Category: Interviews

Josh Graham: “I believe I’m ready to make that step up”

Following confirmation of Josh Graham’s arrival, we caught up with the striker to discuss the move.

Hi Josh, welcome to Barry Town. How pleased are you to get the move done?

“Thank you for the welcome! I’m very pleased to have signed. It’s a good opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get going.”

What was it about Barry that appealed to you?

“It’s a higher standard than I’ve played at before and I believe I’m ready to make that step up. I hope being here will only make me a better player.”

Speaking to Gavin Chesterfield, how did he convince you to sign?

“He told me a lot about the club, the players and the unity in the squad and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Most people will know you as part of STM Sports’ side over the last few years. Tell us a bit about your time there?

“I had been at STM my whole adult life before they unfortunately folded in the summer. I’m a local boy so I always loved playing for the club, and it was great to finish on a high by reaching the Nathaniel MG Cup final last season. I moved to Taffs Well but with the Cymru South not starting, I never played a minute!”

This will be your first taste of the Cymru Premier, are you excited about that?

“Yeah I just can’t wait to get going! I believe in myself and my ability so I’m looking forward to starting training on Tuesday and testing myself.”

For supporters who might not know too much about you, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“I’m direct, quick and energetic. Hopefully I can bring some goals too!”

Finally, do you have any message for fans?

“Get behind the team and let’s hope we can get into Europe once again!”

Gavin Chesterfield: “I’m really happy with the hunger the lads have shown”

Credit: Mike James Photography

Gavin Chesterfield has been encouraged by what he has seen in Barry’s first two games of the season.

“I won’t look at the league table until we’re ten games in as a minimum, that’s something I’ve always done,” he says. “But there’s been some really pleasing things that we can build on.”

The phrase ‘a game of two halves’ was personified when Barry hosted The New Saints on the opening weekend. Chesterfield’s team matched last season’s Cymru Premier runners-up in the opening period, but conceded three goals after the break to lose the match.  

“I was delighted with the first 45 minutes against TNS but really disappointed with the second 45 minutes,” Chesterfield admits. “Before we knew it the game had got away from us and we came away with a disappointing result.”

A 3-1 win over Caernarfon Town last weekend was the perfect response, as two goals from Kayne McLaggon and a bullet header from summer signing Curtis McDonald secured all three points.

“The lads trained really last week and took that into Saturday’s game,” Chesterfield says. We’re delighted with the result and to score three goals – we potentially could have scored one or two more as well.

“I’m really happy with the hunger the lads have shown and their work ethic, particularly out of possession. That will stand us in good stead if we keep that mentality.”

As well as McDonald’s goal, Nat Jarvis made his league debut against Caernarfon, while fellow new arrivals Curtis Hutson and Mikey George have impressed in both games so far. When asked about the impact of the summer signings, Chesterfield was full of praise:

“I thought Nat was a right handful on Saturday. He’s a strong runner, has genuine quality and will score goals. I thought he was unlucky not to score against Caernarfon to be honest, but his contribution to the team performance was excellent.

“The same goes for Curtis [McDonald]. He’s great for the changing room and brings a level of calmness at the back. He’ll only get better as he adapts to the way we play. Obviously it’s a great header to score following a really good delivery by Jordan, and to Curt’s credit he adds that threat from set-pieces.

“The rest of the guys we’ve brought in have been great too. Curtis [Hutson] performed really well against TNS and was probably a bit unlucky not to start again against Caernarfon. His mentality and teamwork has been excellent, and it’s the same with Mikey. It’s a long old season ahead and everyone will have a role to play.”

Credit: Mike James Photography

Due to an FAW and Welsh Government ruling, all Cymru Premier games are currently being played without fans in attendance, and Chesterfield admits that this has been difficult to get used to.

“At our level it arguably affects us more because we know our supporters by name,” he says. “We share relationships with them and they’re an essential part of this football club – always have been, always will be. We miss them like crazy. From a financial perspective it’s difficult for the club as well, so I can’t wait to welcome people back into stadiums in a safe manner.

“It has definitely affected the atmosphere at games and probably in some ways made football less emotional and a bit more sanitised. It feels like a friendly at times, so as a coach and as players, it is important that we remember that we’re playing for three points and these results and performances matter.”

Next up for Barry is a first away game of the season as we travel to newly-promoted Flint Town United on Saturday (5:45pm), live on Sgorio. Chesterfield suggests that a tough 90 minutes is in store:

“While Prestatyn won the Cymru North last season, Flint were really competitive and since then they’ve add strength, experience and quality. Niall as a manager has experience in this league previously too. We know they’ll be well prepared and well organised, but they’ll know that we will as well.

“It won’t be an easy place to go. It’s a long time since I’ve been there actually, but it’s a fresh ground for us and a chance to get another three points.”

Saturday’s game will be our first meeting with Flint since the Welsh Cup quarter-final in 2013, when Barry won 2-0 to progress to the semi-finals for the first time in a decade. Chesterfield was happy to reminisce about the victory:

“I’ve got very good memories of that day! While we lost the semi-final, that quarter-final was a really important part of our rebirth as club. If I remember rightly, Ryan Evans scored a free-kick and then Ryan Jenkins made it 2-0 with a breakaway goal, it was a fantastic day.

“It’ll be a different challenge this time though and I’m excited by what lies ahead.”

Josh Gould: “Playing in the Cymru Premier and under Gavin really excites me”

Following confirmation of Josh Gould’s arrival on loan from Swansea City, we caught up with the goalkeeper to discuss his career so far and hopes for the season ahead.

Hi Josh, welcome to Barry Town. How does it feel to get the move done?

“It’s good to get the paperwork done and get the move across the line. I’m looking forward to getting going.”

What was it about Barry that appealed to you?

“I’ve played at Jenner Park before a couple of times and I know Barry is a really good club. It’s run really well and always been an attractive option, with it not being too far from Swansea either. Playing in the Cymru Premier and under Gavin really excites me. I’ve heard a lot about him and his thoughts and ideas in the game.”

Having spoken to Gavin Chesterfield, how did he convince you to sign?

“He said that he’d seen me play when I was at Taffs Well and that he was interested in signing me all the way back then, so that was a good start to the conversation. I believe our philosophies of how we want to play the game link up so I’m really looking forward to playing under him. He sounds like a great guy and the environment he’s created here is great.”

Tell me a little bit more about your career so far. Am I right in saying you didn’t get into football until quite late?

“Yeah I was a bit of a late bloomer to be honest! I played rugby until I was 16 and then just randomly tried my hand in goal with my local team. Then things started to take off when I was about 18 and I went to Cardiff Met University. I played there for a couple of years and then headed to Taffs Well in my final year to get some games and ended up having a good season. That’s when I signed for Swansea, and this is now my third season with them.”

You’re joining us from Swansea, where you were named on the bench for a few Championship games at the end of last season. What was that like?

“It was a great experience. I got moved into the first team in January so I had been travelling to games as third choice and been involved for a few months. It was great to learn off Martyn Margetson and Steve Cooper, who were really supportive and I’ve got a great relationship with both of them.

“When Freddie [Woodman] got injured at the back end of the season, it was kind of an easy step up to the bench because I’d got used to the squad. It was just a shame that the fans weren’t there so I couldn’t share it with them.”

Having played academy football for the last two years, do you feel you’re ready for that step up to senior football?

“Definitely. I’ve played in non-league before so I kind of know what it will be like. I know a lot about the Cymru Premier, I do keep tabs on it on social media. I’ve got a lot of mates who play in the league so I’ve been to see a few games. I’ve done all my technical coaching at Swansea, now I’m ready to show everyone what I’ve learnt.”

You have played against Barry in pre-season before. What have you made of the club?

“I thought they were really strong. Like I say, I’m quite nosy on Twitter so I follow the line-ups! There’s been a couple of good signings this year so I really believe we can get European football again, but I said to Gavin that there’s no reason why we can’t be winning the league.”

What are you hopes and ambitions for your time with us?

“With the club having qualified for Europe in the last two seasons, that will be the minimum requirement for me. Like I say, I personally believe, looking at the squad and knowing the league, there’s no reason why we can’t challenge for the title.”

Finally do you have any message for the fans?

“Obviously it’s a difficult time at the moment so I hope everyone is keeping in good spirits. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans when we are able to. Whenever I have played here they’ve always been pretty loud and supportive of their players so it’ll be nice to be on the right side of that!”

Curtis McDonald: “It’s a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it”

Following confirmation that Curtis McDonald has signed for the club, we caught up with the defender to discuss the move.

Hi Curtis, welcome to Barry Town. How pleased are you to have got the move done?

“Yeah it’s been a long time coming. I’ve known Gav for a couple of years and we’ve spoken in numerous summers about me coming in. This year things have finally come together so I’m delighted.”

You join the club after two and a half years at Chippenham. What made you want to make the move?

“A few reasons really. For one, I’ve recently started a family. I played in the Welsh league when I was younger and I think it’s changed dramatically since then. It’s a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

Having spoken to Gavin Chesterfield, how did he convince you to sign?

“It didn’t take much convincing to be honest! Gav is a great coach and you can see that some really positive things are happening at Barry at the minute. I knew a lot of the boys already and played against a lot of them too. It’s a good group and there’s positive signs for this coming season.”

You’ve played a few games in pre-season for us, how do you think they’ve gone?  

“Yeah it’s gone well. We’ve had a couple of tough games against some good opponents. I’ve enjoyed it and hopefully we can get a good start against TNS on the weekend.”

Did you know many of the boys already? You played with Jack and Nat at Chippenham and were coached by Cossy at Cardiff!

“I would have been 11 or 12 when I first met Mike! As you say I’ve played with Nat and Jack over the last couple of years, and then the likes of Coops, Clayton, Keyon and Kayne I’ve played with too – probably about half the team!”

It will be your first taste of the Cymru Premier in 13 years, are you looking forward to that?

“Like I say, it will be a bit alien for me because I think the league has completely changed from when I was here before. There’s a few faces that are still around though, so it will be nice to bump into a few old heads.”

For fans who might not know too much about you, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“At 32, I’m experienced and a bit of an older head in the team. I’ll bring a bit of calmness to the defence too.”

Finally do you have any message for the fans?

“I hope to see you all soon when this pandemic is over and we can get fans back in the ground. The boys still realise you’re behind us we’ll do everything we can to make you happy.”

Gavin Chesterfield reacts to Europa League exit

Watch below as manager Gavin Chesterfield speaks to Olly Allen following our 5-1 defeat to NSI Runavik in the UEFA Europa League.

Gavin Chesterfield: “We’ll go there with plenty of excitement and anticipation”

Yesterday we learnt our opponents for this year’s preliminary round of the UEFA Europa League, as it was confirmed that we would be facing an away tie against NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands on Thursday 20th August.

Speaking after the draw, manager Gavin Chesterfield admitted that the excitement was now fully kicking in after finding out who Town would be coming up against:

“It was great watching it on the livestream surrounded by people who are central to the football club and great also to see our name up there again.

“Excitement is the overriding feeling. It’s a proper European experience really, a chance to visit a country that I haven’t been to before and I doubt any of our players have been to before.

“It will be difficult because they’re in-season at the moment, so will be in fine fettle in terms of fitness, but we certainly go there with plenty of excitement and anticipation.”

It is, of course, the club’s second consecutive season in the Europa League preliminary round, and Chesterfield hopes to use last year’s defeat to Cliftonville to his advantage in ten days time:

“Last year we were well prepared and had done our homework, but went to Northern Ireland a bit wide-eyed. But there’s no doubt in my mind that what happened last year will stand us in good stead this time around.

“This year we’ll go into the game with a bit more experience, especially experience of how to deal with big occasions, and that will be key.”

However the tie is slightly different this time around. With the coronavirus pandemic condensing the football calendar, the winner will be decided over a singular leg, rather than the usual two. Yet Chesterfield felt as if this may suit his side better:

“The fact that it’s a one-legged affair makes things different to our experience last year, but we’ll still aim to represent ourselves and Wales to the best of our ability.

“It will be very similar to the knockout cup format that we’re used to domestically. We have much more experience playing ties with one leg rather than two, so that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

“We’ll go there well-prepared and confident.”

The squad have been back in training since mid-July and have played two friendlies so far against Connah’s Quay Nomads and The New Saints, with Chesterfield pleased with how the build-up has gone so far:

“There’s a great feel-good factor in the camp. The friendlies we’ve had so far have been really good preparation and the lads’ mentality and attitude has been fantastic. They returned from the break in good shape and so far everything has gone quite well.

“Focus is the most important thing now. Those behind the scenes at the club will take care of the logistical challenges, so it’s down to myself, my staff and the squad to be the best prepared we can on the pitch.”

Mikey George: “It feels really good to be back with my hometown club”

Following the confirmation that Mikey George would be returning to Jenner Park, we caught up with the midfielder to get his thoughts on the move.

Hi Mikey, welcome back to Barry. What made you want to return to the club?

“I was really disappointed to leave the club last summer, and wanted to come back straight away. But in a way, going away and getting more experience under my belt has grown my confidence and I think it’s given Gav more confidence in me as well. It feels really good to be back with my hometown club, it really does.

“To be honest Gav is the main reason why I’m coming back because he made me the player that I am today. In terms of my technical ability, my fitness, my weight of pass, how to read the game – that’s all down to Gav. He taught me the ins and outs of the league. I take my hat off to him as a coach because he’s absolutely fantastic.”

How do you think you’ve changed in the last year since you left the club?

“The main thing is maturity. When I was coming through the Barry youth system and breaking into the first team, I was still a teenager learning the game. But now I’ve gone out and experienced men’s football, I’ve controlled what was inside of me. I understand the game better and deal with the officials better. I definitely feel more confident now.”

You were at Penybont last season and Llanelli on loan the year before, how good was it to be playing regular top-flight football?

“It was a fantastic experience. Playing against some of the best players in the league was great. I played a more defensive role at Penybont which I hadn’t done before, so I feel I can now offer more in the midfield. I’m a more well-rounded player for sure.”

Being from Barry, how does it feel to play for your hometown club?

“It was always a dream of mine since I was a kid. I’ve been watching Barry for years and always wanted to play for them. So it feels amazing.”

Does it make it easier coming back to a club and squad that you know?

“Obviously some players have been added, but I feel I had a good relationship with the team before, so it shouldn’t take me long to settle back in. Curtis [Hutson] has joined as well and he was a good mate of mine at Penybont. I really feel as though the dressing room will be good this year and that’s key to being successful because you want to work hard for each other.”

I’m sure fans will remember you from your first spell at the club, but just as a reminder, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“Fans will remember me as the little terrier on the pitch that always tries to win the ball back and has loads of energy, and that hasn’t changed. But I’m also more relaxed now and will offer more for the team.”

What are your ambitions for the new season?

“I obviously want to try and start as many games as I can. But for the team, I honestly believe we can go far in the Europa League and I genuinely think we can win the league. With the squad that we have, it’s young, fresh and there’s depth there too. There’s also lots of experience too. With that combination, I’m confident this year, I really am.”

Finally, any message for the fans?

“Just to let you know that I’m back and ready to go straight away! I’ve got loads of energy, and hopefully you can see I’m a more versatile player now with a better passing range. I’ve got fire inside me and I hope to see you all as soon as possible.”

Curtis Hutson: “I can’t wait to get started”

Following the confirmation that Curtis Hutson would be returning to Jenner Park, we caught up with the winger to get his thoughts on the move.

Hi Curtis, welcome back to Barry. What made you want to return to the club?

“Everything that is going on at the club at the moment is really exciting, there’s a lot of ambition. I believe in Gav’s vision for the future and feel I have a place in that. I think I can bring a different element to the team that’s not there at the moment. It will be exciting to be around people who can challenge me and get the best out of me.

“I know a lot of the boys already too, I grew up with Clayton and I played with some of them at Cardiff City. It’s important for me to be in an environment where there are a few more players that I know and that understand me.”

What are your memories from your time at the club before in the 2014/15 season?

“I was only young and I didn’t really play as much as I wanted to, but it was good to be part of a squad that won the league. It was my first experience of winning a title, so that was great. But I just felt like I needed to get more experience.”

How do you think you’ve changed in the five years since you left the club?

“I’ve definitely think I’ve matured as a player. I’ve learnt to be critical of myself and to work hard on any areas that I feel I’m slacking on. I don’t turn a blind eye to poor performances. I’ve been more honest with myself and that’s really helped me improve.”

You have spent the last two years at Penybont, helping win promotion to the Cymru Premier and playing regularly last season. How did you find your time there?

“Winning the league and going unbeaten was a season to remember. Not many players can say they’ve gone through undefeated seasons, so the memories will stick with me forever. It was then good to get some experience in the Cymru Premier last season and I feel I put in some good performances.”

You played in both games against Barry last season, how did you find that?

“I won a penalty in the first game of the season which was good. Obviously the Barry squad was more experienced in the league and a lot stronger, but it made me realise that I could play at this level and do well. A good season of hard work was essential for me, and I feel I had that.”  

Some fans might remember you from your first spell at the club, but for those that don’t, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“I’m primarily a winger, but can also play up top or in the ten. I enjoy going forward and creating chances, and most importantly scoring goals.” 

What are your ambitions for the new season?

“I’ve got used to the league now and I’ve been working hard since the season ended so I really want to kick on now. I would love to be in the team of the year, because it would show I am capable of being up there with the best.

“I’d like to be competitive with as many as goals as I can too. The standard that Kayne sets is amazing, and that provides me with a target too. I like to aim high. I’ve put the foundations in place and now I can’t wait to get started.”

Finally, any message for the fans?

“It’s horrible playing against Barry when you’ve got all those fans against you! They’re amazing fans and I can’t think of anything better than having them behind me. Out of all the supporters I’ve heard in the league, they’ve got to be the best.

“I remember a chant I had before. It didn’t rhyme but I loved it. It was “Who needs Giggsy, we’ve got Curtis!” because he’s my cousin. I’ve always remembered that.”

Nat Jarvis: “It’s been a long time coming but is finally done”

Following the confirmation of the signing of Nat Jarvis, we caught up with the striker who gave his first interview as a Barry Town player.

Hi Nat, welcome to Barry Town. The move has been talked about for a while now, how pleased are you to have signed for the club?

“I’m buzzing. I’m really happy to be linking up with Gav as a manager and my close friends who have played for the club for a few seasons. It’s a stone’s throw away from my house, so it will be great to be playing closer to home also.

“It’s been close before, and me and Gav have spoken in probably the last three four or seasons, but I’ve put it off a couple times not feeling that the move would be the right one for me. But this time it feels like perfect timing. I’m really happy to have finally got it done.”

Having spoken to Gavin Chesterfield, how did he convince you to sign?

“It’s his drive and hunger to compete at the highest level and compete in Europe regularly. I’ve worked with him before at uni level, so I know what his sessions are like. The way he goes about things is very professional and he pays a lot of attention to detail.

“He has assured me that he’s the manager to play to my strengths. I’ve been to places where I’ve had to stamp my authority or show what I’m good at, as some managers haven’t known what sort of player I am or what I need around me to get the best out of me. But I think a lot of the players that he has assembled at Barry will compliment me quite well.”

You know a few of the boys in the squad already, was that a big factor in the move for you?

“It was massive for me. As I’ve travelled around quite a lot to play football, I’ve had to get to know lots of different people – some friendly, some not! But this team that Gav has assembled is just full of players that I know and that I’ve played with before. So it definitely seems to fit the bill.

“Luke Cooper and Clayts have pestered me for a while about signing, and I’ve told them before when I’ve been close and it hasn’t quite happened and they’ve been disappointed. But this time around they’re really happy!”

You grew up in Cardiff, came through the Cardiff City academy but have spent the last few years playing in the English system, are you pleased to be back in Wales?

“Definitely. It’s easier when you’re younger, but travelling around a lot does take its toll on you, especially if you’re at a club where you’re not playing. So I’m really, really happy to be back home.”

It will be your first taste of the Cymru Premier, are you looking forward to that?

“It’s a fresh challenge for me, which me and Gav talked about a lot. There’s the chance to play in Europe too, which I’ve never done before. I’m looking forward to playing against new teams, and they probably won’t know as much about me as teams over in England would.”

For fans who might not know too much about you, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“Pace, power and goals! I’ve got lots of drive and lots of experience to give. I can be direct and aggressive at times. I’m quite strong with my back to goal and link up well with other strikers, helping bring them into the game. I’m good aerially too – I played with Jack Compton at Chippenham and any time he looked to cross I would be in the box ready to pounce!”

Finally, the fans have been calling for this signing for a while, do you have any message for them?

“I’m delighted to have signed for the club. It’s been a long time coming but is finally done. I’ve come here to win, to play in Europe and score goals! It won’t be long until the fans will be back at Jenner Park after such a tough few months with regards to Covid-19. Be safe and look forward to seeing you soon!”