Monday, 24 June 2013

Foster's - a good call?!

The very same terse announcement that was/is posted on the FAW website was sent to Barry Town United's email inbox in PDF format. Emblazoned on that PDF letter, and on the website, were the logos of the main sponsors of the FAW. Frankly, it was sickening, and a bit of a blooper on the part of the FAW.

The Foster's 'Good Call' advert coming just a few centimetres away from a message that to all intents and purposes condemned Barry's senior football team to death seemed too much like a spectacular own goal to waste.

We've urged all of our supporters to contact the main sponsors of the FAW to announce their displeasure at their misused sponsorship logos and we believe this is slowly starting to have some affect. If the FAW won't listen to fans, perhaps they'll listen to money - being put back in the pocket.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Welsh Football Magazine award - Zeal of approval

Welsh Football Magazine has this month awarded the Barry Town Supporters' Committee with having the best matchday programme in the Welsh League, best front cover in Wales, and 4th best programme in Wales overall.

Needless to say, we're chuffed.

We put real pride into the programme, and always try to please the supporters with up to date words from the manager, as well as current player interviews, exclusive photos, comment, and archive material. And boy, what an archive.

What we don't offer in technical brilliance on the inside, I'd like to think we more than make up for that in terms of content. Well, the Welsh Football Magazine appears to agree and it's nice to get some recognition.

As named programme editor last season I came in for a bit of stick from his-nibs regarding my choice of Barry Town logo (the dragon motif which is recognised from Aberdeen to Azerbaijan as being Barry Town). I was told to remove it, which I did - with a heavy heart. The fact that we'd used the very same logo for the whole season before, is still the logo used by UEFA on its website, and is also the same one as the 3 foot high version hanging on his clubhouse appeared to have been overlooked.

We had a lot of fun with the programme last season. We introduced a rather unique Welsh language front cover and English language front/back cover for a Welsh Cup fixture. After the Flint Town United win, we gave away a free glossy poster of the team celebrating after the match. We also gave away copies of the Welsh Cup Semi Final teamsheets of ourselves and Prestatyn Town at the following home match.

So, despite it being dubbed unprofessional and a mere 'fanzine' (as if there's anything wrong with that!), we've ended this most turbulent of seasons with a little genuine recognition from a neutral publication.

And very proud of that we are as well!

If we ever have a next season, there will be even more creative energy and renewed zeal to give the very best we can

Monday, 10 June 2013

1,000 voices that need to be heard

This little club of ours has been given the support of over 1,000 signatories in a petition that is calling for the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to give it justice. In some format or other this will be handed over to the FAW before they decide Barry Town United's destiny on Thursday 13 June.

Some of the abiding messages we are receiving is "Why is this even an issue?" and "How has this even come down to a petition?"

The wider footballing world appears to see this situation as an utter nonsense. It's a sentiment we understand because we tend to agree with it. A guy who made himself the secretary of a football club got it withdrawn from the league and its records expunged.

I've mentioned many times online already that it is incredible that a single signature can undo 100 years worth of history and culture.

The FAW were happy to accept one signature, perhaps receiving 1,000 on Thursday will carry just as much weight and get this utterly ridiculous situation of seeing our club with no official recognition, and no league to join, overturned and the wrong finally put right.

We are not tired of fighting this. This isn't the end. If we need to we will carry on our struggle for justice, and for as long as it takes to get it. If 72 hours worth of online PR can bring in over 1,000 signatures on a hot weekend, how much would a season's worth bring when people have naff all else to do in the evenings?

We have the energy, and we have the will power to do this, make no mistake.

We have received support, very open public support, from Welsh League managers, secretaries, players, and supporters alike. Our friends in England have been simply incredible, especially from the likes of Portsmouth who certainly understand when the piss is being taken. They have also learned how to stop it, and to flourish afterwards.

Other support has come from TV and radio presenters, opera singers, supporters from Italy, Brazil, and even the editor of a Japanese football magazine. This story has gone global, and the world will be watching the decision made by the FAW on Thursday.

We've stated our case for 2 months now: we had a fully functioning, successful football club that was allowed to be deleted from the record books by the owner of a company without the best interests of the club, the town, or football at heart. Only himself.

Unfortunately, the rules allowed him to do this. Barry Town AFC is officially no more. Yet, that fully functioning football club (because we ARE a club) is still here, sitting, waiting to be given justice and the go-ahead to finally prepare for its pre-season. Barry Town United is - to its core - a Welsh League Division One football club.

Only one thing has changed - we do not have one person in charge of our club's destiny. What we have is a committee, and a community ethos, run fairly and most importantly, democratically.

Are we a community club? Over 1,000 signatures from around the world proves it. But we're no longer a local community club. We are an international community club.

And we call of the Football Association of Wales to listen.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Justice for Barry Town United : The Petition

It started off as a wish for about 100 people to sign our online petition in order to inform the Football Association of Wales that Barry Town United deserves to be in Division One. 100 is our average home attendance, so we weren't aiming above our station. We wanted to get these signatures to the FAW in time for the Council meeting that decides our fate next week.

Within hours we had over 400 signatures. Quite amazing for a club our size. The injustice of it all appears to struck a nerve that supporters up and down the country are simply fed up of being walked over.

The BTSC was running a Division One football team, with a Division One set-up. We were removed from the League against our will by the owner of the name of Barry Town AFC. That whole BTSC team wishes to be recognised as a football club and placed in Division One of the Welsh League. Barry Town AFC was killed off, before its time in an act of sheer spite and was a terrible injustice to everybody that has owned, played for and supported this Welsh football institution. The fact that it was even allowed to do it is appalling, but them's the Rules. That's gone now. He was allowed, and it happened.

But now comes the justice. The Welsh FA have a Rule 11.1 which gives them the authority to place Barry Town United in the Division of their choosing. It HAS to be Division One.

Agree with us? Fans over owners? Please sign our petition which we will be handing to the Welsh FA next week.

And thank you!

Justice for Barry Town United : The petition

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Evolution of Man

"Subterranean Homesick Yellow-Blues" by Bob Dylan

Promo clip excerpts:

Amateur Dramatics

Who's ever heard of Barry Amateurs AFC? Well, nobody has I guess.

In the summer of 1930, a new football team called Barry Amateurs AFC was created. The Amateurs soon formed a favourable agreement with Barry Town to play out of Jenner Park. The idea was to provide as good a spectacle of football for the people of Barry as possible on those weekends when the Town teams (Southern League and Welsh League) were out of town.

With white shirts, black shorts, a red badge and the best crop of local talent available, the Barry Amateurs burst onto the local football scene for the 1930-31 season. The Amateurs also featured several fringe Barry Town players, but would also give valuable experience to future Barry Town stars such as Hall of Famer Ernie Carless, Cliff Baggott, Harold Bayliss, Walter Pulling, and many more besides.

As an idea, it was quite forward thinking (but long overdue) in as much as Barry Town had never really had a so-called 'senior' amateur team since the Great War. In the years immediately after the War, Barry played in the Southern League, the Welsh League, and for a couple of seasons, the Western League, but had never had a club at local level despite the early success and influence of the new Barry & District League.

Ostensibly, the Southern League side had just as much status as its Welsh League counterpart. The Welsh FA had fined Barry for fielding a weakened team in the Welsh League when the club was going for Southern League championship glory (which it achieved). Many Barry players played in all three squads - quite how I don't know - and the likes of Billy Price played 96 games in the 1920-21 season alone.

However, having a side in a local league, like a nursery club, had not been done since the days of the Barry District AFC before 1912. So with the Barry Amateurs touting their arrival as the first time for the town to have a 'senior eleven' (at amateur level) and willing to assist Barry Town wherever it was able to, their arrival certainly came with a bang.

They had tremendous overnight success for a team that had come from a mere idea. Double winners in 1930-31 and 1931-32 and receiving some terrific support locally, it was a club on the up. They had lost just 4 times in their first 80 matches. The press dubbed them 'Barry's wonder team', 'the famous Amateurs', and 'renowned'. A South Wales Junior Cup match played at Treorchy drew a crowd of over 4,000.

Despite their loud arrival and their cup and league successes, the club was beset with controversy, recrimination and was still being talked of as threatening the very future of local football in Barry almost 20 years later. Their third season, 1932-33, would be their last. The club folded before completing its league commitments, and its records expunged.

The experiment of playing out of Jenner Park had lasted less than its first season, and the club was forced to endure a nomadic existence playing in the south of the town nearer to Sully, to the windswept northern outskirts at the Buttrills with zero facilities. To make matters worse, they now also had a Barry Town 'A' side replacing them at Jenner Park.

They had introduced an idea, and had it taken off them.

But why? And by whom?

Well, that next part is coming soon.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Right the wrong. Correct this injustice.

Barry Town AFC, officially, is no more. So the people who truly love the club (not no-marks with few friends and fewer morals looking to make a buck out of it, and failing) are now left fighting to ensure the governing bodies will see sense and put the Barry Town United team into Division One – the same league we were cruelly pulled from before the end of the season.

Make no mistake - it will be the same team of people (bar one), both on and off the pitch. It appears that there are rules to allow an institution to be treated the way it's been treated, but apparent reluctance to state that any wrong has been done here.

Worryingly for other clubs out there, without a rule change this could quite easily happen again. Maybe to your club? You think your owner will pass the club on because it's the right thing to do for the football club? Yeah, we thought the same thing.

A town’s football club should be classed the same as a building of importance. A 100 year old football club should have a protected, listed status. Barry Town AFC 1912-2013 did not die through financial irregularity, it didn’t go bust, it was very much on the verge of a resurgence that would have kept everybody happy.

It had no debt. It was beginning to thrive, and the people who loved it most, and were running the football, were doing it proud. We were Welsh Cup Semi Finalists for fuck's sake. 90 minutes from Europe. It had earned £12,500 in Cup winnings for the first time in 10 years. Our volunteer players could have their fly-away holiday. Barry Town was BACK!

We’d enjoyed some of the best successes on the pitch in a decade, we had entertained 2,000 fans at Jenner Park and Cardiff City were welcomed as special guests. We had introduced some forward thinking ideas such as ‘community days’ or ‘pay what you want events’ that saw us double our usual crowds. With the fans putting their passion and time and sheer bloody commitment to the cause in the name of Barry Town AFC, we were riding the crest of a wave.

And then he pulled it. He should be run out of town. When you consider the effort and blood and guts to keep that proud club going through world wars, financial collapses, players dying (either in the trenches at the Somme, or on away trips on match weekends), owners dying, everybody passing it on to the next generation or anybody else willing to keep it going for the town, for football, and one idiot comes along and apparently has the authority to do whatever the fuck he wants with it? Absolutely despicable act. To my bones, I will never forgive him.

It's a wrong that needs a positive outcome. And I can tell you now, there is a host of positive news on the horizon for Barry Town United AFC. But it needs to be recognised as a club, and it needs a league to play in.

The Football Association of Wales simply has to instruct the Welsh League that Barry Town United AFC is to play in the Welsh League Division One in order for this crass decision of Barry Town’s 'owner' (you don't own a culture) not to adversely affect football in the town. Without us, there is no senior football in Barry – the largest town in Wales. Our voice, our game, our country.

There has to be justice at the end of this shocking injustice. A new club has been formed, there is a vacant spot in Division One – no one wants us in Division Two or Division Three, and our entry to Division One will keep the natural order of promotion and relegation despite the previous club’s demise.

We wish the supporters and backers of the new AFC Llanelli all the very best, but we are not AFC Llanelli. Don't lump us together. It's a completely different situation. The owner of our football club, for whatever reason, opted to pull the club out of the league and end over 100 years of senior football history in Barry – and still has not publically stated why - despite the fact that his own club was being run free of charge by its supporters and their sponsors. It was an unnatural act.

It was a disgusting decision to make on his behalf, but the rules are there to protect the owners of a company with a share in Welsh football, but nothing there to actually protect the football club itself. This is a huge flaw in the rules. It's a loophole that must be closed, to protect other clubs.

The Football Association of Wales has the power to sanction who they want to play when and where under Rule 11.1. We are calling on the FAW to invoke Rule 11.1, recognise the withdrawal of a successfully-run football club was an act of injustice, and place the supporters, manager, players, sponsors, backroom staff, and 2,000 seater football ground under the collective name of Barry Town United AFC into Division One.

To my very core I believe that Division One is where we belong and should be placed. A precedent was set in 1993 when the same FAW placed us in Division One of the Welsh League when we exited England after a financially crippling stint playing our home games at Worcester City at the hands of the FAW who didn't appreciate us playing in the English non-league. We don't forget that, either.

Do the right thing. Right the wrong.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Barry Town Player Awards 2012-13

Aside from announcing the launch of Barry Town United, the Barry Town Supporters' Committee main task was to present the players with their well earned rewards in recognition of a season of giving to the cause.

Golden Boot hero with 22 goals in 26 matches, TJ Nagi picks up his award from Matt Le Tissier

Ryan Evans picks up his Welsh slate award for having Barry Town's Goal of the Season 2012-13 for his splendid direct free-kick goal against Flint Town United in the Welsh Cup Quarter Final

James Saddler won the Manager's Young Player of the Year Award, as well as a signed Barry Town shirt keepsake.

Gavin Chesterfield's choice of Player of the Year went to TJ Nagi.

James Saddler, as well as winning the Manager's Young Player of the Year Award, was back up on his feet to pick up his Players' Player of the Year Award from club captain, Dan Clare.

Ryan Evans with Le God

TJ with Matt Le Tissier

James Saddler getting his Barry Town shirt signed by Matt Le Tissier

The case for a Barry Town, united

The owner of Barry Town AFC Ltd has decided that he no longer wants to run a Welsh League football club, and more importantly, no longer wants anybody else to run it for him. It has to be the biggest act of spite in domestic football. He's kept his limited company, and he still has an ever-diminishing lease from the council for his social club, but he will no longer have a senior football team. In fact, I doubt very much he'll be allowed to kick a ball in his own back yard such have his actions outraged the football community.

Archaic rules have meant that one man, acting on his own, has been allowed to withdraw Barry's senior football club from competition in its centenary year. It's an absolute disgrace it was ever allowed to happen. The town of Barry wasn't founded until the docks came in 1884, but had a senior football team within years. Since 1892 the association football code, supposedly promoted by the Football Association of Wales, has been played at a senior level in Barry. It's not just a football club, it's a town's heritage, it's culture. Football has always been part of the fabric of this town. He can claim the name of the club as being his, but he can't claim anything else.

So what happens now?

Friday 17 May 2013 saw the Barry Town Supporters' Committee officially launch Barry Town United AFC at the Barry Town Players' Awards event. We will no longer be allowed to be known as Barry Town AFC, but this is not a rival club, it is not a so-called 'phoenix' club. The 'club' is not broken. It never failed, and it didn't go bust. We weren't booted out for financial mismanagement, and we didn't break any rules. Frankly, a loop-hole in the rules saw us being removed from league football purely and simply in an act of spite.

With Barry Town AFC Limited now no longer operating Welsh League football, we believe we can legitimately claim to inherit the legacy of the spirit of the original Barry AFC and Barry Town clubs by having a senior football club from Barry placed into the Welsh League. I believe we can rightfully carry on the history of the previous incarnations (of which there are many - let's not even mention the Barri Dragons) of our incredible football club.

Everybody knows who we are. Everybody knows who we will continue to be.The Barry Town Supporters' Committee deserves its own place in the Welsh League, and will carry on as before - if with a slight name change. It will have the same supporters, the same officials, the same players, the same football ground, the same colours, the same spirit and energy as the Supporters' Committee has been achieving for 2 seasons already.

What it won't have is one single person operating a limited company for profit as the basis of its interest in football.

Our aim will be to reach the pinnacle of domestic Welsh football; the Welsh Premier League, and to once again entertain the football elite of European football at Jenner Park. This, admittedly, will take some doing.

Over the past 2 years the BTSC has been operating and funding, alongside its incredible sponsors, the football at Barry Town and it has made terrific strides in terms of media coverage and exposure off the pitch, and have achieved moderate success in the League and a Welsh Cup Semi Final spot in the recent campaign. We have also been able to engage more with local sponsors, and we look forward to pushing this forward next season.

We believe this will be the first time in decades, if at all, that supporters can be certain that the owners are pulling in the same direction as them - the supporters will be the owners and the decision makers. We intend to make positions at the football club available by elections. Never again will one person call the shots and have ultimate power of senior football in Barry.

I've read recently that there is a 'rescue package' which will see us being moved into Division Three of the Welsh League. That is not a rescue package, that is denying us our rightful place in the pyramid. We don't require rescuing. That is further undermining this team's and our player's efforts. It is setting senior football in Barry back a minimum of 2 years. How can this be justice? The BTSC has been successfully running its team - forget the term 'club' - in the Welsh League Division One for 2 seasons already.

The BTSC has paid its own affiliation fees in its own name with its own bank account and these fees were accepted by the governing body. It would be a further act of injustice for this football team to be set back another two seasons by being placed in Division Three.

Some clubs like us, and I'm thankful of that, but I also know that we're not everybody's cup of tea. But I appeal to the non-believers, that whether you liked Barry Town AFC or not, you must see that anything other than Division One football in 2013-14 will be an injustice. Do not punish us by dropping us two divisions in order for us to pay for a man's actions acting on his own. Prove to everybody that we are legitimate and recognise us continuing to be a Division One football club.

The team put together by manager Gavin Chesterfield and being operated by the Barry Town Supporters' Committee is the exact same team that wishes to compete next year. The owner of the old club no longer has a senior football team. We appeal to everybody that stayed away under his reign of terror to come and support us, and unite with us as we get this football club back into the Welsh Premier League and European competition, once again putting Barry back on the football map.

The previous owner made a mockery of our history and our legacy and embarrassed the supporters at almost every turn. He is no longer our master or your master. Let's make this town's football club a community club, uniting with the people of Barry for the first time in a long time. Let's make this club a club the whole town can be proud of once again. Have a say in its decision making.

I'm calling on the authorities to give us justice. This is a Division One team, playing Division One football, representing the Welsh League in the Welsh Cup Semi Finals, and proud to have done so. Recognise us as the rightful heirs to the spot in Division One vacated by the old club. The Football Association of Wales needs to invoke Rule 11.1, as they then have the authority to right a wrong.

This is not his Barry Town, it's better, it's united.

Fans will still refer to it as 'Barry Town', and fans will still sing 'Up the Town'. Everything will keep this club as Barry Town in the hearts of its supporters. I won't be changing my flags. I won't be making new ones. Everybody knows who we are. I refuse to believe that a loop-hole in the rules has killed off my club, and I refuse to recognise anything other than we should simply pick up in 2013-14 where we left off in 2012-13, but without the daily torment, the threats and the insinuations. I'm a Barry Town supporter, and will always continue to be. You can't take that away from me.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Welsh Cup Trail : Shades of '94

Barry Town Association Football Club is now just hours away from the biggest game the club has faced in a decade - a Welsh Cup Semi Final appearance against Prestatyn Town. Prestatyn Town are a club that we've never faced before at any level of competition, so this adds to the feeling of uniqueness of the occasion.

Other bloggers and commentators have suggested that our route to the Semi Final was made easy by the luck of the draw and the level of opposition we've faced along the way. This is unfair. This is unfair to us, and it's certainly unfair to our opposition. None of whom have been easy walkovers the results have sometimes portrayed. Believe me, when you've lost to opposition from Division One down to Division Three in the Welsh Cup over the last 10 years, you really do take nothing for granted.

Besides which, this Welsh Cup run has come against a background of some admittedly patchy league performances, and even a defeat against the bottom club in the three divisions of the Welsh League in the League Cup. Allied to this has been the removal of the club secretary by the owner, threats, insinuations, and even an attempted removal of the club's true talisman himself, Gavin Chesterfield.

So, no. Are you for real? Our run in the Welsh Cup has most definitely NOT been easy.

And I think this is why the communal garden Barry Town supporter is getting prepared for the Welsh Cup Semi Final on Saturday with what is tantamount to simply having a humorous and good heart about the whole damn thing. This is a 10 year rollercoaster of mostly troughs and loops, and we feel we've worked our way to the top of that rollercoaster right now.

Sure, we'd all like to us in the Final. Wouldn't we? Some have said we 'deserve' it after all the shit we've suffered at the hands of one of the most abhorrent owners Welsh football as ever seen. No, we don't 'deserve' anything. Nobody does. You need to earn it. And, bloody hell, these players have earned this. There's no divine intervention at play here - other than TJ having the feet of a god - it's down to sheer hard work, sheer bloody determination, and the ability to truly dig in when adversity is staring you down from a very great height.

Therefore, rather cornily perhaps, we really do take each game as it comes. For me, and lots others, the Semi Final is not the game before the Final, it's simply the Semi Final. That's it. Get that sorted and the rest will follow. Expect nothing, but earn your place.

We'll let the opposition worry about the fabled spot in the Europa League. That's their pressure, not ours. That's not this club's aim. Not right now.

In many ways Barry Town's 2012-13 Welsh Cup campaign has all the hallmarks of the now almost mythical 1993-94 campaign - triumph out of adversity, preparing for a massive match and with not even half an eye on Europe.

It's enough to experience the Semi Final, to say we'd done it, for the players to say they'd achieved it with Barry Town. For many of them it will be the peak of their careers to date. I can guarantee you this current crop of players at Barry Town want to do well in the Semi Final, do it for themselves, for the club, and for the fans. And nothing more.

Much like their predecessors did in 1994.

Barry Town v Prestatyn Town (at Latham Park, Newtown AFC), Welsh Cup Semi Final, Saturday 6 April 2013. £7

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A very current affair

The Whirligig of Football
Compensating Small Clubs

The Derby Daily Telegraph
Saturday October 2nd, 1926

There is hardly a League club in the country that would not jump at the chance of signing up a young player who showed outstanding promise.  It is notorious how clubs are scouting everywhere, and almost tumbling over themselves in their anxiety to discover young lads, and yet, if the whole story were to be told of what happens once the youngsters are discovered and signed, it would be equally notorious how unsympathetically the big clubs treat the small clubs, whose work has been to find, teach, and develop.

I am urged to a discussion of this topic because of some facts placed before me by the Secretary of the Barry Town club, an organisation which plays in the Western Section of the Southern League.  Last season Barry had a most successful campaign, and, naturally, the scouts of the League clubs took an interest in their performances.  These scouts found much to interest them, for of last season’s Barry team no less than six players have been persuaded to join the professional ranks amd try their luck in the League.

Here is the list of the players and the clubs to which they have gone;

Arthur Doncaster, inside left, to Bolton Wanderers
Walter Moyle, half back, to Cardiff City and later transferred to Manchester United
Dai Jones, goal, to Stockport County
Harry Hopkins, centre forward, to Crystal Palace.
Ivor Hinton, full back, to Newport County
Bernard Condon, outside right, to Swansea Town

There is a mistaken idea abroad that small clubs make a fortune whenever they sell a young player to a wealthy League organisation.  This bubble is exploded in the case of Barry Town, for the six players named above have brought them in the sum of £400, made up of £300 paid by Bolton for Doncaster, and £100 paid by Cardiff City for Moyle.

The other four League clubs have not made Barry Town any monetary compensation in any way.  It might well be said that these clubs took the players without as much as a “By your leave,” or having taken them, without a “Thank you.”  Barry Town do not grumble; they simply set forth the claim that the League clubs might show a little more consideration.

I think the average follower of the League game will sympathise with Barry, and will also regard the niggardly policy of some of the big clubs as distinctly belonging to the penny wise and pound foolish school.  These smaller clubs have their own worries in finding players, and once found they have all the trouble of developing them.  It is most discouraging when, just as a club is reaping the reward of its enterprise and patience, a wealthier and more fashionable club should come along and march off with its best players.

Were the League clubs to compensate the smaller clubs like Barry Town then these small clubs could carry on, eager to find more players, and only too ready and willing to help the big clubs that have helped them.  I do wish to emphasise that some of the League clubs are very, very sympathetic and considerate, and that this reference to this matter is not a general condemnation, but is merely to set forth hard facts in the hope that a more generous spirit will pervade the whole League circle.