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.