As supporters of Hereford United we have had many reasons over the years to moan. Whether it’s the running of the club, performances on the pitch or dodgy burgers being sold at Estadio Elgar, we often feel hard done by.
Well spare a thought for Barry Town FC. This proud club, winner of seven league titles and numerous nights of European football, has been almost killed by a mixture of appalling mismanagement and an incompetent Football Association.
The slow demise of Barry Town started when they were at their peak. In the late 90’s Barry were a professional club winning league championships and cups at will. But in 2003 the bubble burst, facing debts of £1 million they were relegated and entered administration. Along comes local businessman Stuart Lovering.
Lovering spent £120,000 on buying the club and clearing the debts. The reign of this so called saviour began with him planning to build a 40,000 seat stadium! For a club that struggled to get 500 through the gates!!. And so began a very uneasy relationship between owner and fans that wasn’t helped when, two years later, he put the club up for sale at an inflated price with the vain hope of making money.
The erratic behaviour of Lovering, including the threat to withdraw the club from the league, prompted the fans to get organised. In 2009 the Barry Town Supporters Committee (BTSC) was set up and since 2011 they have run and funded the club, with continued interference from the clueless owner.
Things eventually came to head in May this year when, with two games to go in the season, Lovering withdrew Barry Town from the Welsh League (the second tier of Welsh football).
Now comes the Welsh FA’s part in this saga.
After accepting the resignation of the club an FA statement read “The Football Association of Wales recognises the proud history and tradition of the club and its contribution and success over the years. The Association also recognises the need for a football club in Barry and hopes that the Supporters Club can ensure that football will continue in the town.”
But in a twist of utter stupidity, rather than relegate the newly formed Barry Town United AFC to the bottom division, the FA decided that from next season they must play parks football. WTF.
Clearly Stuart Lovering is an utter wanker, but you’d think that the Welsh FA, who are meant to be the custodians of the sport, would get behind the supporters and help to rebuild the club.
Yet again, it’s the supporters who are left paying for the stupidity of others. The club are now starting court proceeding to try to overturn the FA’s decision. We wish them luck, hopefully we’ll never have to face this kind of drama at Edgar Street.