barry Town dusting itself off from an all-too brief European 'campaign' (actually, swap 'campaign' for 'appearance'), and again winning the Welsh Premier title to give ourselves another chance in the Champions League and putting the 1997-98 debacle behind us, we were drawn away to...  Dinamo Kiev, again.  Such fun.

This time Kiev knew what to expect of Barry Town and we were mauled 8-0 in Kiev the second time around.  With disappointing defeats to Valetta and Boavista to follow in 1999 and 2000, we'd have to wait until 2001 for another true European 'run'.  Darren Ryan went on to play for TNS, so there is some justice.  Thanks for the 28 goals, Darren, it was fun when it was good and sucked when it wasn't.  A fabulous talent, and we probably haven't seen a better winger at the club since his day - but that night against Kiev is my biggest memory of him.   Unfortunately.