Tag: Barry Town United

#HiHarry | Harry Thomas-Barker joins on initial short-term deal

Barry Town United are pleased to confirm the signing of goalkeeper Harry Thomas-Barker on an initial short-term deal.

The 18-year-old joins the club after leaving Bristol Rovers earlier this summer, having been a regular for the Gas’ Under-18 side. He also spent time out on loan at Cadbury Heath and Frome Town.

Thomas-Barker has featured in friendlies against Connah’s Quay Nomads and The New Saints in the last few weeks, and now becomes part of our squad for the UEFA Europa League campaign.

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.”

CONFIRMED: Town to face NSI Runavik in 2020/21 Europa League Preliminary Round

It has been confirmed that Barry Town United will face an away tie against NSÍ Runavík of the Faroe Islands in the one-legged preliminary round of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa on Thursday 20th August.

Founded in 1957, NSÍ first played in Europe in 2003 before winning the Faroe Islands Premier League for the first time four years later. That is their only league title to date, but they have won the Faroe Islands Cup three times – in 1986, 2002 and 2017. They are now UEFA Europa League regulars, but have never got past the first qualifying round, playing against teams such as Fulham and Hibernian in the past. NSÍ qualified for this season’s competition by finishing third in the 2019 Faroe Islands Premier League. In the 2020 campaign, which started in May, they are currently fourth.

With club colours of yellow and black, their entire squad is Faroese with many international caps between them, while they are managed by Swede Glenn Ståhl, who was appointed at the start of the current Faroese season. As previously announced, UEFA have ruled that the fixture must take place behind closed doors in the interests of both safety and to ensure no unfair advantage to any team given the new one-legged format.

Details of how you can follow the game will be announced in the coming days.

Profiling our potential Europa League opponents | Part Two

As Sunday’s UEFA Europa League Preliminary Round draw edges closer, it’s time to complete our look at the teams we could be facing on August 20th.

On Wednesday, we looked at four of the eight clubs that we could be drawn against, and today it’s time to find out more about the other half – in order of coefficient.

As before, there’s the caveat that UEFA are set to group teams for the draw due to Covid-19 travel regulations, but that information will not be released until Saturday.

Tre Penne – San Marino

Tre Penne have been one of San Marino’s most regular European competitors in recent seasons – they’ve been in Europe seven times in the past ten years, winning the Campionate Sammarinese di Calcio four times in that period.

They met The New Saints in 2016-17, losing 5-1 on aggregate to the team from Oswestry. In last season’s tournaments, they entered the Champions League Preliminary Round where they lost 1-0 in their first match, against FC Santa Coloma of Andorra (one of Barry’s other possible opponents), and were then knocked out of the Europa League by Suduva of Lithuania.

Last season, they were placed third in the San Marino Championship, and had reached the semi-final of the Coppa Tittano after winning 11-0 over two legs in the quarter-finals, but, like in many other countries, both league and cup competitions were abandoned.

NSI Runavik – Faroe Islands

NSI Runavik are also experienced entrants to European competition, despite not having won much of the Faroe Islands silverware. They won the league title in 2007, and the cup three times in their history, most recently in 2017. Nevertheless, this will be their sixth consecutive season on the continental front.

The Faroe Islands play a summer season, so NSI’s qualification is based on finishing third in last season’s championship. They were knocked out of the cup in the first round by eventual winners, HB. At the time of writing, they’re fourth in the 2020 season after 15 matches – but as the top four are all within eight points of each other, there’s little to read into that.

In last season’s Europa League Preliminary Round, they faced Ballymena United of Northern Ireland, losing 2-0 in the away leg and drawing goal-less at home. They’re fond of some high scores, though – the previous season they were beaten 12-5 by Hibernian of Scotland, with one game ending 4-6, and, before that, were eliminated by 5-4 on aggregate by Linfield.

HB Torshavn – Faroe Islands

Havnar Boltfelag are the third of the possible Faroese clubs who could come out of the hat against Barry, and were last year’s Faroe Islands Cup winners, winning the final 3-1 against Vikingur Gota.

That was HB’s 27th cup success. They’ve also won the Faroese Championship on 23 occasions, most recently in 2018. Last season, they finished fourth in the league, whilst this season they are currently topping the league table – five points clear of KI Klaksvik.

In last season’s Europa League, they were narrowly defeated 3-2 on aggregate by Linfield, having been eliminated from the Champions League by HJK Helsinki. Their best European result came in 2014 when they knocked out Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, winning the home leg 5-2. Lincoln Red Imps, of course, are another possible opponent for Barry in this season’s Europa League.

UE Engordany – Andorra

UE Engordany of Andorra are the lowest ranked of the eight seeded clubs in the Preliminary Round. Finishing third in the Primera Divisio which ended in July, they qualified through the league after Inter d’Escaldes completed the league and cup double. It must have been a strange experience for them watching the conclusion to the cup, knowing that their local rivals Inter Escaldes reaching the final would secure them a European spot!

In recent years, they’ve seen success in winning the 2019 Copa Constitucio and were runners-up in the league the previous season.

Engordany have not played as much European football as some of Barry’s other possible opponents but they have the impressive record of winning preliminary round ties in the past two seasons – knocking out Sammarinese opponents on both occasions. They beat Folgore 3-2 in 2019 at this stage and La Fiorita 3-1 last year. However, they were comfortably defeated in the following First Qualifying Round matches.

Profiling our potential Europa League opponents | Part One

There are just four days to go until we’ll find out our opponents in the preliminary round of this year’s UEFA Europa League, so it’s time to take a look at who we could be facing.

UEFA announced yesterday that teams are likely to be grouped for the draw due to Covid-19 travel regulations, but as that information will not be released until the day before, we’re still running down all eight teams that we could play, thanks to Ian Johnson.

Here’s part one – in order of seeding from highest to lowest.

Lincoln Red Imps – Gibraltar

Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar are the top seeds in the Preliminary Round draw, and will also be a seeded club in the First Qualifying Round. They’ve won the Gibraltar League on 24 occasions, including 14 consecutive titles between 2003 and 2016.

In Europe, their biggest moment came when they beat Celtic 1-0 in the home match at the Victoria Stadium, but they’ve also had aggregate victories over FC Santa Coloma over Andorra and Flora Tallinn of Estonia in the Champions League qualifiers. They were defeated by TNS 3-2 on aggregate when they last met Welsh opposition in 2018.

Red Imps were having an uncharacteristically poor season when Covid-19 halted the Gibraltar League in the Spring, in third place, ten points behind leaders Europa FC and five points behind second place St Joseph’s. However, they were still in the semi-finals of the Rock Cup, and would have hoped to win that for the first time in five seasons.

Lincoln Red Imps are the only seeded club from Gibraltar that Barry can play in this season’s Europa League.

FC Santa Coloma – Andorra

FC Santa Coloma are another club who are used to winning their league more than they are used to finishing runners-up.

This season’s Andorran League went to the wire, with FC Santa Coloma hoping that their rivals, Inter d’Escaldes, would drop points on the final day of the season and allow them to win the league, which re-started in July after a Covid19 enforced break. Santa Coloma were also beaten to Andorra’s Copa Constitucio by Inter, losing 2-0 in the final. They’ve won the Primera Division on 13 occasions, including six consecutive seasons before this year.

In Europe, they’ve knocked out Banants of Armenia over two legs, and beat San Marino side Tre Penne in last year’s Champions League Preliminary Round.

Like Lincoln Red Imps, they will be seeded in the First Qualifying Round draw.

B36 Torshavn – Faroe Islands

B36 Torshavn are the highest seeded of the three Faroe Islands clubs to be represented in this year’s Preliminary Round, and the last of the three clubs who will also be seeded in the First Qualifying Round draw.

The Faroese are mid-way through their league campaign, and B36 qualified for the Europa League after finishing second in the table last season. They were top with four games to play, but finished as runners-up, three points behind KI Klaksvík. At the time of writing, they are third in the Faroese League.

In the Champions League, they met TNS in 2016, the Oswestry club winning both legs to go through 6-2 on aggregate. However, they had a better year in the Europa League two seasons ago, knocking out St Joseph’s of Gibraltar on penalties and then beating OFK Titograd of Montenegro before being finally beaten by Besiktas. Last season they were beaten in both legs by Crusaders of Belfast. 

B36 have won the Faroese League eleven times, most recently in 2015, and the Faroe Islands Cup six times, 2018 the last occasion.

La Fiorita – San Marino

La Fiorita of San Marino were a surprise addition to the list of Europa League Preliminary Round seeds, only added to Barry’s list of possible opponents last week when Folgore were banned from European competition due to match-fixing.

They’ve won the Campianato Sammarinese di Calcio on six occasions and the Coppa Titano five times, doing the double in 2017-18.

San Marino was one of the countries in Europe that was earliest hit by Covid-19, so it was no surprise when the league there was brought to an early conclusion. La Fiorita were fourth when the league was ended, taking advantage of Folgore’s misfortune to book themselves an unexpected place in the Europa League.

La Fiorita have yet to make it through a European tie, but they did hold Linfield to a goalless draw at home after losing 1-0 in the return. Last year they lost 3-1 on aggregate to UE Engordany of Andorra, another of Barry’s possible opponents this season.

2020/21 UEFA Europa League tie information

Four weeks today, we will be kicking off in the preliminary round of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League, and preparation is well underway both on and off the pitch.

As the football calendar has become condensed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s tie will be only one-legged, with the team drawn out of the pot first being given home advantage.

We can confirm that should we be given a home fixture, this will be played at the Cardiff City Stadium. This is the nearest ground that fully complies with Covid-19 game safety regulations, and has hosted five EFL Championship games in the last five weeks.

UEFA have also ruled that all games will be played behind closed doors, meaning supporters will unfortunately not be able to attend our fixture whether home or away. This is disappointing for everyone at the club, however we are sure the UEFA decision was made in the interests of both safety and to ensure no unfair advantage to any team given the new one legged format.

Nonetheless, we are keen to still make the game an experience to be enjoyed by our supporters, who were fantastic in both Europa League games last summer, and the match will be broadcast live either on television or an internet stream. We are nothing without your incredible support, and you will have a huge role to play come August 20th.

Further information will be announced in due course, with all aspects of the game set to become clearer following the draw on August 9th.

Drew Fahiya and Curtis Watkins depart Barry Town

Barry Town United can confirm that Drew Fahiya and Curtis Watkins will both depart the football club this summer.

The long-serving pair leave Jenner Park with everyone’s best wishes, having each played key roles in the club’s many successes in recent years.

Barry-born Fahiya joined the club in 2015 from AFC Rhoose and Watkins arrived the following year after leaving Cardiff City, and both helped the club to the Welsh League Division One title in 2016/17. Fahiya was joint top scorer that season, netting 19 goals.

The two continued to feature regularly in the Welsh Premier League, adapting to the step up as the team finished seventh in 2017/18 before securing Europa League football with a third place finish the season after – a magnificent achievement for two players who had been playing second tier football with the club just two years earlier. Qualification was achieved in a 5-2 win away at Bala Town, a game which Watkins started and Fahiya came off the bench to score the fifth goal.

Centre-back Watkins departs the club having made 97 appearances, scoring three goals, while forward Fahiya featured on 138 occasions, scoring 31 times. Those numbers demonstrate what excellent servants both have been to Barry.

Gavin Chesterfield said:

“Firstly, everyone around the club and especially the changing room will miss two fantastic guys. Both have contributed hugely on and off the field in their time at the club and I know they are very proud of all they have achieved in a Barry shirt.

“At the respective stages of their careers, whilst I’m sad to lose them both I fully respect their desire to play more football. I wish them both the very best and thank them for all they have done and I know they will never be strangers to our club.”

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.”

#MikeyAdded | Barry Town United complete the signing of Mikey George

Barry Town United are delighted to announce that Mikey George has agreed terms to join the club for a second spell.

Born in Barry, George left Jenner Park last year and spent the 2019/20 campaign at Penybont, making 23 appearances in the club’s debut season in the Cymru Premier.

The versatile player joined Barry from Cambrian and Clydach four years ago, initially becoming part of the Development Team squad. He would make his senior debut in the 7-1 win over Haverfordwest County in the Nathaniel MG Cup in November 2016, coming on as a late substitute for Jordan Cotterill. Upon the club’s promotion to the top-flight the following year, George made three Welsh Premier League appearances which earned him his first senior team contract in the summer of 2018.

That same season as part of his plan for development, Mikey was loaned to fellow Welsh Premier League club Llanelli Town where he impressed making 19 appearances. Mikey now returns to his hometown club following another successful season in the top flight.

Having completed the signing, Gavin Chesterfield commented:

“I’m delighted to bring Mikey back to the club. He knows what we are about and how we work. Being honest I didn’t want to lose him last season but to his and Penybont’s, Mikey has matured as a player and his all action style and versatility will bring much to our squad. I’m genuinely excited to be working with him again and have no doubt be will emerge as one of the Cymru Premier League’s young talents.”

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.”