Category: Interviews

Jamie Bird: “This feels like the perfect move”

Following confirmation of Jamie Bird’s arrival, we caught up with the midfielder to discuss the move.

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

“I’m really happy to be back. I’m delighted to be working with Gav again because I feel like he got the best out of me. I was injured for the start of the season and then when I got back fit we went back into lockdown, so I’m buzzing to get back playing again.”

You spent with us on loan in the 2015/16 season. What made you want to come back?

“As I say, a lot of it is down to Gav. He’s really professional and I believe he can get me back playing the way I was a few years ago and get my game back in order. My short period at the club before was probably when I was at my best, so this feels like the perfect move. I’m hungrier than ever to play football.”

What are your memories of your loan spell with us?

“I was great. It was my first time playing in a senior environment, so it was a fantastic experience for me and I really enjoyed it.”

For fans who might not know remember you from your loan spell, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“I’m an energetic box-to-box midfielder. I like to score goals, create chances and get forward.”

What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?

“As a team, the aim has to be to qualify for Europe again and I think that’s definitely achievable. On a personal level, I want to get back fit and firing and return to my best.”

Rhys Kavanagh: “I want to help the team push up the table”

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

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

“Thanks very much. I’m buzzing to get back into football and this is a great group of lads so I can’t wait to get started.”

You’ve had a difficult couple of years with injury, how excited are you to get back playing again?

“I can’t wait. I’ve been training over the last couple of weeks and it’s been really good, now I’m just looking forward to hopefully getting some gametime.”

You spent three years at Bristol Rovers before leaving last summer. How did they help you with your development?

“It was massive. It was a great experience being around such a good group of players and it really helped me.”

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

“Gav has really given me a lot of confidence. I believe we can work together really well and hopefully I can bring something to the table for him.”

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?

“I’m an attacking player, so hopefully I can score some goals! I want to try and bring something different to the attack.”

What are you ambitions for the rest of the season?

“I want to help the team push up the table and see how high we can get.”

Lee Idzi: “It was a no-brainer to join”

Following confirmation of Lee Idzi’s arrival, we caught up with the experienced goalkeeper to discuss the move.

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

“I’m delighted. It’s a great club with a really good history and I can’t wait to get started.”

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

“It’s been a funny old year with Covid and delays to the Cymru South starting. Obviously I was hoping to help Carmarthen bounce straight back to the Cymru Premier but that ship has unfortunately sailed due to the current circumstances. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get back playing again.

“It was quite an easy decision in the end really. I know that the club is run really well and it’s a good group of players. Like I say, the history is great, the facilities are great, so it was a no-brainer really.”

You haven’t been able to play at all this season due to the Cymru South not yet getting underway. How excited are you to hopefully get back playing when we’re able to do so?

“I enjoyed the break to begin with, but now I’m refreshed and ready to get going again. I want to work hard and help the team.”

You bring a lot of experience to the squad, having spent the majority of your career in the top-flight, is that experience one big thing you’ll bring to the group?

“Anything I can do to help the younger players in the squad, or help the team get through certain parts of the season, I’ll do it. I’m not far off 400 top-flight appearances so I want to keep building towards that and help people with my experience.”

As a goalkeeper, obviously there’s the challenge of competing for just one spot in the starting XI each week. Are you looking forward to battling it out with Mike?

“Absolutely. Mike’s a great keeper and he’s been in the league a long time as well. I’m sure I’ll push him and he’ll push me so we get the best out of each other. Then whoever plays, plays!”

What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?

“I want to get back fit and firing. I’ll continue my rehab and then hopefully start catching a few balls again! Of course I then want to get in the team and get some gametime.”

Gavin Chesterfield on Paul Morgan

Following confirmation of Paul Morgan’s departure, Gavin Chesterfield was keen to place on record his admiration for the full-back:

“We played a Welsh Cup game away at Newport County many years ago and Paul was playing for them as a right-footed left-back. I knew he was a Barry lad, so when he got released from Newport, he came straight here.

“He trained with the first team, but played in the development team for a year and since then he’s been outstanding.

“Paul is an unbelievable bloke and he can be proud of everything he’s achieved at the football club. Numerous trophies, numerous highlights and he’s gone all the way through the divisions with us.

“It’s disappointing to see him move on, but he deserves to play football and he’s got a good opportunity to do that so I wish him nothing but the best.

“I think the world of him and I know how much he loves the club. The boys will miss him because he’s a big part of our changing room, but I know he won’t be a stranger.”

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.”