Last night I met with Mr David Cole, a gentleman involved with Barry Town Football Club for almost 28 years. David first memory of watching a Barry Town game was when they played Queens Park Rangers in an FA Cup tie in November 1961. Little did he know that 28 years later he would become involved with the Club. David attended a meeting of Barry Town Supporters Club in 1989 having just left the Army and moving back to Barry. They asked for a volunteer to take over as Secretary. No one else stepped forward. He did not know anyone at the time but decided to give it a go and was accepted with open arms. This was the start of his ‘love affair’ with Barry Town. He later had the roles of Treasurer and Chairman with the Supporters Club before being invited to become part of the Staff at the Football Club. This entailed operating the PA System on match days and helping out with Admin around the Club. It was around this time that the Club became full time professional and dominated Welsh football, and would do so for the next 7 years. It was an amazing time to be with the Club. David was lucky enough to travel to Porto (twice), Riga and Skopje to watch the team play in the Champions League.
In 2003 the Club went into Administration after having lived beyond its means in the two years in which the owner had run the Club, the O’Halloran family having sold the Club in 2001. It was at this time that he took over the role as Secretary. It was a difficult time for the Club with all the professional players leaving the Club and for a time a local team, N & M Construction, Managed by our very own Matthew Case playing as Barry Town. The Club came out of Administration in Dec 2003 under a new owner. This was the start of one of the most turbulent times in the Club’s history. Relegation from the then, League of Wales, had been on the cards for some months and Barry Town were back in the Welsh League for the 2004-05 season. As Secretary, working with the owner was difficult and frustrating. The team constantly changed due to budget constraints and sadly relegation to Division Two of the Welsh League followed.
The catalyst for the Club’s resurgence was the appointment of Gavin Chesterfield as Manager in 2009. Promotion back to Division quickly followed. Both Gavin and David had short periods away from the Club, Gavin at Haverfordwest and David at Dinas Powys. The owner eventually removed David as Secretary in late 2012. There was a lot of bitterness at the start of 2013 with the Supporters desperate to wrest control of the club from the owner. In fact we did come to an agreement to buy the club but for a variety of reasons it did not happen. In May 2013 with just two games of the season remaining the owner removed the team from the League. We were all devastated by this action, but the Club’s Management and Supporters galvanised themselves and reformed the Club as Barry Town United. They asked to re-join the Welsh League but were refused. They decided that legal action was required.
They were given the name of a top barrister, who took on their case, and took the Football Association to the High Court. In August they won their case and were placed back in the Welsh League, albeit in Division Three. The Club has reinvented itself and in hindsight the action the previous owner took was the best thing that happened to them. They now own the Club. What happens here is down to them. Success has followed with Back to Back League Championships, a Runners Up spot in Division One followed by actually winning the League last season.
Barry Town United has returned the top Tier of Welsh football after a 13 year absence. For David it has been an incredible journey of highs and lows, thankfully more of the former.
he is very proud to have been associated with the Club for the best part of 28 years and long may it continue.