Basket
×

Your basket

Join The FSA

Barry Town Staying Alive

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

If you are seeking a document regarding training or the development of your supporters’ organisation, please visit the live training and resource section of our website. if you need further assistance email: [email protected]

Ken Gaunt, a former football reporter for the Press Association, reports on the plight of Barry Town.

Barry Town Supporters Committee is their name, and staying alive is their game. And these loyal fans have promised to fight on after yet another kick in the teeth from absentee owner Stuart Lovering. After failing in his continued attempts to find a buyer, incredibly he withdrew Barry Town, a club with a rich history of European nights, from the Welsh League with only two games remaining, meaning their record was expunged.

That decision outraged not just the club’s devoted followers, who have given considerable time and money to keep the club going, but other teams in the first division whose results have been affected.

There is a little bit of light at the tunnel, however, after the committee were bombarded by messages of support from across the football community through the Stand Up For Barry Twitter page.

It is understood the Football Association of Wales are setting up a rescue package. The team would still play at Jenner Park, but in the third division. Whether that will be acceptable remains to be seen, but you wonder whether it is fair to relegate a team two divisions and punish supporters, who only have good intentions.

I got an indication of the enthusiasm there is for all-amateur Barry back in March when on a whim I made the hour-long trip from my home in Manchester to Flint, where they were playing the Huws Grays Alliance team in a Welsh Cup quarter-final match. Flint get on average about 130 fans at their Cal-y-Castell home on the banks of the Dee Estuary. That day 453 people rolled up, including Ian Rush, with more than 100 making the eight hour round trip from south Wales.

I’ve had the privilege of witnessing big games in big stadiums, packed to the rafters, but there was also much to admire that day at Flint after I paid my £4 (concessionary discount) and I am sure the same can be said at similar modest venues around Britain. It was all about football being played at a decent level, pure raw emotion and a love of the game, not money. It left you with a feeling of well-being.

Loud and proud were the Barry fans, and the team responded by winning 2-0, sparking a pitch invasion at the end as they surrounded manager Gavin Chesterfield, a University lecturer who doesn’t get paid a penny for his efforts, and his players.

Certainly long-serving committee man David Cole has made it clear they want to turn things around and establish a supporter-owned club so that no one man will own it again. He hopes that message will be taken on board by clubs big and small, who are seduced by large sums of money. He knows for every generous benefactor like Wigan Athletic’s Dave Whelan there are hundreds more, who promise the earth and deliver nothing.

Barry may have been knocked out in the semi-final by eventual winners Prestatyn Town, but their supporters continue to show an extraordinary ability to ride the punches.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author – they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF. Have your say below and play nice…

Related Articles

Twenty years and counting for Swindon Town’s Trust

One of the country’s longest running supporters’ trusts is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and so we asked TrustSTFC to fill us in on the ups and downs of the past twenty years…

Pledgeball: Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association backs environment campaign

FSA-affiliates Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association (HTSA) have joined a number of clubs and Birmingham County FA in giving their support to the Pledgeball environment campaign.

FC United beat Enfield Town to win 2021 Brian Lomax Trophy

On Saturday, FC United of Manchester beat Enfield Town 3-1 to win the 2021 Brian Lomax Trophy – a fixture celebrating community ownership and promoting supporter-owned clubs in the game.

Swindon Town sign agreement with fans to mark new era

Swindon Town are the latest club to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their supporters, after forming an agreement with TrustSTFC.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball