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.

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